Pitchfest: investment readiness offering for UK SMEs

Supporting innovative UK SMEs to develop their investment proposition and get investment ready.
A business woman pitching to investors

Pitchfest supports innovative and ambitious UK SMEs to get investment ready and develop their investor pitch in order to raise finance. 

Applications are closed. We will soon open up for new applications. Sign up here to be the first to hear when.


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What does Pitchfest offer?

  • Two-days of comprehensive pitch training
  • Access to leading pitch and investment experts
  • Bespoke support from a dedicated innovation and growth specialist 
  • An opportunity to build a clear, compelling and credible investment proposition
  • Introductions to active investor networks in your region and across the UK
  • Supercharging your elevator pitch and building a persuasive investor pitch
  • Constructive no-risk feedback from a panel of real investors
Pitchfest graphic. 15 companies per region of the UK will learn how to pitch to investors

Pitchfest in 5 steps

1. Preparation meeting

Once successfully accepted onto Pitchfest at the end of the competitive selection process, you will be allocated an innovation and growth specialist. The preparation meeting is a chance to provide key information to your regional Pitchfest Champion and to your innovation and growth specialist. You will discuss the stages of your investment journey so far and establish your goals through a thorough diagnostic process. 

The aim of your regional Pitchfest Champion will be to provide expert knowledge and support your investment journey.


2. Pitch training day 1 (virtual, full day)

Get an insider's look at what investors are looking for, develop your value proposition, 1-minute elevator pitch and slide deck, boost your presentation skills and find out how to manage investor Q&As. You will need to allocate time to prepare a pitch deck for Training Day 2. 


3. Pitch training day 2 and peer-to-peer pitching (virtual, full day)

After two weeks of fine-tuning, deliver a 5-minute pitch for peer-to-peer and trainer feedback. Discover your ideal investor profile, investment legals, how to build your relationships with an investor, negotiate your valuation, structure deals and fundraise efficiently. Before the Investor session, you will work with your Pitchfest Champion and innovation & growth specialist to strengthen your pitch. 


4. Investor session (virtual, full day)

Pitch for 5 minutes to a panel of angel investors and VCs with a Q&A session and constructive feedback.


5. Ongoing bespoke innovation and growth support

Your innovation and growth specialist will support you with your ongoing funding and finance journey, helping you to fully leverage your completed Pitchfest training.

Depending on your stage, for example, they can help by developing a realistic finance strategy to achieve innovation goals and growth ambitions.

Outside of finance and funding, and depending on your needs, they can provide a host of related support tailored for innovative businesses, ranging from access to technical know-how to exploiting IP and entering new markets.

View the delegate event journey


What are the eligibility criteria for Pitchfest?

Innovate UK EDGE is looking for UK registered, high-growth potential innovative SMEs interested in internationalisation and seeking to raise c. £500k of investment. If you are seeking to raise less, please make a case when describing your investment plan.

Your business will need to be looking to pitch to investors (Business Angel / Venture Capital finance), with a minimum of £100k in turnover / sales pipeline / route to market secured.

SMEs can have up to 500 staff (unless in Northern Ireland, when the limit is 250).


How to apply for Pitchfest

To submit your application, please select your region below and click ‘Apply here’. If the link for your region isn’t available yet, sign up to our newsletter to hear when it is.

It is possible to apply for a region were you are not based if you face genuine difficulty attending the dates for your home region.

Pitchfest is highly competitive. Applications are assessed by a panel of experts and only 15 will be successful in each region.

Read the eligibility criteria carefully to ensure your business can apply and answer as fully as you can. 

Please note that all stages of Pitchfest are mandatory to attend and only one representative per company can attend. It must be the same one company representative each time.


Pitchfest 2021-2022 dates and locations 

If you have an innovative offering to pitch to investors and your product or service has an international market - Pitchfest is for you!

Applications are closed. We will soon open up for new applications. Sign up here to be the first to hear when.


