UCT Shark Tank opens 2021 applications to young entrepreneurs

Cape Town-based venture capital fundraiser Akro has joined the University of Cape Town’s Investsoc and Entrepreneur’s Society to launch 2021’s UCT Shark Tank. Applications are open until midnight on 27 August 2021. 

Applicants must be formally registered current students or alumni from 2018-2020. This year’s event will not be just a pure pitch competition – top judges will also hold discussions around entrepreneurship. 

UCT Shark Tank programme

This year, the applicants have been divided into two categories. Category 1 will feature startups already beyond the Proof of Concept phase and Category 2 will allow applicants in the Ideation phase to share their ideas. The first round will be held on 11 September from 10.30 am-1.30 pm, with Round 2 on 25 October from 10.30 am-1.30 pm. The final round, which will be open to the public, will be on 5 October from 12.30 pm-2 pm.

Akro, UCT Investsoc and UCT Entrepreneurs Society collaborate again to launch the third UCT Shark Tank.

The first prize is R100 000 for the winner of Category 1, sponsored by Imvelo Ventures. Category 2 winners will receive R20 000. The confirmed judges this year are Magda Wierzycka of Braavos Investment Advisors, Anton Baumann from Empowerment Capital and Imvelo Ventures, and Precious Mdlalose of IDF Capital. 

“It is thanks to support from Imvelo Ventures giving opportunities to student startups and realising that innovation, growth and fundamental transformation starts at this grassroots level,” says Tebogo Maskwameng, CEO of the UCT Entrepreneurship Society.

Simon Shelton, special projects lead for UCT InvestSoc comments: “Being a past UCT Alumnus, having Magda Wierzycka as a judge is inspirational and affirming to all those students thinking of a life in entrepreneurship, as she has come from incredibly difficult circumstances herself, and yet made such a success of entrepreneurship. We are excited to have Magda on the panel.”

This year’s interesting and diverse lineup of judges promises to make for lively discussions. Jason Basel from Akro and Head of Growth for Qoorio is a young dynamic entrepreneur and another UCT alumnus who will also be joining the panel.

Shruti Dowlath, UCT Shark Tank 2020 winner says, “As a newcomer to the entrepreneurial community, UCT Shark Tank was instrumental in the success of my entrepreneurial journey. The workshops, coaching and discussions that we had leading up to the final round stretched my mind and encouraged me to dream big. Shark Tank gave me the opportunity to network with like-minded students and it presented me with a chance to learn something new every step of the way. The lessons I learnt are invaluable and have helped me strengthen the foundation of my entrepreneurial journey.”

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Featured image: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Lauren Daniels, Editor


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