They call it the elevator pitch and it’s a skill any entrepreneur needs to master if they’re to attract funding for a new business idea.
Today (Wednesday), an initiative from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) gave students the chance to perfect their ability to make their pitch in two minutes - and win a cash boost for their business.
Eight students reached the final of the Pitch2Win contest staged at the DMU Innovation Centre by the university’s Campus Enterprise Opportunities (CEO) initiative. Launched to promote and encourage students with unique, imaginative and creative business ideas, the competition awards the best pitches £250 each to help get the ideas off the ground.
From a board game to help raise awareness of the risk factors associated with diabetes to an idea to import home-produced handicrafts from India and sell them to lifestyle markets across Europe, the business pitches were varied and well presented.
The diabetes pitch was presented by a group of Community Champion volunteers from the DMU Square Mile diabetes project. Following their training from Diabetes UK, the group gave a session on diabetes to children from a local primary school, earlier this month. They were so struck by the number of questions and interest shown by the children that they had the idea of developing an educational board game.
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“We enjoyed the pitch and the judges seemed interested in our business idea but I guess it depends on the competition,” said Neha Rana, one of three Pharmacy students in the group.
“If we’re successful, we’d use the £250 to help build a prototype that we can trial in schools and use the feedback we get to further develop our ideas for the product.”
One of the solo pitches was given by Vikesh Mistry, a first year DMU student of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Vikesh’s idea is based on developing an incentivised student attendance system, using gamification technology.
“I felt I did well on the questions the judges asked me. I might have done a bit better with the pitch itself but I’m still hopeful,” he said.
“If successful, I’d invest the £250 in preparing a validation study that I could then take to the potential investors I’m already in contact with.”
THE JUDGES: (Left to Right) DMU's Employer Development Manager Stuart Marriott with Stacey Simpson and Amy Maher of Campus Enterprise Opportunities
CEO Project Manager Amy Maher was pleased with the morning’s pitches: “I thought the quality was very good and it was nice to see such a variety of different business ideas”, she said.
“The pitches were very professional and the students had really thought about the guidelines we’d given them – there were certainly some viable businesses in there.
“There’s definitely growing interest from students in starting their own business and many of their ideas just need a bit of cash to get them going, to build a prototype, a website or do some initial marketing, for example.
“You may think £250 isn’t a lot but it can provide a kick start, which can include doing some work to see if a business idea is viable.”
The successful pitches will be announced this week.
Posted on Wednesday 24th June 2015