I was the Class CEO for the SLP Business Pitch Workshop held on the 16th November this year. The aim of the class was for each Fellow to pitch their startup idea to a panel of judges and get constructive feedback.
The class fell on a Saturday which proof challenging at first to get people with relevant experience in the startup ecosystem to be part of the panels on the day. Thankfully, we got two amazing panels (6 judges in the morning session and 7 judges in the afternoon session) made of VCs and experienced professionals with different backgrounds and diverse experience.
Each Fellow had 4 minutes to pitch, followed by 2 mins of questions and answers and then 5 minutes of individual feedback.
After the sessions the panellists answered questions and discussed topics around what makes a good business pitch. The panels were great and provided invaluable feedback, insights and guidance in how to better define the business value proposition. On top of it, some judges also offered to help Fellows in their ‘asks” (business needs) going forward.
It was an intense day and there was enough work to be shared with other Fellow. In fact I was going to run it with another Fellow that unfortunately had to drop off because of her work. I tried to reach the former class CEO and had no success but those where only some of the challenges that I had to overcome. I learned a lot from organising the class, dealing with different issues, people, their individual needs, expectations and moderating a panel (which I have never done it before).
It was also a challenge for me to be “on the spot” the whole day. On top of running the class, the sessions were filmed, which means I had to leave my shyness outside the room. In preparation for the class I prepared a questionnaire to collect questions and topics Fellows would like to have discussed on the day. I started to reach my network many weeks in advance and asked Fellows for help in contacting their network to form the panels as well.
I prepared a handout with the panellists’ profile and contact and during my research for the class I found a Pitch canvas (tool to help in preparing a business pitch) to give to the Fellows on the day. For the judges I prepared a handout with the Fellows profile and their respective startup, and a pitch assessment sheet, to help analyse the pitch, which was handed to each Fellow at the end of the day.
I divided the Fellows in accordance to the VCs industry focus and panel experience that would be more beneficial to the former. Feedback was given, lessons were learned. Hope remains that both will be put into good use by each Fellow.
Hope these were seeds of change to help the Fellows in their journeys achieve their goals.