The Pitch is an independent pitching competition that gives startups the support to grow and the platform to raise investment.
The Pitch supports startups across the UK, whether you’ve just launched or you’re getting ready to grow. It’s designed to boost your skills, network and confidence.
By taking part, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a pitching coach and pitch to industry experts and investors. The top 10 startups go on to compete on the national stage, pitch to a panel that includes active investors, and win a brilliant prize package.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I apply to The Pitch?
The Pitch programme is designed to give you the skills and connections you need to succeed. You’ll have the chance to:
- Work with a pitching coach to improve your pitch, confidence and delivery
- Meet other startups working in the same industry as you
- Pitch to active investors and industry experts
- Feature on our startup leaderboard, which is seen by thousands of people
- Compete at The Pitch Final in London
Who should apply?
The competition is open to UK-based businesses that have been trading for less than three years.
To get the most from The Pitch and support on offer, please make sure it’s the founder or co-founder who attends the event. That said, we don’t mind who fills in the application form.
What stage does my business need to be at?
The Pitch is open to companies across all sectors and funding stages. The majority of Pitch entrants have started making sales, but pre-revenue businesses can also enter. If you haven’t launched your startup yet, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate traction or proof that there’s market demand.
How does The Pitch work?
- The first stage is an online application form that helps our judges assess the potential for the business and what you’ve achieved so far. We then choose the top 100 applications to progress to the semi-final stage.
- You’ll attend an online pitching workshop with one of our pitching coaches to get feedback on your pitch.
- Founders then compete in a live regional event, giving a 90-second pitch to investors and industry experts.
- After the session, we’ll share the judges’ feedback with you. The scores will be added to our top 100 leaderboard, which will be seen by thousands of people.
- We select the top 10 businesses to give a three-minute pitch at The Pitch Final, where our judges will select the champion.
How does the side hustle competition at The Pitch work?
We recognise that, for founders who run a side hustle, the issues faced can be very different than those who run their business full-time.
So, we decided to provide support specifically to side hustlers. New to this year’s The Pitch, we now have a new branch of the competition specifically for founders who run their business alongside a day job.
The side hustle competition at The Pitch will be in a separate stream to the startup competition. Finalists in the side hustle competition will pitch their business at an online event. The winner will then be invited to compete at The Pitch Final, alongside our startup finalists.
Signing up is the same for both competitions, the only difference is that you select either the startup or side hustle option when working through the application form.
When do applications close? And what are the other important dates?
Applications close on 31st July. We’ll announce the top 100 startups in August; the pitching workshops and regional semi-finals will kick off in September.
The Pitch Final will be held in October.
How do you score startups at the semi-finals and final?
Judges mark each of the finalists out of five (one is poor, five is excellent) in four categories:
- The idea: Is the business solving a problem consumers care about? What potential is there for the product or service?
- Proof of traction: How much demonstrable market interest is there? This could be in the form of research, customer reviews, users, revenue etc.
- The team: Is the founding team right for the challenge? Does their support network have the expertise necessary? Their network includes employees, mentors and advisers.
- The pitch: How strong is their pitch? Good pitches are engaging, memorable and effectively communicate the problem they’re trying to solve.
Startups will be judged based on the progress they’ve made for the stage they’re at, including company age and funding.
Will my idea/IP be protected?
Your application will be viewed by The Pitch team and panel of expert judges. If you make it through to the regional semi-finals, you will have to pitch in front of the other attendees and so need to be happy with your idea being made public.
However, you are welcome to leave out particular elements to keep your IP secure. To our knowledge, we’ve not had any issues with ideas being copied from events in the past 12 years that we’ve been running them.
If you have any concerns or questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to guide you through what to disclose.
What’s the history of The Pitch?
The Pitch was launched in Bristol in 2008 and has since grown into one of the UK’s biggest startup events.
Over the years, The Pitch has helped thousands of small businesses succeed (see some of our alumni here) and in that time we’ve done a fair bit of growing ourselves. Since starting as a traditional pitching competition, we’ve evolved into a complete programme of support.
The Pitch is produced by Inkwell, a Bristol-based agency. Inkwell helps companies create conversations with business owners.
I’m a previous Pitch finalist, who do I talk to about PR?
We love to hear from founders who’ve taken part in the past. If you’d like to give us an update or have news that you want to share, please send an email to email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.
What can I do to support The Pitch?
We couldn’t run The Pitch without the support of our sponsors and all the people in our network that provide advice and content. It’s always amazing to see the level of support everyone’s willing to put into the event and we are incredibly grateful.
If you think you could help the competition or are interested in sponsoring The Pitch, please email Chris@inkwellagency.co.uk.