Live pitching & tips for success


Kirsty Irvine

Kirsty Irvine


With the Scottish EDGE 14 Grand Final taking place next week, now is a prime time to make sure your pitches are detailed, concise and winning. In the run up to EDGE R14, Johnston Carmichael once again held pitch practice panel sessions across Glasgow & Edinburgh to help potential finalists perfect their pitch and receive expert feedback & advice. If you’ve made it to the final, then you’ll be in competition against some of Scotland’s most exciting young entrepreneurial companies so it’s imperative to stand out from the crowd for the right reasons and incorporate learnings from the practice environment.

It can be easy to overthink your pitch, but you’ve got to put in the work behind the scenes to ensure it is delivered seamlessly to the panel. I’ve compiled my top five tips to help you make those final winning tweaks.

A punchy introduction

For starters, you only have a short amount of time (3 minutes) to grab the attention of the panel and engage them quickly. A short elevator style presentation which covers the how, what and why of your proposition, but avoids acronyms and technical jargon is essential. Ideally, a nice clean visual aid showing your product or branding and which engages the audience will also help.

Articulate the problem

The best presentations start with the problem from the customer perspective and then deliver their solution to resolve it. If the panel doesn’t understand the problem then they won’t buy into your solution no matter how impressive it might be. So, start with the problem.

You should also cover how your proposition is unique and the competitive advantage your business will enjoy as a result.

Business model

This is an area several of the companies can struggle to articulate clearly - perhaps because of their relatively early stage. It won’t resonate with the panel to adopt the Kevin Costner approach – ‘build it and they will come’ so you need to explain how you will generate revenues and provide detail about your forecasts.

Market size

This should be a given; the panel want to support companies who have a disruptive proposition in a big market – in Scotland and beyond- so providing an overview of the market potential is imperative.

Your intentions

What you intend to do with the prize money what jobs you intend to create as a result of business expansion needs to be included in your presentation. There is no point turning up and not being extremely clear on what you need.

In such a short time you should not try and cover every aspect of your business. Remember, there’s six minutes of panel questions following your pitch where you can further expand on key points. The aim of the pitch is to engage the panel in a process which will hopefully result in them wanting to  award funding to your business.

Aside from the content, who presents and the style of presentation are also important factors. The presenter should speak knowledgeably but also passionately about the proposition. Visual aids are a double-edged sword. Good ones will help re-enforce what the presenter is saying and engage the audience whilst poor, overly detailed slides will distract and potentially lead to an important point being missed because the focus is on the screen and not the presenter.

By far and away some of the best pitches I’ve seen are where the presenter is personable, clearly passionate about their company and visual (and audible!) aids are engaging. These elements combine to help take the panel on a very short journey to convey the proposition.

For more tips on refining your presentation or to discuss your business growth plans, please contact me at kirsty.irvine@jcca.co.uk.