Preparing for a pitch competition? There are many benefits to participation, even if you don’t claim the top prize
Whether you’re preparing for StartUp Lehigh Valley on October 26—or for another pitch competition that may be a great fit for your business—these events offer numerous benefits. In fact, you don’t even have to be a totally new startup to reap the rewards of participation. Pitch competitions pose a great opportunity for all entrepreneurs, even those with existing businesses.
First and foremost, take advantage of the networking opportunities these events offer you. Many of the people you meet at a pitch competition have started businesses of their own and are willing to give advice to fellow entrepreneurs. This allows you to further grow your own network—particularly if they begin introducing you to mentors they met by networking the very same way.
Furthermore, being in an environment full of fellow entrepreneurs allows you to gain some perspective. It’s human nature to surround ourselves with like-minded people. What new perspectives can these new connections bring to the table? By participating in a pitch event, you’ll meet other entrepreneurs with varying perspectives who may help you grow and evolve your business.
For a few other benefits, we connected with two of our StartUp Lehigh Valley judges—Michael Tierney, founder and CEO of Stuffed Puffs, and Doug Engler, Lehigh Valley Regional Manager for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania—to get their perspectives on how participating in a pitch competition can be beneficial, even if you’re not the top winner.
Here are the insights they shared:
Feedback leads to growth
“It’s always important to garner feedback and pressure test your concept and business as you continue to refine it through the stages of growth,” shared Tierney. “Having the chance to not only get feedback from professionals in the space, but also from your fellow competitors, creates incredible opportunity. Agnostic of who takes home the top prize, everyone has an opportunity for learning, growth, inspiration, and new connections from peers and potential advisors to help them on their business journey.”
Creating visibility and getting an education
The time that goes into preparing for a pitch event provides a valuable opportunity to take a closer look at your product, idea, or innovation. If you’re well prepared, then you’ve confirmed your assumptions about the market need and creating a concise and engaging story that excites the listener,” shares Engler.
“The right pitch competition will also give startups the ability to gain awareness of their product, idea, or innovation among industry leaders, investors, potential business partners, media outlets, and prospective customers.”