North East Seeks Bright Lights at Funding Pitch Test

A once-in-a-career opportunity to get in front of a roomful of wealthy London-based angel investors awaits North East businesses who pass a novel pitching test.

Organisers of new investment programme FinanceCamp North East have announced details of Pitch Black, staged at the end of their 21st June event to put new pitching skills straight into action.

Entrepreneurs taking part will be given just three minutes to win over a panel of three judges and the audience with their business pitch. Fail to make an impression within the allocated time and they will be plunged into darkness.

Anyone passing the Pitch Black standard will automatically qualify to attend a special meeting of heavy-weight angel investors in London who have been primed by UK Business Angels Association and are actively seeking North East companies in which to invest.

Simon Green, Executive Director of Venturefest North East which organises FinanceCamp, said: “Pitch Black is designed as an exhilarating way to immediately put into practice the pitching skills of delegates who will have spent time perfecting their techniques.

“The test will come at the end of an inspiring day that’s dedicated to giving businesses all of the tools and knowledge they need to get hold of money to grow.

“The impending darkness certainly adds an element of drama but by this point in proceedings our businesses will be more than capable of impressing the audience before lights out!”

Carole White, Chief Executive at TEDCO, which has partnered with Venturefest to develop Pitch Black, added: “What we are offering businesses is a unique opportunity to effectively leapfrog the usual route to investment by brokering introductions with key individuals who can finance their ambitions and support their plans.”

One pitch will be chosen as the strongest by a panel of three judges:

• Michael Blakey, serial angel investor, Founder of Avonmore Developments and UK Business Angel Association Angel of the Year 2015/16

• Andy Fishburn, Head of Investment at Virgin Start Up Рa not-for-profit Virgin Company, established by Sir Richard Branson to provide funding, advice and mentoring to early stage entrepreneurs in the UK

• Bill Hartshorne, Business Advisor for TEDCO Business Support and a former business banker who has a particular focus on helping new business starts with growth ambition.

A second pitch will be selected by the audience as The People’s Choice. In addition to attending the London pitch, both winners will secure first class travel to Virgin Headquarters in London to meet key members of staff from Virgin Group who will spend time reviewing their plans and sharing knowledge on how to make them fly.

FinanceCamp is all about making it easier and speedier for businesses of all sizes to get access to the money they need to grow and the initiative is now open for applications.

Expert advisers will work with each participant to explain all of the finance routes open to them, weigh up what fits their plans best and prepare their proposition to make it as attractive as possible to investors. Once they are fully prepared, businesses will then be introduced to a range of potential funders at an exciting event on 21st June 2016 at Ramside Hall, Durham.

FinanceCamp has been developed by the team behind the region’s annual innovation conference Venturefest North East, with backing from the North East LEP, North East Finance, the North East BIC and Innovate UK.

This initiative is part of a wider programme being developed with around 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. Led by the Venturefest North East team, the programme is supported by Innovate UK and the North East LEP and North East BIC, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information and to apply for FinanceCamp North East visit financecamp.co.uk

By UKBAA 16 May 2016