Bristol startups among 100 entrepreneurs shortlisted by Britain's biggest business contest
Three Bristol-based small businesses are included in 100 of Britain's best small companies selected to attend intensive business boot camps and compete to win support worth thousands of pounds.
Founded in Bristol in 2008, the nationwide competition rewards and celebrates the UK’s entrepreneurs.
Among those selected is Wriggle, a Bristol-based app which provides on-the-day offers at local bars, restaurants and other venues which helps businesses fill unsold deals.
Founded by Robert Hall, the company recently raised £128,000 investment through crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
Also on the list is Grow Bristol, a new urban farming enterprise set up by Dermot O’Regan that aims to develop innovative and sustainable ways of growing food in the city for the benefit of all its inhabitants and the wider world.
The third Bristol-based business chosen is Talking Men’s Shoes, a video blog run by Fiona Wyatt that’s aimed at the men’s shoe industry.
Detailed profiles for the three businesses are online at:
The three companies are among 100 businesses picked to attend one of two training boot camps in London and Manchester in September.
From those, 30 will be selected to compete at the final at Paintworks in Bristol in October where the overall champion will win the massive package of business support prizes including mentoring, technology, global business lounge access and PR consultancy.
The shortlisted firms, all trading for less than three years with some not yet trading, are from across the UK and come from as far north as Aberdeen, all the way down to Newquay. The industries they represent range from retail and technology, to consumer goods and manufacturing.
The businesses collectively turn over £4.3m and employ more than 110 people. 58% of the founders are male and 42% are female.
The top region for contestants is London, home to 27% of the entrepreneurs.
That’s followed by the North West at 22%, Scotland at 12%, West Midlands at 7%, South East at 7%, South West at 6%, Yorkshire at 6%, Wales at 4%, East Midlands at 3%, North East at 2%, East at 2%, Northern Ireland at 1% and South at 1%.
All the companies are also competing for votes in The Pitch 2014 Digital Marketing Award supported by Constant Contact.
Dan Martin, founder of The Pitch and editor of BusinessZone.co.uk, says: “I’m overwhelmed by the quality of the entrepreneurial talent in our top 100 shortlist. They really are a great representation of the fantastic business ingenuity that the UK has to offer!
“We created the boot camps as a direct result of contestant feedback last year, and they offer a money-can’t-buy opportunity for our contestants to get amazing business training from some of the best experts available. I wish all 100 business owners the very best of luck.”
At The Pitch 2014 Boot Camps, in London on 4 September and Manchester on 18 September, the 100 contestants will be given the chance to hone their pitching, marketing, sales, finance and branding skills.
Among the trainers are pitching coach Annette Kramer, who has helped entrepreneurs secure investment on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and AVG’s Mike Byrne, who will teach the contestants how to give traditional sales techniques a 21st century makeover.
Other training sessions include finessing your finances with Clive Lewis from ICAEW, and a guide to engagement marketing led by Constant Contact’s Tamsin Fox-Davies. Becky Bradburn, from the UK Domain Portfolio at Nominet, will also be on hand for a drop-in online brand clinic, and experts from accounting software company Xero will offer advice.
At the end of each boot camp the entrepreneurs will pitch for 90 seconds. From those pitches and follow-up tasks, a team of judges will select 30 businesses to go through to the final in October.
The judges, who will also judge the final, include Judith Bitterli, serial entrepreneur and chief marketing officer at AVG; Karen Darby, serial social entrepreneur and founder of CrowdMission.com and Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct and Company Shortcuts.
The prizes include a year’s free mentoring from Karen Darby, online business security services from AVG, 12 months free access to business lounges around the world, free taxi travel, a Nokia Lumia tablet, web design advice, and PR consultancy. All attendees will also have access to investors.