I have to start this blog post by saying that we were extremely nervous and worried by pitching our idea to successful professionals and experienced judges. We started to question the potential of our idea in the lead-up to this event but after some pep talk we managed to get our heads together and go through this as a team.
Bright Ideas is a pitching competition organised by Kingston University each year to showcase the entrepreneurial abilities of its students. After spending the week practicing our 3 minute pitch and working on the branding and marketing aspects of our business, we felt that we were ready to pitch all of our efforts to the judges. The pitch and Q/A went very well, with even some suggestions on how to take HugBuddy forward from one judge and we ended up winning our category as a result. The £1000 we won were a testament to the quality and potential of our business and suddenly all the doubt we had about HugBuddy was squashed. I myself believed that our business had the potential of scaling beyond a university project but I was not sure if my team shared the same feeling.
My classmates probably see me as a confident guy. However, when it comes to presentations and pitches, I am the first one to be nervous and anxious. It is something that I have struggled with my whole life and in high school I used to panic and block whenever I had to present in front of the class. I worked on that weakness and fortunately I learned how I can at least cover-up that anxiety. Although I have to say that holding the HugBuddy in my hands while presenting was a major reason I got over the anxiety!
One key takeaway from this experience was that we must be more enthusiastic in the way we pitch. We got that bit of criticism from the judges and we plan on being more enthusiastic while pitching in the future. It is a difficult thing to do when you have so much information to remember but it is an essential part of pitching and it is in my list of priorities to work on.
Bright Ideas gave us the opportunity to perfect our pitch, to think quickly under pressure, to showcase our MVPs to professional judges and to brag about our win to the whole class. After the pitching was done, there was a small event in the Business School Atrium that allowed us to network with students from other disciplines as well as the judges. I am learning that networking is an essential part of business growth. It is an opportunity to find new partners, investors, keep an eye on trends and keep close to the competition. Although this was a small networking event, it is never a bad idea to practice your skills for future big events.
I am glad that this competition went the way it did for us and I’m excited to share this experience on my LinkedIn and other professional profiles.