Passion, Pitch and Purpose - The south London based business competition smashing barriers to start-up funding.
On Friday 19th November at Southwark Council offices, the first Passion, Pitch and Purpose competition finals were held, where six aspiring entrepreneurs and start up businesses battled to win three cash prizes of £1,000, £500 and £250 to develop or establish their businesses, in front of a judging panel consisting of local South London entrepreneurs.
The Passion, Pitch and Purpose competition is a unique South London focused competition open to businesses less than three years old, and to aspiring entrepreneurs at the early stage of their business idea with a focus on those from underrepresented backgrounds who require funding to further develop or start their businesses. The competition is the brainchild of Jacy Stewart, a South London based business owner of For Business Sake, and a social impact and investment consultant. She came up with the idea because she was concerned about the barriers to financial resources for entrepreneurs, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds such as ethnic minorities, women and those with disabilities. Supported by an enthusiastic team of business information advisors from Croydon, Lewisham and Southwark libraries, the competition consisted of over 30 entrants completing an application form, attending pitch training to help them develop their pitches, delivering their pitches over a zoom to a judging panel, with six competitors making it to the finals. A central part of the competition involved the entrants completing The Passionpreneur Handbook, developed by Jacy Stewart which helps aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners go through the key aspects of running a businesses e.g. understanding why you are setting up a business, how you will market it, target market and financials etc. to help the competitors structure their pitches but also delve deeper into the bones of their business which they may not have done before. Jacy Stewart describes the Passionpreneur handbook as being "like a mini business plan that helps you get all the ideas about how to start or run a business from out of your head and down on paper (in one small notebook), in which the competition enabled competitors to effectively communicate: Passion, Product/Services, Marketing and Customers in relation to their business idea or actual business. Aisha Jade, founder of Carisips Ltd won the competition taking 1st place and received £1000. Letisha Larmond, founder of Frooted Ltd came second place and won £500, and Ola Olupona an aspiring entrepreneur and founder of House of Ola came third place and won £250. The winner Aisha Jade said that "Passion, Purpose & Pitch was the second time that month that I'd pitched and won, so I'm happy to see that I am making progress and doing something right with my business, Carisips. There was a lot of support throughout the process, any questions I had were answered. The money will help support a range of events that I am hosting next year and also branded banners. The judges provided great feedback, were encouraging and I'm happy to now be connected with them. I look forward to the future of Carisips, and I am so happy that I got the opportunity to participate in a competition that I believe small businesses like mine need". Sophie White from Croydon Libraries who played a significant role in the planning and administration of the competition, along with Mark Berbeck from Lewisham Libraries and Dean Williams from Southwark Libraries found the competition "to be incredibly inspirational, it was fantastic to see so many start-ups take part and there were so many fantastic business ideas" and hopes "that the competition will grow and be able to support more entrepreneurs in the future".