Our first ever pitching competition, held as part of the annual conference, was a huge success on so many levels. What started off as an idea back in March has become a full blown reality. Our thinking at the start was the ABP conference is an impressive platform. For people who have an idea or an early stage business, getting awareness and having a chance to share your idea, keynote style in front of over 100 relevant audience members is gold dust and exactly what we – as a professional body, can be doing to help support small businesses and start-ups. We advertised the opportunity to pitch and had 12 entries which we narrowed down to the top 8. Our aim was to offer a supportive environment as well as enable the connection to the judges. We had no idea that the judges were going to be quite so generous… For those of you unable to make the conference – or who came, but didn’t stay until the end, here are the highlights:
Meet the Judges
Simon Lau – entrepreneurship expert. Simon helps mentor and coach entrepreneurs at the entrepreneur Lab at SAID business school.
Nick Jones – HR Tech Investor, Chairman, and NED for several businesses.
Richard Blakesley – CEO Capital Pilot. Richard helps prepare start ups to get angel investment and then connects them to the angels.
Amanda Baker – Boss lady at Flamingo Punk – a branding and creative marketing agency working specifically in the start up space.
Meet the brave pitchers who stood up in front of over 120 people and shared their ideas and early stage businesses:
Nicky Thompson – NCT careers. A fab idea to work with schools across the country help educate students vocationally.
Nicky Hemmings – Soma Analytics. Soma is an app designed to help reduce the burden of stress. It monitors stress levels and AI helps the app to personalise and develop targeted stress reducing recommendations and suggestions.
Andrea Watts – UnglueYou. Andrea has developed a form of career transition therapy using visual images to help people who struggle to articulate their issues.
Nicola Jones – Athena Professional. Athena are looking to develop their existing offer to virtual classrooms. These allow multiple users to attend the same class – without logistics restrictions.
Anna Cleland – Workhappy. In addition to employee engagement consulting, the workhappy team are developing an app to measure live, reflective feelings of engagement of employees. Better data leads to better insight.
Ben Hawkes – Blackhawke behaviour science. Ben and his team have assessed over 25,000 entrepreneurs. They’ve developed a measure of entrepreneurial talent – a new psychometric with impressive results.
George TakTak – Feeliom. George and his team have developed an app to help people communicate through the vibration interface of a mobile phone. In the same way that bats, dolphins and many other animals communicate through vibes, George is bringing this world to those who struggle to speak (hospital patients, young children being obvious examples).
Ellie Yell – Fledglink. Think ‘linked in’ but for young people. Without many years of experience, young people struggle to sell themselves. This new app connects young people to employers. They can also complete psychometric and personality assessments on line which they can share with employers.
All pitchers were given 90 seconds. The judges were tasked with listening and thinking of any questions they’d like to ask. Each pitcher did an incredibly well polished and exactly timed pitch. The audience were stunned, amazed and impressed! The judges were able to ask follow up and clarifying questions – which they took full advantage of doing! They then retired and deliberated for the next 45 minutes who would win (and by win, the prize on the table was a write up in the ABP newsletter, an interview with the Business Transformation network (TV channel) and lunch with Nick Jones). Instead, what the judges ended up agreeing was a full day in Nick’s flux lounge – a creative space for entrepreneurs with the technological capabilities to record, view, edit and share their idea in more depth. They will receive not only the collective wisdom on the judges on their branding/marketing strategy but also on how investible they are and what work their business plan may need.
After deliberating, the judges did decide that not one – but two businesses deserved the accolade of ‘winner’ but on the basis of different criteria. Their collective agreement was:
Winner – Most creative and innovative idea: Feeliom
Winner – Most investible: Fledglink
Many of the members of the ABP are small business owners. We know how hard it is getting a platform and having the chance to share and raise your idea with others. We hope this competition has in some way connected the pitchers with a relevant and interested audience. Good luck to all our wonderful pitchers! We look forward to hearing your stories and hope you enjoy the day with the judges.