BusinessZone.co.uk, in association with digital services provider Yell, is encouraging young entrepreneurs to take part in The Pitch, Britain’s biggest business pitching contest. Entrants pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges in front of a live audience competing for a £50,000 prize package. Preliminary heats will be held across the UK in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Dan Martin, editor of BusinessZone.co.uk said: “In a market where graduate opportunities are harder to come by, an increasing number of young people are creating opportunities for themselves. The number of self-employed graduates has increased by 46 per cent in the last six years, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa). We are hoping to see lots of these young entrepreneurs in the competition.”
Last year’s The Pitch event demonstrated the calibre of young entrepreneurs. Finalists included Cardiff University Business School graduates Helen McAvoy and Naomi Kibble, who wowed judges with their unique product Rocktails, a range of frozen cocktails which they describe as ‘powerfully fruity’ and ‘wildly convenient.’
Helen and Naomi offer the following tips for young entrepreneurs preparing to pitch their ideas to investors:
• Organisation and strategic planning are crucial when putting together a pitch. You need to
demonstrate to investors that your business plan is realistic and that you’ve given your financial projections serious thought.
• Think long and hard about your branding and the key messages that best embody your product and values. Keep it simple and have fun with it.
• Ensure you understand your product’s unique selling point. Identify exactly what makes you different and why consumers will buy your products.
• Do your market research – show that you know who your target audience is and how best to reach them.
• Be sure to demonstrate the flexibility of your brand. This is important in consumer markets that are always changing.
• Finally, relax and enjoy yourself. You love and believe in your product; be resilient and stand by your core values.
Dan Martin said: “Our young graduates are vital to the economic life of this country. We salute them for their ambition and courage in setting up their own businesses. We hope that The Pitch competition process will help them hone their skills and give them recognition and the oxygen of publicity.”
Digital services provider Yell has supported the growth of the small business competition since The Pitch’s inception in 2008 and given marketing support and advice to finalists and winners.
Richard Hanscott, chief executive officer for Yell in the UK, said: “Making a first strong impression is vital for those wanting to start a new business and The Pitch is an effective way for businesses to think about how they present themselves and explain their ideas. We’re delighted therefore to be supporting small businesses through such an inspiring and motivating competition.”
You can find out more about the competition and submit entries by visiting www.The PitchUK.com. Applications must be completed by the end of May with judging taking place over the summer. The Pitch grand final takes place in London on 16 November during Global Entrepreneurship Week.