Sign up to our email alert



Pitchfest: past sessions


Application deadline: 7 January 2021 

East of England

Applications deadline: 15 January 2021

North of England

Applications deadline: 11 March 2021


Applications deadline: 11 March 2021

South West of England

Applications deadline: 23 March 2021


Applications deadline: 1 April 2021

South East of England

Applications deadline: 27 April 2021


Have a question about Pitchfest?

We are happy to help. Email our organising team at pitchfest@innovateukedge.ukri.org


Delegate event journey

The Pitchfest process

Pitchfest Expert Trainer & Regional Pitchfest Champions

Ian Tracey Pitchfest Lead Trainer

Ian Tracey

Pitchfest Lead Trainer

Highly experienced pitch trainer, Ian has supported the Pitchfest offering for the last three years to help companies pitch prospective customers, grant providers and investors. He was the former Head of Access to Funding & Finance at Knowledge Transfer Network, developing strategies to assist innovative companies through the application and raising of finance.

Iain Edwards

Iain Edwards

North Pitchfest Champion

Iain is a specialist in the northern region with extensive experience of helping business raise capital. He works to prepare businesses, whether early stage, scaling or growing, then engaging those businesses with appropriate investors. The investors might be angels or funds administered by VC’s, private equity, family offices, corporate venturing and also corporate financiers. With a network across the UK, there have been notable successes, not least, finalists and candidates from last year’s Pitchfest.

Torquil Goodwin

Torquil Goodwin

Pitchfest Champion Midlands

Based out of Coventry, Torquil supports businesses across the whole of the Midlands region on a range of innovation and growth issues including investment options and finance. Prior to joining the Innovate UK EDGE team, Torquil was a successful General Manager for a number of multi-national blue-chip organisations including private equity backed ventures. His background in business growth investment, acquisitions and consolidation has given him invaluable experience in the drivers of success for these ventures, both from an operational and strategic standpoint.

Ed Tellwright

Ed Tellwright 

Pitchfest Champion South West 

Ed is our lead Access to Finance specialist in the region, helping businesses raise early stage finance. He has helped businesses across the region access private angel finance since joining the most successful angel network in the South West in 2013. Whilst there he helped businesses raise in excess of £70M.

Heather Abrahams

Heather Abrahams

Pitchfest Champion Wales

Heather has over 25 years’ experience in senior roles including Client Development Consultant, Commercial Bank Manager, Regional Business Development Manager, Account Director, Programme Director and Investment Executive. Her current role as Scaleup Director/Innovation & Growth Advisor for Innovate UK EDGE, Heather helps businesses to overcome the challenges of raising investment to grow their business. Heather has assisted many SMEs to access a range of funding including debt, angel, mezzanine and equity, and understands the challenges involved and she is ideally placed to assist companies to successfully pitch for and secure investment.

Jakub Rakoczy

Jakub Rakoczy

Pitchfest Champion South East of England

Jakub is a Senior Innovation Adviser helping companies become investment ready, provide guidance on accessing grants and protecting intellectual property rights. He is based and working in Hampshire actively supporting companies in the area of IP & accessing R&D funding.

Dugald Carlean

Dugald Carlean

Pitchfest Champion London

Dugald is an Innovation Adviser, helping SMEs to start-up, grow and scale through expert advice and support. He is a legally trained equity capital markets Corporate Finance specialist with a track record of advising the UK small/mid-market across varied industries. An unashamed generalist, Dugald has worked for numerous small cap specialists in London on multiple capital market transactions including IPO's, RTO's, Equity Funding and M&A.

Kirsten Masson

Kirsten Masson

Pitchfest Champion East of England

Co-founder of the Pitchfest offering, Kirsten has supported over 40 companies to raise investment in excess of £50m Senior Innovation Adviser. She has 25+ years’ experience supporting innovation-led businesses with commercialisation and growth, and has managed regional loan and grant funds for innovative SMEs.