By Noor Hassan, RIC Centre’s Communications Officer
Pitch competitions are an often underrated source of financing for entrepreneurs. Why? Since only a limited number of prizes are available, they may be more trouble than they are worth. But what entrepreneurs often disregard are the several other benefits that pitch competitions can afford them simply by virtue of being a participant, regardless of whether they win or not:
- Build your confidence: “Practice makes perfect.” Pitch competitions let you present your startup in a real, competitive, and high-stakes environment. It’s not just the practice that will build your confidence, but the valuable feedback from the judges will allow you to perfect your pitch and be more comfortable presenting it in the future.
- Expand your network: Pitch competitions are not only good for pitching; they allow you to network. Having a strong network is one of the keys to startup success and such competitions give you the perfect platform to develop that network.
- Gain exposure: Startups struggle with getting attention and gaining traction in their industry. Pitch competitions are the perfect avenue for you to make your startup known to a community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. And since mostly there is media coverage and the organization hosting the competition is doing its own promotions, it’s essentially free publicity for your startup to catch someone’s eye.
- Refine your idea: Your business idea is the heart and soul of your startup. Use pitch competitions to conduct informal market research. You can meet potential customers and present them with your product to gain important feedback from your target market.
Of course, if you end up winning, that is surely a cherry on the top of the cake. But at the same time, it’s important to realize that pitching and winning funds is not all there is to pitch competitions. While “pitch competitions” are promoted and even named to focus on their pitching opportunities, entrepreneurs should be able to look at the benefits they provide above and beyond the funding to fully capitalize on their potential.
Andrew White, CEO of Char Technologies and RIC Centre’s Incubator tenant, has participated, and won, many pitch competitions and says, “Pitching one’s business is at the heart of any start-up. It’s not only the fastest avenue to early-stage financing, but also the quickest and most effective way to iterate and develop your core value proposition. RIC’s pitch competitions gave Char Technologies Inc. an ideal platform from which to be heard and a reliable source of industry-leading feedback from which to learn.”
Are you looking for the funding to kick-start your business? You can apply to the Unlock Your Big Idea Pitch Competition! There are over $60,000 in prizes available for startups like yours!