"While you’re not guaranteed to walk away with one of the top prizes – cash or otherwise – there are many intrinsic benefits to participating in a pitch competition, and everyone will get a slice."
WRITTEN BY: CATHERINE RICE
Pitch competitions tend to offer generous cash and prize incentives to participants, but the number of these incentives also tend to be limited. While you’re not guaranteed to walk away with one of the top prizes – cash or otherwise – there are many intrinsic benefits to participating in a pitch competition, and everyone will get a slice. Consider these benefits next time the opportunity to pitch your business comes your way:
Put your business in the limelight
All businesses need exposure to gain traction. Pitching your business at a pitch competition can expose you and your business to a room full of potential customers, entrepreneurs in your business community, media and investors. It’s also very likely the competition host will share details of each pitch on its social media channels; be sure to engage.
Make new connections
Making new connections and continuously expanding your professional network can lead to extraordinary opportunities for you and your business down the line. The room will be full of like-minded, ambitious professionals with a variety of expertise and experience; use this opportunity to interact with them to your full advantage. Ask lots of questions and listen carefully and openly to the answers.
Practice your pitch
In most cases, the more you do something, the better you get at it. Pitching your business applies here. With insightful feedback from judges, and sometimes from the audience, you can make favourable adjustments to your pitch not only for future competitions, but also for real life opportunities to sell your business idea to investors and customers. With each constructive change, you become one pitch closer to delivering your perfect pitch.
Connect with business advisors
Before some pitch competitions – once you’ve been accepted as a participant – you will be required to meet with experienced business advisors. This requirement places in you close contact with knowledgeable and experienced business advisors that can both help you deliver your pitch for optimal results, and potentially help you refine your business idea for greater success.
It’s not surprising many entrepreneurs will enter pitch competitions just for the cash prizes, but don’t lose sight of other valuable incentives. Merely participating in a pitch competition can yield all the benefits listed above, and more. Next time you enter a pitch competition, keep this list close by and prepare to take full advantage of the experience.
Catherine Rice is the Outreach & Communications Coordinator at Innovate Niagara, a not-for-profit private corporation that connects innovators to the people and programs required to bring their innovations to market through a suite of in-house programs, resource partners, and network of incubation facilities.
This article originally appeared in Business Link Niagara.