Welsh entrepreneurial talent on show at small business PitchIt

Operated in partnership with BeTheSpark and Inspire Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan’s Centre for Entrepreneurship hosted the first ever Pitch It Wales Event in October.

An audience of over 120 guests from across all BeTheSpark's five stakeholder groups, academia, risk capital, corporate, government and entrepreneurs joined the event to show their support, share invaluable business expertise and highlight the importance of creating a visible, simple and connected entrepreneurial ecosystem within Wales.

Pitching time!

The unique event facilitated six of Wales' most innovative entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business live to an esteemed panel of judges made up of investors from the Inspire Wales consortium.

The judging panel consisted of Hayley Parsons, founder and former chief executive of Gocompare.com; Ashley Cooper, co-founder and Director of Catalyst Growth Partners, an organisation that works with innovative businesses;  Simon Powell, former director of Holiday Express; Huw Morgan, a former head of business banking for HSBC UK; Matt Wakerley, founder of Clarius Finance, a chartered Accountancy Practice; Roger Gambrini, founder of Abacus Office Equipment, which when sold was the largest independent company of its kind in Wales; Miles Morgan, Managing director of Miles Morgan Travel; Jon Baldwin Managing Director or Wye River Holdings, which works with technology start-ups and Steve Dalton, Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre’s transformation and revitalisation programme.

Investors agreed two deals during the event worth a total of £100k - Hannah Saunders, Founder and Director of Toddle who succeeded in securing £50k of investment from the panel providing her the capital she needs to accelerate her business growth.

Daniel Shepherd, Founder and Managing Director of CanDo Laundry thrilled the panel with his vision to expand and add more machinery to his thriving business. Dan was successful in receiving £50k worth of equity investment.

In addition, the panel were able to make a positive impact on the businesses of other entrepreneurs.

Whilst James Bryan from Clipr was unsuccessful in securing equity investment from the panel, Simon Powell has arranged to spend time with James to provide mentorship and expertise. Meanwhile, the panel also expressed great interest in both Disberse and Health & Her and have arranged to meet with Ben Joakim and Kate Bache separately following the event.

Commenting on the event, Hayley Parsons said "Congratulations to all six businesses who made it to the final of Pitch It Wales. The panel witnessed a high calibre of pitching and entrepreneurial talent during the event. Being involved was a thrilling opportunity to exercise my passion for entrepreneurship and investment within the Welsh entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The panel has invited Four Minutes to come back to them once their business has developed further.

Wider Scope

Steve Aicheler, Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager at Cardiff Metropolitan University said "Cardiff Metropolitan University is proud of its record in supporting and working with Welsh businesses.

Our Centre for Entrepreneurship drives a variety of events and projects throughout the year to inspire a new generation of students to follow their business aspirations.

Hosting Pitch It has been a fantastic opportunity for our students - enabling them to develop critical business skills and connect with great role models.

We are delighted to support this fantastic event and are always looking to develop similar partnerships with business, investors and the other stakeholders who make up the Welsh entrepreneurial ecosystem."

Matt Wakerley, Fund Manager for Inspire Wales added - "Pitch It Wales was designed to make the investment landscape more accessible to SME's in Wales. Innovation-driven entrepreneurship is imperative to the fund and we hold great importance on supporting Welsh entrepreneurs as they are the wealth creators of our economy.”

He added, “This was a unique opportunity for our panel to support SME's to increase their business growth within Wales by providing not only immediate equity investment but their skills and expertise.

We hope this event is the first of many as we continue to play our part and foster BeTheSpark's vision of creating a more visible, simple and connected ecosystem within Wales".

Steve Aicheler – Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager
Sebastian Walker – Office for Enterprise at Cardiff School of Management