National Business Awards, The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Pitch and Panel Event

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Last week I attended the National Business Awards Pitch and Panel event at St George's Hall in Liverpool where a shortlist of ten entrepreneurs pitched at a panel of judges for the chance of a place in the final of the National Business Awards New Entrepreneur of the Year award.

National Business Awards New Entrepreneur of the Yearr Pitch and Panel Event

The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates entrepreneurship and potential. Companies must be under 18 months old. They seek finalists demonstrating entrepreneurial aptitude, commercial acumen, vision, ambition and drive to build a successful enterprise.

The Pitch and Panel event saw each of the semi finalists given three minutes to pitch their companies to the judges. This was encouraged to include their business model, key achievements and their plans for growth. This was then followed by questions from the judges and a judges discussion.

Proceedings were opened by the Duke of York who spoke about the importance of entrepreneurship and fast growing companies to the economy, and he felt sure that the companies featured demonstrated that we are on the right track.

The award is suppported by Vonage, who offer a range of national and international phone call packages for businesses and individual, They allow smartphone calls to be made using a wireless connection, perfect when travelling, or in locations with a poor mobile phone signal. Simon Burckhardt, Managing Director of Vonage UK was one of the judging panel and said:
“Entrepreneurs like the ones we had a chance to hear from today are the back-bone of this economy. They are an example of the innovation, creativity and passion that exists in the UK business community. While we may have selected five finalists, the competition was tough, not unlike the current business environment.”
The semi-finalists were;

Jamie Clarke - BioDome Systems - A 'smart environment' created for schools which features sustainable technology, advanced electronics and advanced manufacturing systems.

Leanne Morris - Carter Morris Talent Solutions -  A retained search recruitment service, working with multinational organisations to provide international HR professional recruitment.

Richard Llewelllyn - Forell Ltd - Run by a third year university student Forell develops medical software systems, the first of which offers tailor made regimes which track adherence and can be tailored to each patient.

Vivian Chan - Sparrho (Distilled Ltd) - Sparrho is a content curation platform which allows those researching in science to keep up to date with current published material in a new way. It works by learning what users read and recommending new choices based on this.

Soraya Bahrami - Toucan Fruit - A leading importer of rare exotic fruit in to the UK with produce that has never been brought to market in the UK before. By creating a market for plants facing extinction they are creating a market, and demand for them.

The five finalists selected by the judges were:

Emma Cerrone - Free Formers -  Free Formers is a digital training agency offering training to corporations via hands on workshops. For every business person they train they train a young person for free.

Ben Weaver - Outlook Publishing Ltd - A digital publishing company which produces business magazines for Asia, Africa and Europe. The magazines profile businesses in each area, in addition to highighting current affairs business and general news.

Alistair Smit - The Magic Thermodynamic Box - A UK Company which specialises in offering renewable energy solutions to businesses nationally and internationally. Their stated aim is to provide green environmentally friendly products, resist climate change and help homeowners reduce utility bills.

Kathryn Birch - Translive Global This company offers professional translation, interpretation and transcription services. Aiming to cut the cost of interpretation services by 40% work can be submitted to one of over 1200 interpreters or interpretation can be carried out live in meetings.

Jay Radia - Yieldify - Working in e-commerce Yieldify aims to help e-businesses to convert browsing customers into orders. Using data driven concepts to offer promotions, and a range of user metrics.

To view the finalists' pitches and vote for your favourite visit the Finalists page on the National Business Awards website.

My favourite pitch was by Emma Cerrone of Free Formers. Having worked for a training company in the past I was clear on what they were offering and I really liked that the philanthropy was built in to their business model. I know how hard it can be for young people to access useful, applicable training and it was clear that Free Formers are offering this. I liked Jamie Clarke of BioDome Systems very much, His passion for his company and product sang through and I'd like to see the BioDome in action. The other standout pitch for me was Kathryn Birch of Translive Global. I've worked with translation and interpreting services in the past and it's always been a challenging relationship. Translive Global seems to take the confusion and delay out of the service. It seemed like a great approach.

I've placed my vote and will be interested to see who is successful when the award winners are announced in November. I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the Pitch and Panel event and was delighted to see the high quality of entrepreneurship on display.

In association with Vonage.


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