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Students' business ideas win them £1,000

Two De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students have been awarded £1,000 to help them develop their business ideas after being crowned winners of Pitch2Win.

Pitch2Win challenges entrepreneurial students and graduates to come up with a business idea which they pitch in a video in just two minutes. Shortlisted applicants are then invited to attend a one day boot camp before pitching their idea for five minutes to a panel of judges on the final pitching day.

Pitch2Win 1

The competition, managed by DMU’s Enterprise Team is sponsored and judged by local charity Sir Thomas White Loans and legal firm Smith Partnership. The panel were so impressed with the quality of ideas and pitches, they decided to award two cash prizes rather than just one.

The level of pitches from the finalists was so high that the judges decided to name two winners. Simon Sansome and Jane Hearst both impressed the judging panel with their passion, confidence and clear plan for taking their ideas forward.

Journalism student Simon Sansome pitched Ability Access, a website for people with disabilities which aims to remove the unexpected barriers they may face in their communities. The website will inform people how accessible public places are within their community.

Pitch2Win 3

Simon plans to use the money he’s won to expand the functionality of his website further. The money will also be used to create introductory packs for local and national businesses, encouraging them to have their physical spaces reviewed and rated with regards to their accessibility.

He said: “The application process for Pitch2Win was simple and the training provided was really useful.

“The boot camp helped me create a professional and confident pitch which helped me to win the £1000 in the final. The money will help me move the idea forward and continue to give people with a disability an understanding of where and how they can access their communities.”

The second winner was Jane Hearst, a Global MBA student who pitched her idea ‘Curious Observer’, a life guidance service that uses film as a medium for self-exploration. Curious Observer was created for those that feel disconnected, lost or inspired.

After already receiving positive feedback from the Arts Council England and local arts organisations, Jane would like to put the money she’s won towards making the first example film.

Pitch2Win 4

She explained: “Last year I was commissioned by Channel 4's Random Acts, to create a film called The Past Whispers. In the creation of this film, I was able to explore a difficult personal story and communicate it with the people I cared about.

“That process helped massively towards making me the strong person I am today. The Curious Observer was designed to offer that experience to others who aren't trained in the same discipline.

“I am ecstatic to see that the business idea is getting traction. To be one of the winners of Pitch2Win has been a really motivating and reaffirming experience. I'd recommend it to anybody.”

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By creating her first film, Jane will then be able to demonstrate her films to other funding organisations to help her to reach further investment for the business.

Amy Maher, Manager of DMU’s Enterprise Team, said: “The Spring Final of Pitch2Win was another strong round of innovative business ideas pitched with the highest level of professionalism. The panel were so impressed with the pitches, they decided to award two finalists with a cash prize!”

Applications for Pitch2Win have now closed for the academic year but take a look at the Enterprise Teams webpages to see what other support is available. Applications for Pitch2Win will open again in the new academic year.

Posted on Friday 27th April 2018

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