Pitching to succeed
Since its launch in February, the team behind the Science Park’s spring Catalyst programme have been pouring over applications from entrepreneurs across the region. Some 150 applications were received for the next programme commencing this spring. From these, 50 were judged to have the highest potential and were invited to attend Catalyst introductory days on 26th and 27th March.
Following presentations by Catalyst founder Peter Birkett and SETsquared’s David Bream, Angus Webb of Dynamon shared his business journey to date. He spoke about how the Catalyst mentors had helped him, as a sole business founder, to navigate ways through the stressful elements of building his business from R&D and intellectual property protection through to securing investment, building a team and moving to market. He commented: “One thing that really helped was being here at the Science Park. Not only is the physical environment adaptive to growing businesses’ needs but everyone here is on a similar journey so you can learn from others while building relationships and credibility.”
During the afternoon sessions, the budding entrepreneurs hoping to follow in Angus’s footsteps were given 15 minutes to pitch their proposition and field questions from a judging panel. A vast range of ideas were presented over the two days spanning both consumer and business markets and covering everything from disability access to recruitment, foster care to kitesurfing, and wine to fashion.
One attendee, Kedar Deshpande, spoke about his motivation for applying to the programme. He said: “As a start-up, every day is a challenge – you never know what’s going to happen. There’s a huge journey ahead from start-up to IPO so you need someone to guide you through this.”
Another, Paul Samuel, commented that the day had been “informative, inspirational and represented an unusually altruistic opportunity for start-up businesses.”
Phil Sharpe, Catalyst mentor and a member of the judging panel, summed up the journey ahead for the ten business founders who will join the Catalyst programme in April. “All business is an experiment. There are no guaranteed solutions – you simply have to work at it,” he said.