A former participant of Aston Programme for Small Business growth, delivered by Aston Centre for Growth, was voted the winner of the eighth Minerva Pitch Up competition at Venturefest West Midlands annual festival in Birmingham.
Venturefest offers West Midlands entrepreneurs and innovators a unique opportunity to develop and grow their businesses by meeting with potential investors and other cutting-edge companies.
Around 60 companies, in a variety of sectors and stages, had the opportunity to learn about what attracts investors and to refine their own pitching skills before six were chosen to compete for the Best Pitch Award at Eastside Rooms in the city.
The event also saw the final of the eighth Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up competition, a Dragon’s Den-style contest run by Aston University, University of Warwick and University of Birmingham. 70 businesses battled it out over the last three months, before the finalists had the opportunity of pitching to a panel of judges on the day.
An audience of more than 500 entrepreneurs, innovators and investors voted Kameese Davis, a hair care entrepreneur, the winner of this year’s competition, which traditionally closes the annual festival.
Kameese’s business, Nylah Hair, Heritage and Science, specialises in providing quality products for afro and curly hair care.
She pitched her proposition for investment in a head-to-head contest in front of the Venturefest audience at the city centre’s Eastside Rooms, who then voted her the winner.
“Winning the Birmingham Minerva Pitch Up means so much to me. It’s given me a massive confidence boost in terms of the product and brand being an attractive proposition for investors.
“It has also given me the opportunity to speak and engage directly with people who are interested in helping the brand to scale up and maximize its full potential.
“The Venturefest festival as a whole is fantastic for giving you the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs and share good ways of working because the experience of an entrepreneur can sometimes be quite lonely.”
Kate Angel, head of business support operations at Aston Centre for Growth, said:
“Minerva Birmingham Pitch Up provides an excellent free-of-charge opportunity for businesses across the region to connect and access support with perfecting a suitable finance pitch.
“We provide workshops, practice pitches and feedback from expert panels of investors and industry leaders as part of the event which is open to all companies seeking investment or looking to grow.”
Tracy Sherratt, from British Business Bank which sponsored the event, said:
“The British Business Bank is proud to have supported such a great event.
“The quality of the pitches, and the strong numbers attending this showcase of the business talent we have here in the West Midlands is really promising for the future.”
Max Slinger, one of the panellists and venture capital investor at Mercia Asset Management PLC, said:
“Pitch Up provides a fantastic opportunity for early stage SMEs across the region to connect with the ecosystem of people who can support their business growth, all in one place.
“Supporting this competition as a pitching panellist has been a highlight of my year so far, and it’s been great to hear such engaging pitches from companies with ambition to scale.”