12 entrepreneurs set to pitch for £3.2m at region’s largest investment event

12 entrepreneurs set to pitch for £3.2m at region’s largest investment event

The finalists have been selected for Pitchfest, a competition taking place as part of the Venturefest WM event next week, to give business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to raise their profiles and pitch to a panel of leading investors and industry experts.

Taking place on 23 June at the NEC Birmingham, the event will see shortlisted applicants present to a judging panel and attempt to raise a total of £3.2m in finance from a national audience of investors.

The twelve finalists are: CleanCar, GeoMingle, GivePenny, Applio Ltd, Interactive Wedding Invitations, PitchForMe,  Astute Grapics Limited, iD Sports & Leisure, Interpac Ltd, Fixers, Smart Renewable Heat, and RealTag.

Jointly organised by Aston University, the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick, in association with Venturefest West Midlands, a series of workshops and pitching panels were held over three months to help businesses develop their pitch before the Pitchfest final.

The panel will be made up of twelve judges including CEO of the UK Business Angel Association, Jenny Tooth, who has 20 years’ experience of facilitating SMEs access to investment, and the head of Seven Investment Management Justin Urquhart Stewart.

Last year’s Pitchfest saw finalists split into three – early stage, launch and growth, and entrepreneurs in each category had just 7 minutes to present their best case for investment, followed by intense questioning from an expert panel of investors. 

The early stage category saw Roompik app creator James Richmond take home the trophy, the launch winner was Paul Blackburn of eye testing equipment retailer Aston Eyetach, and winner of the growth category was Bryon Dixon of Microfresh. Each of the winners were

invited to pitch for an opportunity to win the coveted Best Pitch Award – the most investable pitch, as voted for by the audience. 

It was Byron Dixon of Microfresh who won best pitch with an engaging pitch of his highly scalable, anti-bacterial technology enterprise.  He said: “I'm so passionate about what we do at the company that speaking to a room full of potential investors was not difficult, I actually enjoyed it.” 

Speaking ahead of this year’s event Paula Whitehouse, director of the Aston Centre for Growth at Aston University, said: “Pitchfest 2016 showcases some really exciting business ideas from entrepreneurs with huge potential.  

“Access to finance for small businesses and entrepreneurs is key for growth, and this event will support our finalists to progress their businesses by connecting with investors and other innovators. 

“Venturefest delegates get the opportunity to watch some finely honed presentations and hear the reaction of the expert investors commenting on the pitches before finally taking control by voting for the overall audience winner.” 

Click here to book your free places for Venturefest West Midlands and see the Pitchfest finalists in action. 

In the lead up to Pitchfest, BQ is profiling each of the finalists in our daily breakfast bulletins. Click on the link below to sign up for these, and more similar stories in your region.

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