Start-ups urged to pitch to top buyers

For the second year running, national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain has teamed up with leading high street retailer John Lewis to offer start-ups the chance to get their products in front of top buyers.

The event follows on from a successful PitchUp last year which saw 400 start-ups compete for 12 places.

This PitchUp is also searching to find iconic and innovative British products to feature in John Lewis as part of the shop’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2014.

StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said: “We’re seeing record numbers of businesses starting up, with more and more people starting out small and online.

“One of the biggest challenges can be getting products in front of top buyers. This competition gives them a really great opportunity to find out what it’s like to work with British institutions like John Lewis – and set them on their journey to become the retail stars of the future.”

Christine Kasoulis, director, brand development at John Lewis added: “Pitchup is a tremendously exciting opportunity for us to discover unique products and innovative designs for our customers, while at the same time supporting talented start-ups. We want to see these entrepreneurs realise their aspirations and by sharing our expertise and experience, through mentoring, we aim to do just that. We wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to receiving the PitchUp entries.”

Businesses have until March 10 at 23.59 GMT to apply online to be in with a chance of being included in the pitching event in April.

The 12 chosen start-ups will benefit from mentoring, practical guidance and assistance spanning key development areas including design, pricing and packaging to help ensure a final product that is ready for sale.

The competition is part of a wider initiative to help retail-ready start-ups get onto the high street. The campaign’s retail arm PopUp Britain is opening empty shops to start-up businesses to co-fund and co-work in the space.