The NEC Birmingham welcomed Venturefest 2017 last week, where shortlisted Pitchfest applicants presented business ideas to a panel of judges in an attempt to raise a total of £3.9m from a national audience of investors.

Pitchfest is a unique pitching competition, where entrepreneurs had the opportunity to increase their profile in front of a national audience of investors. The finalists and their business ideas where in competition to win the Best Pitch Award, potential future investment and £2,000 in cash prizes.

Competitors where judged by twelve leading national investors across the day, including CEO of the UK Business Angel Association, Jenny Tooth, who has 20 years’ experience of facilitating SMEs access to investment, and Director, Investments at British Business Bank, Robert Cawdron who will be judging the Best Pitch 2017 winner.

The panel of judges chose Snaptivity, OmAwake and Limitless Travel as their winners, before the audience choice award ultimately went to Limitless Travel.

The final took place during Venturefest West Midlands; a free, one-day event aimed at supporting business growth through innovation. It brought together up nearly 600 entrepreneurs, innovators and investors with specific innovation expertise. The event also saw over 30 companies exhibiting to showcase the support and services on offer in the region for new and growing businesses. Alongside them will also be over 25 high growth, high innovation exhibiting companies.

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

Many of the finalists will hope to have the same success as previous winners such as, Karl Drage, CEO of Smart Renewable Heat, who had a huge influx of investment after taking part in the competition.

“The Pitchfest experience was useful and enjoyable. The process helped me sharpen my pitch, and prepared me for many similar pitches to investors.”

“We did get interest from potential investors.  We did a lot of work towards our funding round, so it wasn’t the only contributing factor, but it certainly helped. Pitchfest helped towards our successful funding round of £150,000 SEIS funding.  It also introduced us to Climate-KIC, with who we went on to win £20,000 in a regional competition, and also the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses growth programme, which we have just completed.”

To keep informed about next year’s event, visit