Young inventor scoops a £50,000 prize at The Pitch 2009

Anthony Lau, founder of Cyclehoop, rode away with £50,000 worth of business support, including exclusive coverage in Business Matters, our sister publication Angels, and a research package from Trends Research, the Capital Business Media, owners of Business Matters, business research division.

Lau won after presenting to a panel of top class business experts and an audience of over 150 entrepreneurs at the exciting conclusion in London on Monday, the first day of Global entrepreneur Week.

In a polished pitch, Lau, who made it through to the final after winning the South East heat of the competition, dealt expertly with a grilling from judges Tim Campbell, winner of The Apprentice 2005; former TV Dragon Doug Richard; Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins and Helen Stevenson, chief marketing officer at Yell.

Lau, whose product clamps to existing signposts and street lamps providing a cost effective and safe solution to cycle parking, fought off some intense cross-examination about his finances and impressed with a list of orders from several local councils around the UK.

Commenting on his victory, Anthony Lau, founder of Cyclehoop, says; “Pitching in front of a live audience and an ex-Dragon was definitely nerve wracking. However, you do not get such an opportunity very often so I told myself to enjoy it and have fun. This helped me relax and although the judges asked some tough questions, I enjoyed every moment.
“I competed against some great entrepreneurs in both the regional heat and the grand final so to actually win the Pitch 2009 is a great honour. The fantastic package of prizes will give my company the support and boost it needs to take it to the next level. Doug told me he now expects a lot from me; just a little pressure from a former Dragon!”

Doug Richard, ex-Dragons’ Den and founder of School for Startups, comments; “Cyclehoop is not only innovative, but has traction in the market, a growing market opportunity and the sort of founder who combines charisma and practical nouse to make it all believable.”

Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, adds: “Being a judge at The Pitch 2009 gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet the entrepreneurs behind the next generation of business start-ups and to hear their creative and inventive ideas.

“It was a hard decision to choose the overall winner but my congratulations go to Anthony Lau. Cyclehoop is a simple and effective idea and I hope it is really successful. I also have to say well done to all the contestants for dealing with the gruelling questions posed by us judges!”

The search for the UK’s most exciting and innovative small companies began in the summer, and saw The Pitch team visit Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London. Entrepreneurs in all five regions presented their product or service to panels of leading business experts.