Serial social entrepreneur Karen Darby, who recently founded crowdfunding platform CrowdMission.com, has supported the competition since 2009 and in 2014, she is contributing a special package of support to up to five finalists running a business with a social mission at its core.
The prize includes crowdfunding, sales, marketing and PR support, business mentoring with Karen, legal advice on IP and patents and a free, professionally filmed pitch video.
Darby, who has 30 years business experience, was inspired to offer the prize after spending the last year mentoring Arthur Kay, co-founder of Bio Bean and overall winner of The Pitch 2013.
Kay’s company turns old coffee grounds into bio diesel and has achieved great success since winning The Pitch last October.
Entrepreneurs interested in winning the prize need to enter The Pitch 2014 by 13 July at www.thepitchuk.com.
Arthur Kay comments: “Karen has a phenomenal mentoring style. She has mentored me and my business partner on both a personal level in terms of what’s in it for us, and in terms of the business itself.
“Her knowledge of how to set up a business, and how to sell into institutions and form commercial partnerships has been completely invaluable for us.”
Dan Martin, editor of BusinessZone.co.uk and founder of The Pitch, adds: “Karen Darby has offered amazing support of The Pitch since 2009 so I’m absolutely delighted that she is offering this special prize to companies with a social focus.
“Many of our entrants over the years have run businesses that aren’t just about profit, but also about making the world a better place. It’s great that we will be rewarding them this year. I urge anyone running a company that fulfils the criteria to get involved.”
To qualify for the prize, entrepreneurs must be running a company that has been trading for less than three years, is limited by shares (or prepared to incorporate as one) and looking to raise between £10,000 and £500,000 equity finance.
Entrepreneurs who don’t fit the social mission criteria can still apply for The Pitch 2014 and compete to win the general prize package worth thousands of pounds.