There’s an event that has been steadily growing across South Africa. It started as a conversation between two of the founders in 2012, and has proved such a success that it has now taken root in major cities across Africa, and continues to spread. The Hookup Dinner (THUD) is a simple but powerful event which aims to connect and inspire young entrepreneurs.
But what actually takes place at THUD?
The format of the evening is simple enough to be replicated with ease. It’s essentially an informal yet dynamic dinner, with a presentation element included. THUD, as it’s known, serves a valuable economic purpose of being a market place where organisations find entrepreneurs with whom to partner in their economic empowerment programmes.
THUD is attended by young entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and those who simply want to be inspired. As an example, the original event in Joburg is usually divided up into three parts:
1 Just Pitch 180: 3 Minute Elevator Pitch Competition
Five entrepreneurs are selected to pitch their business to the audience who then rate the pitches through a cellphone vote. This is followed by a Q & A session where the brave pitcher receives real-time feedback to help them improve. On some occasions seasoned entrepreneurs, or “Dragons” are present to critique the pitch as well. At the end of the evening a winner is chosen based on the audience’s rating. Prizes are awarded courtesy of SAB Kickstart.
2 Networking huddles
Connecting with fellow entrepreneurs is vital to uncovering new opportunities, finding creative solutions to problems, and benefitting from support from others. During this segment attendees form small clusters and take turns introducing themselves and their businesses. Business cards are swapped and conversations can take place in a relaxed group setting.
3 Dynamic, experienced speakers
A keynote speaker provides the intellectual highlight for the evening. Previous speakers have included entrepreneur and activist Shaka Sisulu, social development consultant Olga Meshoe and South African Minister of Small Business, Ms. Lindiwe Zulu.
An entrepreneurial community
The aim of The Hookup Dinner is to have an active, vibrant, connected, well-networked and economically active tribe of 1 million startups across the African continent by 2020. With the support of SAB KickStart their ambitions may well be realized.
Have you attended your local THUD?
THUD is currently active these cities:
• Johannesburg #THUDJozi
• Cape Town #THUDCape
• Durban #THUDDurbz
• Pretoria #THUDPta
• Polokwane #THUDPlk
• Bloemfontein #THUDBloem
• Port Elizabeth #THUDPE
• East London #THUDEL
• Nelspruit #THUDNelspruit
• Rustenburg #THUDRusty
• Kimberley #THUDKim
• Ghana #THUDGhana
• Zimbabwe #THUDZim
• Gaborone, Botswana #THUDGabz
Have you attended your local THUD? Let us know in the comments below.