Top 30 entrepreneurs make the cut in major small business contest

Published October 15, 2014

A technology business that encourages children to be zookeepers, an innovative new bike security light and a business that prints advertising on coffee cups are among the 30 small firms that have made it to the final stage of one of the UK’s longest running entrepreneurial competitions.

The businesses have been shortlisted in The Pitch 2014, a seven-year-old nationwide contest presented by and UK Business Forums in association with AVG.

The lucky 30 have made it to The Pitch 2014 Final in Bristol on 23 October, for which audience tickets cost only £10, after taking part in one of two boot camps in London and Manchester where they received training in digital marketing, online branding, financial management and pitching.

After presenting for 90 seconds and submitting homework based on what they had learnt, 30 entrepreneurs were selected from the 100 who took part.

Among them are Josh Davidson, founder of Night Zookeeper, which aims to turn children from consumers of digital media into creators through a magical and inspirational brand where children discover and create imaginative animals.

Also pitching is Ian LeBruce from Cappuccino Ads which prints portable advertising on environmentally friendly takeaway coffee cups, and Lucy Lynn-Evans from Veglo, a company that is revolutionising personal safety illumination for cyclists after successfully raising money on Kickstarter and securing 700 pre-orders.

The full list of contestants is at

The 30 pitchers will feature as part of an 11-hour entrepreneurial extravaganza taking place in Bristol on 23 October.

Entrepreneurs including Karen Darby and Lara Morgan who have sold companies for millions will be judging the contestants, while Judith Bitterli, chief marketing officer at AVG, who has started and grown three of her own successful technology companies, will be flying over from the US to join the judging panel to decide who should win business support worth thousands of pounds.

Also taking place will be a Q&A panel featuring Mark Pearson, founder of , which he sold in August for £55m, Andrew Mulvenna, who recently raised £6m for his Bristol and San Fransisco-based company Brightpearl, and Jennifer Duthie, founder of Skribbies, a finalist in The Pitch 2013 who secured investment on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den earlier this year for her business which sells customisable children’s shoes.

In addition, the final will feature an on stage interview with entrepreneur-turned-Bristol elected mayor George Ferguson and an energizing group training session from business speaker Richard Wyatt-Haines.

Tickets for The Pitch 2014 Final costing just £10, including food and drink throughout the day, are available at

The Pitch 2014 is also supported by ICAEW, Constant Contact, .uk, Microsoft Devices and Xero.