A one day festival with a clear focus on nurturing business growth in Yorkshire, Pitchfest brings investors, innovators and entrepreneurs together in an exciting environment.
Selected finalists will be showcased at the main Venturefest event in November, as well as being connected with real investors in the Investors Lounge and ‘The Elevator’.
Pitchfest is now open for applications until 16 September, with the live finals taking place on 16 November and the overall Winner receiving £5,000 and 12 months of business support.
Last year's winner was healthy eating café and products company ÜGOT, which started with a £100,000 director's loan, and launched its first branch at York train station in 2013.
A second branch has since opened at Newcastle train station, and the founders are looking to open new stores in Harrogate, Newcastle and Leeds.
Their current branches, at York and Newcastle, are generating a turnover of £360,000 with a net profit of £24,000. The firm now employs 14 people, with three focussed on the design and marketing of the brand.
Co-founder Joe Carnell said: "It was a huge honour to be at last year's Venturefest especially among so many inspirational entrepreneurs. I didn't go with the intention of winning, it was more to gain exposure for ÜGOT, but it's so overwhelming to be recognised for all the hard work we've put in over the last 18 months.
"I look forward to the next stage of continuing to develop and grow ÜGOT, capitalising on the generosity of our new sponsors and then returning next year to share our success."
The Innovation Showcase provides supported access to the show for early stage start-ups and even pre start-ups, who have a new innovation they want to develop. Showcase exhibition stands are free, but must be applied for, and will be selected by a Venturefest panel. A £1,000 prize will be awarded to the most innovative idea on the day.
Last year's Innovation Showcase winner was BugBrush, a unique and revolutionary toothbrush designed to tackle infant tooth by empowering infants to safely and effectively clean their own teeth with a patented curved designThe product is breaking new ground in infant oral hygiene, and hopefully in time it will be the choice of first infant toothbrush for all parents.
Inventor Rowena Johnson has since landed UK distributors Torque and retailers Jo Jo Maman Bebe and taken BugBrush on to secure distribution in another 7 countries. BugBrush was also shortlisted for BQ’s Emerging Entrepreneur Awards 2015
In anticipation of the festival in November, the Venturefest Roadshow will take place in Leeds, Huddersfield and Hull to order to inspire, engage and inform businesses.
Register for the Leeds Roadshow event (3 Aug) here, the Huddersfield Roadshow event (9 Aug) here, or the Hull Roadshow event (17 Aug) here.