Toucan are incredibly excited to be supporting the NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition and are looking forward to seeing the entrepreneurial talent that the competition discovers. It is vastly important to promote entrepreneurial spirit within colleges and universities, especially as the UK job market is tougher than ever (thank you Brexit). Toucan supports the growth of creative businesses in the food and beverage, retail and lifestyle sectors. We support entrepreneurs by offering them long-term business support and connecting them with the mentors, gurus, partners and investment partners in our Toucan ecosystem. As enthusiastic supporters of entrepreneurialism, we are wholeheartedly behind NACUE’s hunt to find the best student and graduate business ideas. We are therefore thrilled that Toucan CEO, Rasha Khawaja, could offer her support and entrepreneurial wisdom by being one of the judges for the Varsity Pitch competition. Toucan also anticipate future collaboration with NACUE on similar specialised events in the very near future, so just watch this space. The stages of the Varsity Pitch competition will provide invaluable training for aspiring entrepreneurs. Successful video pitchers will learn from the very best at the Varsity Pitch Bootcamp, with the impressive line up of mentors – people who have been there, done that and got the whole wardrobe (never mind just the T-shirt), providing the opportunity for entrepreneurs to hone their pitching skills. This is, of course, beneficial for the grand final on the 15th November, but also a necessary skill for entrepreneurs to master before going out for investment, in the future. The diversity of the categories is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of the competition. Whether you have invented an umbrella with holes in it or a Game of Thrones bread stamp, there is a category for you. Whilst we are positively enthralled to see what each category has to offer, we can’t deny our greatest excitement for the creative and design category. Least of all, creativity and design are in line with our sector focuses, but mostly in the words of Albert Einstein: ‘creativity is intelligence having fun’. Rasha is looking for entrants to the competition who are passionate founders, with a realistic outlook on their business, who have conducted high levels of market research that suggests their is an opening in the current market. We want to wish all the entrants the best of luck and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.
The difference we make
Stephanie Hodgson, Former Head of Product at Motus Innovation, Varsity Pitch Winner 2017
Varsity Pitch is the only competition I have entered where feedback is provided throughout - even to teams that are eliminated. This is excellent! It was so well organised - very impressive. The organisers responded promptly to emails and communicated very well with participants throughout the process.
Jack Cornes & Harry Smith, HausBots , Varsity Pitch Finalist 2017
Thanks for the exposure you gave us to mentors and business professionals. Everyone provided great insight to us and it's always amazing talking to others about your business and challenging us
Ryan Robinson, Co-Founder AEROPOWDER, Varsity Pitch Winner 2016
Winning the Varsity Pitch Competition was definitely a highlight. The prize has been invaluable in allowing AEROPOWDER to continue its product development work. If we could give any advice to anyone out there, it’s to make sure you go for it! Pitching in front of such an experienced panel is always a great experience, no matter the outcome. We are extremely grateful to NACUE and Tata for the opportunity to take our company further and try to make a real difference.
Peter Spence, Varsity Pitch Winner 2015
It was an invaluable opportunity to meet and compare experiences with other start-ups, refine and practise our pitch and meet high-profile judges and mentors.