The Duke of York opened a one-day event at east London’s Rise London business space where he met company bosses making their pitch to a panel of mentors, potential investors and business angels.

The Prince gave the entrepreneurs three minutes each to make their pitch to the panel however the main element of the day was for small and medium-size businesses to make contacts with mentors and to network in the biotech area, even if they don’t manage to lure in the big investors.

The Duke’s idea was for the companies to learn how to pitch and his Pitch@Palace project enables companies from around the UK to pitch their ideas at regional gatherings.

The royal roadshow moves on to Manchester and then Glasgow next month before a “bootcamp” in Cambridge for the finalists.

The main event is being staged at St James’s Palace on March 7, focussing on Biotech.