The Varsity Pitch Competition
The Varsity Pitch Competition provides students at colleges, universities and graduates of up to 5 years the opportunity to pitch their business in order to win mentoring and funding. This competition has provided support and funding for start-ups for the last 7 years and have had exciting start-ups such as Blaze, Bio Bean and Tio amongst its alumni.
To apply, the entrepreneurs must submit a sixty second pitch which highlights their company's market opportunity, financial viability and innovation. From these videos, semi finalists are selected to pitch in person at London's Google Campus to a panel of judges and then a select few are then chosen as finalists. In preparation for the finals of the competition, finalists attend a mentoring boot camp, where their business plans and pitches are examined by mentors with a range of expertise and backgrounds. At the Grand Finals, the finalists have the opportunity to exhibit their businesses to the audience as well as pitching and one company is chosen to be the overall winner.
The competition has been run in close partnership with Tata Limited for several years, with support and guidance from varying category sponsors such as Microsoft and Swiss Re. Since 2015, Lloyds Banking Group have sponsored a People's Choice category which allows applicants from the competition to garner votes from the public in order to support their pitch. The pitch with the highest number of votes is then fast-tracked through to the finals, taking them one step closer to the prize.
The Grand Prize for the Varsity Pitch Competition is £10,000 of equity-free funding for the winning business, as well as mentoring and support from both NACUE and Tata. The winners of the competition are invited to exhibit at several of Tata's prestigious events and benefit from connections and support from a company which has one of the most varied of portfolios in the UK.
The 2016 winner of the competition was AEROPOWDER, a company which recycles waste feathers into reusable and environmentally friendly materials. You can find out more about this year's winner and the other finalists and their businesses here.