November 19, 2021, by Ingenuity Lab

Pitch to Win: Live – Event Report

Last week we hosted our first in-person event of the year. Our pitching competition, Pitch to Win, saw six Lab members presenting their business pitches to an expert panel for the chance to win a top prize of £1000!

To enter, Ingenuity Lab members had to submit an elevator video pitch, and the entrants were whittled down to a six person shortlist to pitch on the day. All video pitches were also entered in the People’s Choice Award, with a 24-hour voting period that saw over 300 people vote for their favourite pitch.

The panel for Pitch to Win was made up of three Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) – Wendy Furness and Keith Burgess attending live at the Ingenuity Lab, and Liz Bolt attending via video link from Brighton. The fourth judge was Richard Hillson, a University of Nottingham alumni who currently lives and works as a financial consultant in New York City.

Throughout the year, our EIRs engage in activities including mentoring Ingenuity Lab businesses and delivering business training seminars – and offering their services to judge the competition is another sign of their invaluable contribution to the Lab and the Haydn Green Institute.

Wendy Furness and Keith Burgess watch one of the Lab Members deliver their pitch

The judges brought a wealth of experience from a diverse range of sectors:

Wendy has run established businesses and start-ups in veterinary medicine, pharmacy, property and tourism. Keith has many years’ experience as a management consultant and project manager. Richard is a financial services entrepreneur and an expert in the field of alternative investments, whilst Liz is a marketing and branding consultant who works extensively with new start-up businesses.

Trialling our new hybrid working methods, we had contestants pitching in person at the Lab, as well Lab Members streaming live on video, projected on a big screen – thanks to Ingenuity Lab alumni, Alex Wilkinson Media.

Previous winner Olivia Swift gives the entrants some tips before the competition

The six shortlisted finalists were:

Ikra Mahmood – Editorium
Tom Sproull – Cove Clothing
Mohamed Manacer – Esperanto Learning Technologies
Rotimi Soyombo – Cotta
Trelawny Mckenzie – Hobistry
Bashaier Zaki – Air Pressure Earbuds

The overall winner was Tom Sproull, who took home the top prize of £1000. Tom wowed the judges with his confident presentation for his sustainable clothing business, Cove Clothing. Through the use of recycled materials, biodegradable packaging and a commitment to plant 10 trees per sale, Tom strives to create high-quality, sustainable casual clothing that doesn’t harm the environment. Watch his elevator pitch below:

“Thank you to everyone at the Lab for such a great competition,” said Tom. “It was so much fun to be a part of Pitch to Win and I can’t believe I managed to win!”

The judges also loved Rotimi Soyombo’s pitch for his business Cotta, who was runner-up in the competition. Cotta are on a mission to amplify black stories in visual media and to carve out a space for black photographers in the creator economy.

Third place went to Trelawny Mckenzie for her Hobistry pitch, whilst Bashaier Zaki won the People’s Choice Award.

Bashaier finds out she has won the People’s Vote

“We’re so busy with our careers that when people ask what we do in our free time, we struggle to find an answer,” said Trelawny, going on to explain why she created Hobistry, providing home activity kits for people wanting to find a new hobby.

“Combining the online experience of 2020 and the face-to-face transition of 2021 for Pitch to Win-LIVE was a great feat, and our Lab members are certainly worth it,” said Ingenuity Lab Manager, Dr Terri Holloway. “A massive congratulations to all our worthy winners and participants! On behalf of the HGI team, we are so proud of you!”

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