What does it take to be Pitch Perfect?


Published on: 17/07/2017

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Cakes, candles, T-shirts, comedy action and a rabbit hutch were pitched to a panel as part of a recent "Pitch and Invest" event. Five Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students pitched to nine business experts in June at Chelmsford College as part of the Pitch and Invest event. The students taking part were: Jed Brailey, Sian Moynihan, Jack Pendleton, James Popps and Lauren Sweeney. As part of their pitch, students could ask for support with their business or cash investments. All students chose to ask for business support.

Business ideas pitched included a street wear clothing brand, bake your own gluten-free subscription boxes, hand crafted candles, a production company creating cinematic action comedy and bespoke animal hutches and homes. The students had had just six weeks to work on their ideas and prepare their presentations.

As a result of the event the students received several offers of support ranging from help with marketing and packaging to offers of mentorship and idea development.

The Pitch and Invest event involved the students pitching their ideas to potential investors - helping them gain confidence in presentation and communication skills. Pitches lasted 5 minutes, with a maximum of 10 minutes allocated to Questions and Answers afterwards.

George Fox, a Chelmsford College student, was on the panel, having pitched in person to Peter Jones as a finalist in the National Entrepreneur of the Year Award and winning "Highly Commended" as a result. George said "I think they've done really well. I know how scary it can feel pitching!"

Professor Gary Packham, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean; Professor of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School said "James and Sian were very strong candidates in terms of the work they've done so far and Jack and Jed were really charismatic", urging students to remember "…it's not just about your product or service. People invest in you."

Danielle Putt, Business Innovation and Sector Development Officer at Essex County Council said "Lauren is very well organised and could have a strong position in her marketplace."

On Sian's gluten-free backing subscription box, Danielle said "This is a very innovative idea. The concept is great! There is a lot of potential for further development."

Mike Smith - Senior Inward Investment, Economy and Growth Officer at Chelmsford City Council said "Jack's idea was an intriguing opportunity and out of all of the ideas presented contained the least investment required" suggesting, "Jack could use feedback from technophobes to help identify what needs to be done and to break things down." Mike recommended the students sought further support for their ideas from the Best Growth Hub, adding they could access information on grants, mentorship and a free series of business workshops.

Students were also encouraged to take advantage of the new Essex Young Entrepreneurs Network which launched at the end of June.

Claire Wood, Business Lecturer at Chelmsford College says: "I am so incredibly proud of our students who have pitched their business ideas to our panel of industry experts today. They have shown utter dedication to their business ideas throughout this process, and very much promote the Foundation's ethos of ‘learning by doing'. I wish them all the best of luck in developing their ideas from this point forward."

David Fox, MD of Display System Fabrication Ltd says: "Young Entrepreneurs assist our country's future. Senior Entrepreneurs should use their years of experiences to help them."

Andy Sparks, Principal of Chelmsford College says: "This event is a fantastic opportunity for our Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students to share their ideas with the business community. The students have worked extremely hard to prepare for this event. This will be an invaluable experience and is a great example of things we do at the College to help our students become ready for the world of work."

Jed Brailey has created a strong brand of street wear inspired by Supreme.

James Popps sells his animal homes on Facebook and his ultimate ambition is to grow this into owning his own garden nursery.

Lauren Sweeney loves the smell of candles at home and would like to become a household name.

Jack Pendleton's ambition is to create a fully fledged production company co-creating cinematic action comedy.

Sian Moynihan wants to make it easy for people to bake their own gluten-free cakes with handy recipe cards.

Read more about 'Pitch and Invest' HERE

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