In the Limelight: Cape Town based entrepreneur and business strategist, Sandras Phiri- pitch in three minutes – ditch the business plan- no one reads them

In the Limelight: Sandras Phiri- Cape Town based entrepreneur and business strategist, of Pranary

Sandras Phiri is a Cape Town based entrepreneur and business strategist who heads up Pranary. The company (launched in 2020), has already had a huge impact, engaging 50 thousand entrepreneurs from over 50 countries, around the world. It facilitates in-person and virtual events for entrepreneurs and investors- at affordable rates. Tickets to upskilling financial events tend to be exorbitant but Pranary, is committed to making its offerings accessible, at affordable rates. The company recently hosted an in person event on March 23, 2022- at the V&A Waterfront – facilitated by investor Sarah Dusek, who shared her knowledge and talked about what she looks for in businesses that that funds. As to Phiri’s company’s meteoric rise, he muses: “You need to get in and do it. We don’t do business plans because nobody reads them… pitch in three minutes.” Read on for more:

Workshops and events for events for investors – which do not break the bank


Tickets to Pranarys event, with Sarah Dusek, were priced at R150 a ticket and not the thousands that one might expect to pay for an investor/coaching event. Are all your events reasonably priced? Do you run accredited courses so companies can send their staff for training or are you pitching individual entrepreneurs? Sandras Phiri: “Yes, our programmes are affordable because we want more people to access the information. That way, we will ensure we keep growing the pipeline of companies that get investments. We do have accredited programmes for companies to send people to. We also help individual entrepreneurs.”

Monthly events- in-person and virtual

What can people look out for and book for in 2022? Other events to diarise for 2022, by Pranary? Sandras Phiri: “We host monthly in-person events in Cape Town and Johannesburg and host virtual events monthly as well. People can get on our mailing list to learn more about our programmes.” 

Meteoric growth of Pranary- inspiration for wannabe entrepreneurs

The company was established in 2020, during the pandemic and has already engaged 50 thousand entrepreneurs from over 50 countries around the world. That is incredible. Your aim is to impact on “one million game changing entrepreneurs in Africa” and “to help humanity thrive by enabling people to build commercially viable businesses quickly and cost effectively.” How do you do this, in a time when many people are not feeling great? Can you fix our Eskom power situation? Your thoughts on inspiring and attracting investors and entrepreneurs? Sandras Phiri: “The company, Startup Circles, was registered in December 2020. It’s the place to help entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses fast and cost effectively.  Tough times produce great companies. Generally speaking, entrepreneurs go through tough situations and they have to solve and find solutions. We need solutions to address the challenges that we’re going through. Entrepreneurs are working hard to solve or circumvent these challenges. Speaking of Eskom, there are entrepreneurs who have been through our business school who are finding ways of dealing with power supply problems by providing affordable solar solutions.”

Startup Circles – partnering with angel investors and venture capitalists

Does your company have the capacity to fund or match up entrepreneurs- to actively come up with finance to bankroll entrepreneurs? Sandras Phiri: “We have over 20 investors in our network. These are angel investors and venture capitalists. So, yes, we help bankroll entrepreneurs. As Startup Circles we co-invest with Enygma Ventures, our anchor investor. We provide practical, straight to the point entrepreneurship education, aimed at busy entrepreneurs. The modern entrepreneur is not looking for more information because there is lots of information out there. The modern founder is looking for specific answers to specific questions and they don’t want to waste time. The way traditional schools teach entrepreneurship is like trying to teach your child to ride a bicycle using text messages. It doesn’t work. Entrepreneurship is practical. You need to get in and do it. We don’t do business plans because nobody reads them. Instead we do pitch decks and teach entrepreneurs to pitch in three minutes. Because our programmes are practical, we have been able to attract entrepreneurs from over 50 countries on four continents. We are working with universities and incubators to help them get their students to launch and get investor-ready fast and cost effectively. We’re doing a lot of work across the continent and are always looking for partners who believe in the same mission of building great businesses across Africa.”

Sandras Phiri’s journey


Did you grow up in a financially inclined family – financially savvy? What shaped you as this whiz entrepreneur? Sandras Phiri: “I got into entrepreneurship out of necessity. I needed to help my parents sell at the market. I learnt to sell sweets at school and I sold alcohol at university. LOL! I started a web dev company, a T-shirt business, an entertainment business as well as food. But I decided to get into education, which is what I really love. I love entrepreneurship and education and so my business is entrepreneurship education. I believe education and entrepreneurship have the power to change people’s lives.”

✳This interview has been marginally edited for length and clarity. Images supplied.

Pitch in three minutes: Forget old school business plans- pitch your idea in three minutes, advises Sandras Phiri: “Entrepreneurship is practical. You need to get in and do it.” Phiri is a Cape Town based entrepreneur and business strategist and heads up, Pranary. Supplied.