Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Day at "The Pitch"

Spent today tucked away in a breakout room within the Aurora building in Glasgow, alongside representatives from 5 other business all shortlisted for the Scottish heat of The Pitch 2009

The pitch is a Dragons' Den style business competition where 'business owners from across the nation pitch to a panel of top industry experts to demonstrate the innovation, market knowledge, customer engagement and financial viability of their business, competing to win a massive £50,000 worth of business related goods and services.'

I have to confess the day didn't start off as well as it concluded. There was some initial confusion as to the format of "The Pitch" including whether powerpoint was permitted, with some participants having been told it wasn't allowed and some (myself included) turning up with presentations prepared. In the end it emerged that while powerpoint was technically permitted, they had no projector or means of displaying it (*g*) So we all did without. Which was nice actually, I almost wish I was forced to present without it more often... (almost).

Also there was no schedule (or at least not one that was circulated amongst the participants) so we all turned up expecting a much shorter day than the crew had planned. For some this meant that meetings had to be jigged & trains home were missed, though no problem for us as we split up and James left to go about 'business as usual' periodically returning to check on progress and dropping off care packages while I stayed put at Aurora

So we went last, which gave me plenty of time to chat with the other shortlisted businesses: some new to me, and some entrepreneurs I am aware of and have admired for a while. SO, without further ado, lets introduce the competition!

The other pitchers in the Scottish heat were (in chronological order):

Russell Young - Proguard Plus:
Protective paint for Yachts and Jets

Craig Smith - Printed Bag Shop:
Suppliers of eco friendly printed carrier bags (@printedbagshop)

Andy Smith - Agenor Technology:
IT project implementation management software

Richard Burton - HoodEasy:
Suppliers of eco friendly printed carrier bags (@hoodeasy)

Alan Powell - Energy Mechanics:
Renewable energy services

And us. I was Pitching with James on hand to address any specifically technical or design orientated questions.

Our turn rolled around a little after 4:15. Previous 'pitchers' had alluded to problems with tech but the teething problems must have resolved themselves somewhere down the line as we had no such difficulties. The pitch went smoothly, technology behaved, and I timed in at an impressive 3m 58s.

The Judges ( Nick Price, Michael Canon, Jennifer Cheyne, Graeme Scott, Craig Patterson & Bill Morrow ) were great. I was impressed with how engaged they all still were having spent a long and unbelievably warm day stuck in a glass room under many lights.

Also, the folk running the day were really helpful and nice, as were the tech crew. Previous gripes aside, it is hard not to have fun, even under stressful circumstances, when you're surrounded by such enthusiastic people so my thanks and gratitude to them all for arranging the day.

So, what to say?
On the whole i'm pretty happy with the way my Pitch went, I got some lovely comments from the judges on my presentation style, some of which I am pleased to say made it onto the Twitter Stream. Other than that, however, I will withhold further judgement as the video will make it onto "The Pitch" website very soon allowing you to make up your own minds, and speaking of making up minds ...
the announcement of who is to progress to the finals of "The Pitch" is due to be made tomorrow.

Watch this space I guess??


Dan Martin said...

Amanda, many thanks for blogging about The Pitch 2009.

Apologies again for the confusion over PowerPoint. It did state in the document we sent you that the only technical equipment permitted was a laptop powered by a battery but I admit that this could be interpreted as implying we were providing PowerPoint presentation facilities.

With regard to the techical problems experienced by some of your fellow pitches, this was as a result of damage caused to the camera crew's sound mixer on the flight to Glasgow. We will be getting in touch with easyJet over that one!

I'm pleased to read though that overall the experience was a rewarding experience for you.

Dan Martin
Editor, BusinessZone.co.uk
Organiser, The Pitch 2009

Amanda said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks so much for your work organising the pitch. As i mention above, everyone was helpful and made the experience a pleasure so please extend my gratitude to the team.

As far as powerpoint goes this issue seems to be getting blown out of proportion! There are no apologies needed. As i say, it really was only a 'confusion' and didn't pose a problem (it even resulted in an enjoyable release from Microsoft's hold on presentation techniques, for one afternoon at least!)

Similarly, your technical equipment behaved for me whatever easyJet may have done to it (i hope the damage isn't too serious!)

I think the above is a fair and balanced run down of the day which, like all events, had its thrills and its niggles. All in, it certainly was rewarding and I'll be encouraging others to apply in the future.

All the best,
Red Button Design