The successful finalists have been chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in the first of four heats for The Pitch 2011, organised by BusinessZone.co.uk in association with marketing solutions business Yell. The overall winner will receive £50,000 worth of business support.
The five finalists are:
Christer Holloman, CEO and Co-founder of ATTYR.com, a visual search, discovery and comparison tool for online clothes & accessory shoppers.
Jon Rathbone, owner of Waterly Bottom Products Limited who design and sell the Pourty, an innovative child’s potty that is easier to empty and clean than a normal potty.
Scott Woodhead, Managing Director of Loving Outdoors, an online outdoor retailer with a fresh take on e-commerce.
Bruce Balmer, Business Development Director of ULTRaMo Ltd, developers of a new green engine that has the potential to halve carbon emissions by achieving 60% thermal efficiency.
Cara Sayer, Managing Director of Really Simple Ideas Ltd, designers of baby products including the SnoozeShade with the aim of making life easier for parents.
The entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses in front of a live audience and a panel of judges on 9 June at the headquarters of NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) in central London.
Judging the contestants will be serial social entrepreneur Karen Darby, marketing expert, Business Matters columnist and star of Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire Carl Hopkins, and MyVoucherCodes.co.uk founder Mark Pearson who also appeared on the Channel 4 show.
Mark Pearson says: “Having kept a close eye on The Pitch since it launched in 2008, I’ve been very impressed with the high quality of the business owners putting themselves forward and look forward to getting involved in a judging capacity.
“I’m hoping to see originality from the applicants, but most of all, profitability. A good idea isn’t always a good business idea, and I’ll be drawn to businesses that demonstrate the opportunity to grab market share and scale up.”
As part of the event the audience and pitchers will receive valuable business advice from an impressive line-up of speakers.
The keynote address will be given by business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk before successful entrepreneurs and other experts share their tips for success. They include Anthony Lau, founder of Cyclehoop and winner of The Pitch 2009; Simon Duffy, owner of Bulldog Skincare; Fil Adams-Mercer, co-founder of Parcels2Go, David Hathiramani, co-founder of A Suit That Fits and Matthew Bottomley, director of usage products at Yell.
This England heat is part of The Pitch’s UK wide search to find and support young small businesses.
Heats will also take place in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast before a grand final in London in November where the champion will walk away with the top prize which includes 12 months free mentoring from competition judge Karen Darby, £6,000 of advertising solutions from Yell and membership of employers’ organisation the Forum of Private Business, £4,000 worth of advertising with Business Matters and market research from Trends Research.
Those wishing to attend the event can book a free place at www.thepitch2011.com/national-heats
Business Matters is a media partner of The Pitch 2011.