At Your Next Pitch, Do Not Do These Five Things!

Munirat Ojotu of Munirah Designs during the YEDP

“I think I might be in trouble!”, John Johnson (real name withheld) said, immediately after a presentation. He is like millions of other young undergraduates who did the wrong thing at the right time and failed at a presentation or interview.

Cross-section of participants during the first day of the pitch for the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme

We had a glimpse into what could go right and horribly wrong during a presentation at MTN’s Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme, YEDP. We witnessed 51 young entrepreneurs pitch their amazing business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance of obtaining business support for 100 million Naira.

Here are five no-nos every graduate must run away from:

Bakare Qudus making his presentation to to the judges at the YEDP
  1. Whatever You Do, Do Not Be Late:

Keeping potential investors waiting can be frustrating! Why did you think being late to school was such a big crime? It was so that you wouldn’t do that when you pitched in the future! Please, don’t give your village people the remote control to your destiny *wink*

2. Delivery of your message should NOT be arrogant

MTN YEDP participant, Victor Ononogbo during the YEDP

When engaging with people at a pitch, be very conscious about how you describe your passion and make your statements. “Confidence is different from arrogance!”, Director, Operations, Ayzer Centre For Entrepreneurship, Anita Amorighoye, shared after a participant stepped out of the YEDP pitch.

3. Never Exaggerate Your Financials

Fele Akinse sharing his projections of the shoe industry at the YEDP

Always remember you’re pitching to people who probably have more experience than you do in running businesses or whatever sphere. There’s a reason why they are at the other side of the table. They’ll have questions for you to answer and when your statistics do not match, it becomes a turn off for them. That’s not what you want.

4. Check Your Facts

Salif Musa Atakpa presenting his plan to the YEDP judges

Please, don’t lie! And, if you aren’t sure about the veracity of your facts, chuck it! Check your facts and if they are tied to dates, state the dates. Check and check again. And for the love of all that’s good, spell check!

Munirat Ojotu of Munirah, a fashion accessory house, explained that the YEDP plan opened her eyes to a different approach. Her presentation went smoothly and the judges gave her tips on revamping her pitch after drilling her with questions. Each of the participants spent about 15 minutes answering questions and discussing with the judges on how to do better.

So, who gets the business facility, while the rest of us learn what to do at the next pitch? Who knows?!