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 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.
We’ve outlined key questions people have asked about The Pitch below. If you’re still not sure, please use this form to get in touch or tweet @The_Pitch – we’d love to hear from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pitch competition?
A pitch competition is where startup founders pitch their business idea to a panel of investors and successful entrepreneurs, with the winner securing funding or other support for their business.
It’s also a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to practise, so that they can hone their pitch in preparation for meeting investors.
How can I prepare for pitching competitions?
For your best shot at success in The Pitch competition, we recommend clearly covering the categories that judges will be marking you on: the idea, proof of traction and the team.
Judges will also mark you on the quality of your pitch. To get pitch perfect, we recommend practising regularly and in front of different people.
For more information on preparing for The Pitch, check out our article on preparing a pitch for angel investors.
Why are pitching competitions important for startup founders?
The perks of pitching competitions isn’t just getting cash for your business – they also provide valuable networking opportunities, getting insightful advice from successful entrepreneurs and gaining exposure and meeting other founders.
At The Pitch, we also supply educational content throughout the entire programme, including articles, videos, webinars and coaching sessions.
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 seed investors
- Compete to win a £5,000 grant and money-can’t-buy mentoring package
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 Pitch strives to help startup founders perfect their pitch and secure investment for their business. We do this by providing a full programme of support, consisting of four different stages.
- 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 leaderboard, which will be seen by thousands of people.
- We select the top 10 businesses to pitch at The Pitch Final, where our judges will select the champion.
When do applications close? And what are the other important dates?
Applications are currently closed.
We will open applications for The Pitch around spring in 2023. Sign up to our mailing list, follow our social channels (Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) or keep an eye on this space to find out more for The Pitch 2023.
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. The judging panel consists of successful entrepreneurs and investors – for instance, Crowdcube co-founder Darren Westlake, Pensionbee founder Romina Savova and GoHenry COO Louise Hill.
Will my idea and 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 many 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, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Our Partners page to download an introduction deck for the 2023 programme.