Aston University opens applications for Midlands’ Pitch Up investment competition

  • The Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up Competition is aimed at small business leaders looking for support with gaining investment
  • Ambitious business leaders can improve their ability to win investment while boosting their profile
  • The final will take place at Venturefest on 24 March 2022 at Eastside Rooms.

Applications to Minerva Birmingham’s Pitch Up 2022 competition have opened. Formerly known as ‘Pitchfest WM’ and now in its 7th year, participating businesses have the chance to pitch head-to-head to a variety of investors to win a cash prize, and the ultimate accolade of Pitch Up Champion.

Pitch Up is a collaboration, co-delivered by the Centre for Growth at Aston University, University of Birmingham Enterprise, and Minerva Business Angels, part of the University of Warwick Science Park Ltd.

The competition provides the opportunity for ambitious business leaders to improve their ability to win investment while simultaneously boosting their business profile.

Interested business leaders can apply here, applications close on 28th February.

Shortlisted applicants will be supported through a workshop to refine their pitch deck, sharpen their pitching skills and receive valuable feedback in order to improve. The first workshop will take place on 20 January 2022.

A select number of successful applicants will then advance to the next stage of the competition and have the opportunity pitch to an investor-led panel to gain more practice and receive more feedback.

The best performing businesses will then be selected to pitch at the prestigious Pitch Up Final. This will take place as part of Venturefest WM on 24 March 2022 at Eastside Rooms, Birmingham. Venturefest attracts some 300 delegates including investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The overall winner will be decided by audience vote and crowned Pitch Up Champion 2022, they will receive a cash prize and the option of additional support from Minerva Birmingham.

Last year’s winner, Mark Platt Founder and CTO of Figura Analytics, said:

“I was really amazed to win last year’s competition and delighted at the new connections and networks I made as part of the process.

“The support received through the competition was fantastic; each workshop I attended allowed me to meet new people, learn new skills and left me energised and eager for more. Our winning pitch was definitely the result of some really insightful advice and feedback from the team and panel members.”

The event has put more than 125 entrepreneurs directly in front of investors and helped bring in excess of £40,000,000 of investment to the region’s small businesses to date.

Paula Whitehouse, director of Aston Centre for Growth, said:

“We are delighted to continue this collaboration, Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up exists to boost access to finance for the region’s most exciting and innovative young businesses.

“The competition continues to play a crucial role in unlocking opportunities and investment for the future of high growth companies within the region.”

Alex Toft, head of Minerva Business Angels, part of the University of Warwick Science Park Ltd. said:

“It’s great to be part of such a collaborative relationship building not only support for our entrepreneurs but helping to build that support structure of finance and experience provided by investors.

“This is a great opportunity for those earlier in their development cycle who would otherwise struggle to get noticed. We also continue to call on those who have never considered angel investing to join to reach out to us to find out more.”

David Coleman, CEO of University of Birmingham Enterprise said:

“Within the Midlands, there is a clear disparity between the large proportion of the UK’s high-growth companies that are based here, and the investment secured.

“That’s why collaborative programmes like Pitch Up, which engage a diverse range of investors, are so important to increasing the likelihood of companies securing the funding they need.”

Find out more about Pitch Up, by contacting centreforgrowth@aston.ac.uk, visiting Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up  or apply now here.