By Sola Adesulu (Ferzona)
Ferzona has entered the ARU Big Pitch competition this year and is pitching Ferzona Events as an idea; Click Here to watch the video pitch and vote!
Introduction: What is The Big Pitch?
If you don’t know what The Big Pitch Competition is, let me introduce you to it. The Big Pitch is a 3-stage business competition organised by Anglia Ruskin University and it encourages students with entrepreneurial ideas (business, social enterprise, charity, anything) to come forward and pitch these ideas for a chance to win from a pot of £10,000. The money won will go into developing your idea further, giving you an advantage and an opportunity to go into the world and do exactly what you want to do – to pursue your passion.
I probably gave the most basic intro to The Big Pitch in the above paragraph. It is much more than that. Once you take part in the competition, you will be introduced to AREA – Anglia Ruskin Enterprise Academy. This is where the fun starts, you will have access to business mentors and start up lectures and networking meetings and countless programmes that will help and assist you in developing your idea and potentially turning this idea into a business. The remainder of this article will share my journey through my very first ever Big Pitch Competition and give reasons why I think you should take part in The ARU Big Pitch and similar competitions if you’re a wanna-be entrepreneur.
As this is over 3 years ago, I’m not sure if I can fully remember everything that happened before and how I got introduced to the Big Pitch. I will write about the thrill of entering and progressing through it.
I have always had a passion of running a business of my own – I had read books, watched documentaries, listened to interviews, etc of all the greatest businessmen I knew existed. The world of business was nothing but a fascination and fantasy to me – something I knew that I wanted to be a part of, but thought was too esoteric for me to partake in. But all of this perception was slowly fading away in real time. I suddenly found myself all around the Cambridge campus, (I was in my second year of studies) speaking to everybody and everyone asking them to vote on a video I had made just a few days earlier and uploaded to The Big Pitch site. Could this be the platform that launches me into the world of big business (a world that draws me in with fascination) and gives me the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry giants? I mean what do I stand to lose? I was passionate about running a business and the idea I was pitching was one of the hobbies I had picked up since I was a child – electronics teardown and repairs (Ferzona Mobile Repair). I remember the excitement with which I spoke to everyone who I asked to vote for me – “I have to win this” I told them. Many of them were confused because they were my friends, and they knew I was studying law at the time. “But you’re a lawyer” they said, “why meddle in electronics?” I nodded in agreement, “yes I am, but this: electronics and entrepreneurship, is where my passion lies.” Many of them accepted my explanation with bewilderment, some with reluctance. They all voted for me though and for that I remain thankful. I spoke to over 300 people asking them to vote during the course of the first stage of the competition. Slowly I was building an audience on Instagram of people curious and interested in what I was doing. (Plot twist: Many of these guys that said ‘why do it’ in the beginning ended up becoming frequent customers of the business after I was able to set it up. This is another reason why I believe that you shouldn’t quit in the face of opposition – You never know what value your idea is bringing into the world. Even your oppositions might benefit from the success of your idea – keep going!)
I ended up getting through to the second stage of the competition and my excitement tripled. This had become a movie, much more than reality to me. It was like in one of the many business shows I had watched. We were taken to a two-day business retreat (The BootCamp) at a fancy hotel and conference centre within Cambridge. There was food and drinks, networking and banter, workshops and presentations. It was surreal. If there is no other reason why you want to enter The Big Pitch, I think the experience of the boot camp should be a reason for you to try.
We learnt a lot about running a business from experts in their industries to learning about ourselves through different workshops and activities. We made friends and built connections with fellow business-minded students within ARU. We joked, laughed, ate, drank and told stories all the way into the night. It was fun! Many of the people I met at the boot camp still remain very good friends of mine till today. With some I have worked together on exciting projects.
The boot camp ended up with us having to go away and prepare a pitch to qualify for the third and final round using the techniques and skills we had learnt during the boot camp. It was another marathon. Now we had to go develop financial forecasts, conduct market research, figure out the competition in the market and differentiate our service offerings using unique selling points. It was new stuff, but we all stayed hopeful and confident in the skills we were taught at the camp. I did not qualify for the final round where the pitch was going to be for the money, but everybody was invited to the grand finale at the ARU Cambridge campus to watch the finalists and have a grand get-together celebration. Everyone dressed to impress, the winners were awarded, pictures were taken, and everybody left with smiles on their faces. It was a good day.
My Latest Pitch!
Entering The Big Pitch gave me extraordinary confidence and made me take a leap of faith to pursue something that I had always wanted to do – something I was passionate about. It also gave me a cushion to lessen the impact of going it alone which, no doubt, would have been scary and was the reason for my hesitation all these years. It made me new friends, gave me an experience of a lifetime and helped me develop the business of my dreams. A healthy mobile phone repair business!
Now my business idea has changed. I am once again relying on the cushion, confidence and adrenaline rush The Big Pitch has to offer to kick start this idea in the right direction and grow it into the business I know it can become. For that I need your help.
Kindly vote by liking the video in the link below; it helps me proceed to the second stage of the competition and hopefully win this time. And if you are thinking of taking part in this year’s competition, let this be your prompt: Just Do It!
CLICK HERE to vote Ferzona on Events.
The Ferzona Group