The Pitch 2010 South East heat champion Ben Atkinson-Willes, founder of Active Minds and inventor of a series of games and puzzles for people in long term care, impressed a panel of expert judges and beat off stiff challenges from five other grand finalists to claim the title of Britain’s Best New Business, and a prize package worth £50,000.
Atkinson-Willes, from Andover in Hampshire, said that during his grandfather’s illness, he was dismayed to find that there was nothing on the market specifically designed for dementia care patients, meaning they often ended up struggling to complete children’s puzzles or colouring books.
Ben Atkinson-Willes said: “It’s been amazing. The build-up was almost too much, but I’m really happy to be the winner. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my business. It’s been fantastic.”
The Pitch 2010 grand final, organised by SME advice website BusinessZone.co.uk, in association with leading marketing solutions business, Yell and sponsored by Sage, was held at the Institute of Directors on Pall Mall, central London as part of a day conference which included speakers including former TV Dragon Doug Richard.
The judging panel was Dragons’ Den Online judge Julie Meyer, winner of the first series of TV’s The Apprentice Tim Campbell, Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, founder of The Black Farmer range of products and serial entrepreneur and founder of Simply Switch Karen Darby.
Karen Darby commented: “We had the crème de la crème of UK entrepreneurial talent out there and it made it really tough to choose between them.”
Tim Campbell added: “All the pitchers showed incredible passion for what they were trying to achieve. The Pitch shows how it is at the sharp end of business for people who are looking for support to take their ideas forward.”
The other finalists were:
- Chris Hannaway & Will Hammersley, co-founders, Arctic Farm
- Victoria Lee, founder, Glitter Beach
- John Lakey, founder, Candlelight Creations, creator of Sock Creatures
- Steve Birdsall , managing director, Gaist
- Carol Powell, founder, Re-jigged
The Pitch 2010 is proudly supported by Business Matters