Swindon entrepreneurs urged to enter home-grown small business contest

May 5, 2014

The Pitch, one of the UK’s longest-running competitions for small business owners, has opened for applications for the seventh year.

Founded in by West-based BusinessZone.co.uk and UK Business Forums, it has helped thousands of entrepreneurs secure top-class business support and access to investors.

Having been launched as a local event in the city, it has since developed into a nationwide initiative and provided support to business owners across the UK.

Entrepreneurs who wish to apply can do so at www.thepitchuk.com. Entries close on July 13.

Applicants to the competition, presented in association with lead supporter AVG, will be whittled down to 100 entrepreneurs who will attend one of two intensive training boot camps in Manchester and London where they will receive advice from a range of experts on all aspects of pitching and growing their business.

They will then present live on stage after which they will be reduced again to 30 to compete at The Pitch 2014 Grand Final on October 23 at Bristol’s Paintworks.

These finalists will pitch to a judging panel that will include serial social entrepreneur and founder of CrowdMission.com Karen Darby, Company Shortcuts boss Lara Morgan, who built luxury toiletries provider Pacific Direct into a £20m business, and Judith Bitterli, serial entrepreneur and chief marketing officer at AVG Technologies.

The overall winner will receive a huge package of business support including 12 months’ free access to business lounges around the world, free taxi travel, a Nokia Lumia tablet, web design advice, online business security services from AVG and PR consultancy. All attendees will also have access to investors.

To qualify, companies must be UK-based and trading for less than three years. Individuals with a business idea and not yet trading can apply for the One –to-Watch category. The winner of that will receive £1,000 worth of business advice from an ICAEW chartered accountant.

BusinessZone.co.uk editor and founder of The Pitch, Dan Martin, said: “The Pitch has come a long way since our humble beginnings in 2008, and we are delighted to be back for a seventh year. There aren’t many business competitions that have lasted that long!

“From day one, our aim has been to support Britain’s innovative entrepreneurs who are so crucial to the success of the UK economy. We’ve helped thousands since we launched, but The Pitch 2014 is set to be the best competition yet. We can’t wait to meet this year’s crop of entrepreneurial talent.”

AVG Technologies chief marketing officer Judith Bitterli added:  “AVG’s philosophy is all about empowering small businesses to manage their technology simply and reliably so they can stop worrying about their data and concentrate on growth in today's fast changing, increasingly mobile workplace.

“As Britain’s top competition for emerging entrepreneurs, The Pitch is an ideal forum to share our passionate belief that a well‐connected business is an essential ingredient for success today.”

The Pitch 2013 champion Arthur Kay, founder of Bio Bean, said: “The support I have received from The Pitch has been invaluable and Karen Darby, the mentor we won access to, has provided me with great advice that has really helped my business grow.

“The endorsement of the competition has also been very useful when approaching potential investors, as well as generating publicity to help us reach a wider audience. If you’re running a small company, I urge you to enter The Pitch 2014.”

The Pitch 2014 is organised by Bristol-based Sift Media event and also supported by ICAEW, Constant Contact and Nokia. BusinessZone.co.uk, owned by Sift, is an online publication for entrepreneurs providing free, practical and no-nonsense advice on how to start and grow a successful business. UK Business Forums is the UK’s most-active online forums for small business owners attracting more than 400,000 unique users every month.

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