Sunday Times, FNB launch Shark Tank for KZN entrepreneurs

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South African newspaper the Sunday Times has partnered First National Bank (FNB) to launch Dragons’ Den-type contest Shark Tank in KwaZulu-Natal province, offering the winner coaching, media exposure and banking assistance to the value of ZAR150,000 (US$12,000).

The Sunday Times FNB Shark Tank allows entrepreneurs to pitch their business plans to prominent business personalities, with the organisers saying the previous event attracted almost 100 entries.

Around 10 finalists will be selected to pitch in front of the Shark Tank judges, which will include the likes of Sharks chief executive officer (CEO) and former Springbok rugby captain John Smit, Aspen founder Stephen Saad, and Guy Brazier, head of Deloitte in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The Sunday Times and FNB are putting their considerable muscle into this initiative. We need to encourage entrepreneurship in KwaZulu Natal. The finalists will get great exposure through the Shark Tank. The winner will also get financial support and advertising resources that could make a real impact in driving a market for their business,” said Greg Ardé, editor of the Sunday Times’ SPICE.

Preggie Pillay, FNB Business provincial head in KwaZulu Natal, said the partnership with the Sunday Times was an extension of FNB’s commitment to enabling entrepreneurs.

“We recognise the achievements of successful entrepreneurs in the province and acknowledge that success is not limited to major commercial endeavours, but that a wide spread of organisations can contribute to the strength of the local economy,” he said.

Those wishing to take part must fill out an online form, present a business plan and be available to pitch in KwaZulu Natal on November 9 if selected. Entries close at the end of September, with finalists to be notified by October 20.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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