Two days of live pitching has resulted in the naming of the best small business owners from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who will compete for prizes worth £50,000.
The four entrepreneurs, plus 22 wildcard contestants, were selected after presenting in front of business experts and a live audience at The Pitch Live in Liverpool.
The event was the semi-final for The Pitch 2012, the competition organised by BusinessZone.co.uk in association with digital services provider hibu* and sponsored by Crunch and ICAEW.
The winners will compete at The Pitch 2012 Grand Final at London’s legendary nightclub Ministry of Sound on 16 November where the overall champion will win business support worth £50,000.
More than 60 entrepreneurs from across Britain presented during the two-day festival at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and were questioned by judges including Karen Darby, Crunch CEO Darren Fell, David Malone, Northern Ireland telesales manager at hibu and ICAEW’s Charles Carter.
Winning the title for England was Jim Shaikh, creator of Yoomi, an innovative self-warming baby bottle which heats up in 60 seconds.
The Scottish winner was Sam Zawadski, founder of AdvancetoGO, a website that helps landlords manage property which Sir Richard Branson described as a service that “will challenge the property industry”.
Taking the Welsh prize was Alba McConnell and her business Rio - A Taste of Brazil. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur has created a range of sauces with authentic Brazilian flavours.
Claiming the slot in the final for Northern Ireland was Heavenly Tasty Organics, an organic baby food company set up by Shauna McCarney.
Judges also selected 22 contestants who will take part in a public vote. The two entrepreneurs with the most votes will take the fifth and sixth wildcard slots at the Grand Final.
Dan Martin, editor of BusinessZone.co.uk and founder of The Pitch, said: “Having so many pitches over two days demonstrated the small business talent that Britain is home to. If there’s one group who will get us out of the economic doldrums, it’s entrepreneurs like that.