Dell is committed to helping small businesses and in addition to being a founding sponsor of StartUp Britain and supporting recent PopUp Britain and the Student bus tour campaigns, this year we’ve also partnered with The Pitch 2012, the UK’s biggest small business competition.

Great businesses often start with a simple idea and a lot of determination; but there are lots of considerations, from strategy and funding to PR and marketing. Launched by UK B2B publication BusinessZone.co.uk and currently in its fifth year, The Pitch aims to help.

The competition (hosted in association with hibu and also sponsored by Crunch Accounting and ICAEW) offers young businesses the chance to win a prestigious £50,000 prize package, which includes 12 months mentoring with entrepreneur Karen Darby and a host of support services and consultations.

Simply entering The Pitch offered an invaluable experience for business owners as over the course of the competition, specialist advisors offered business development guidance at judging days across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including a special two-day conference. Hundreds of young businesses applied, and four regional finalists were chosen in addition to two wildcard finalists voted in by the public via social media.

 On Friday 16th November, we joined business advisors and specialists to see the six finalists pitch in front of a live crowd and an expert panel of judges at London’s iconic club, The Ministry of Sound.

Each pitch lasted three minutes, with additional time to answer questions from the judges. Judges this year included successful entrepreneur Karen Darby, Crunch accountancy service Founder Darren Fell, Hibu’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Hanscott, and Charles Carter, from the Business Advice Service.

The finalists were: 

  • Jim Shaikh of Yoomi, a company producing self-warming baby bottles
  • Alba McConell of Rio- A Taste of Brazil, a Brazilian cooking sauces range
  • Sam Zawadzki of AdvancetoGO, a website which allows private landlords to advertise their property on the major UK property websites.
  • Shauna McCarney of Heavenly Tasty Organics, a frozen organic baby food range
  • Lee Arromba of Tangible FX, a motion-controlled effects app/gadget manufacturer
  • Richard Conway of Childcare.co.uk, a website helping to match babysitters and families

The entrepreneurs delivered confident pitches and it was clear that they were all eager to gain support to enable them to grow their business. After a tough competition, Sam Zawadzki of AdvancetoGO was crowned winner of ‘The Pitch 2012’, securing the prize package worth £50,000.

As a recent Dell and StartUp Britain survey found that 70% of prospective entrepreneurs feel ‘a laptop’ is the most important piece of equipment to successfully set up a business, Dell also presented each of the six finalists with an award-winning Vostro 3360 laptop, which Microsoft enhanced with a free Windows 8 upgrade.

A perfect, and truly inspiring event to close Global Entrepreneurship Week; all the finalists showed impressive passion, determination and drive. Best of luck to them for the future!

Check out more images from the evening and learn more about The Pitch here.