Meet this year's Varsity Pitch Competition, Category Sponsors!

Meet this year's Varsity Pitch Competition, Category Sponsors!

The Varsity Pitch Competition wouldn't be able to be the success that it is today without its impressive line-up of sponsors and for this reason we've dedicated this blog to our amazing category sponsors. We will reveal their motivation for getting involved in the competition and you'll also be able to find out what they're looking for in the ideal application.  

How have start-ups and young entrepreneurs influenced or shaped your business/ company/ organisation? 

Tata: Even though Tata is now a $100bn global group, we know that our future depends on innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset. That's why we see our support for young entrepreneurs as a two-way process from which everyone can benefit. 
University of Westminster: Startups and young entrepreneurs are the core users of the program of activities and services we deliver. We are constantly monitoring feedback from students and graduates on whether the support we provide is effective in developing their enterprise skills and or supporting young entrepreneurs to build viable and sustainable businesses. 
Ideas Patch: I started my first business in my early 20's and this experience has shaped my whole career/ work life. Ideas Patch is the vision of some young entrepreneurs combined with the execution from some experienced entrepreneurs. 
NatWest: For us it's the growth mindset, about getting things done, articulating a message in a quick simple way (pitch). Learning from entrepreneurs has helped us design our very own accredited programme to allow our staff to think creatively and differently.  

What are you looking for in an ideal application to the competition?

Tata: Remember, applicants only have 60 seconds in their videos, so it is important to have a clear ?elevator pitch? which sets out the main idea and provides just enough information to intrigue us to find out more. 
When we review the applications for Disruptive Business and Social Impact we look for pitches which show the sort of passion, ambition and direction, investors want to see in a startup. A disruptive business must show how it will make a positive, and unexpected, difference in the market, to the customer. Social impact means that you can show how your business can make the world a better place for the part of society, or the environment, it is aimed at.    
University of Westminster: Strong combinations of creativity and viability. I am pleased that there is a Creative & Design category; creatives are innately innovative and entrepreneurial but often struggle pairing this with viable and sustainable business models. 
Ideas Patch: We are looking for ambitious, game changing ideas that are achievable from a startup. 
NatWest: The idea is one thing but how big of a problem are they trying to solve - fall in love with the problem rather than the solution, have the passion.  

What are you most excited to see in this year's competition? 

Tata: I'm absolutely sure that there will be some brilliant finalists this year as before. I'm sure some will be able to make a real difference in entirely unexpected ways. I know I'll learn something new for myself during the process.  That?s what makes it exciting. 
University of Westminster:  Authentic daring ideas; and inspired and motivated young entrepreneurs! 
NatWest: The passion and enthusiasm, people having great ideas and able to pitch it in a clear way.  

Which industries or trends do you expect to see featured in applications this year? 

University of Westminster: I expect that the majority of applications will focus on tech-enhanced applications or services. However, I do hope to see more design, hardware 'maker' or manufacturing based ideas because not only are they cool but this aligns with upcoming shifts in wider national industry strategies. 
Ideas Patch: Whilst we expect to see information technology highly featured we are also hoping to see 'bricks and mortar' ideas that are really different and creative. 
NatWest: Tech is growing, so for me I expect lots of tech maybe even some AI or block chain related! 

Why did you choose to get involved in the Ideas category for Varsity Pitch Competition? 

Ideas Patch: We believe ideas are the new currency and students are at the right stage of their life development to be open to creating new ideas that can change our lives. 

Tata has been a long-standing supporter of the competition. What trends have you witnessed over the years?  

Tata: We've seen some excellent pitches - not just the winners but many of the finalists and semi-finalists too.  Many of the businesses have gone on, in some form or other, to be really successful. I have a feeling that the standard is improving year-on-year. I'm also genuinely impressed by how many good pitches there are: I have no doubt that there are more inspired and passionate young entrepreneurs in the UK now than when I was their age. 




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