News release

Date: 10th July 2012

Britain’s 80 best small businesses revealed

The Pitch 2012 has uncovered a blossoming UK small business sector, with innovative entrepreneurs looking to revolutionise everything from pizzas to the shampoo industry.

July 10th 2012 -, in association with digital services provider Yell, has selected 80 of the UK’s most innovative small businesses to compete for business support worth £50,000 in The Pitch 2012.

The Pitch 80 were selected from the hundreds of entries from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The full list is at:

All 80 business owners will pitch to judges and a live audience at The Pitch Live, a two day entrepreneurial extravaganza in Liverpool on 18 and 19 October.
One winner selected by the audience will receive a cash award raised from the proceeds of the event ticket sales. In addition, four regional winners will be chosen to compete for the £50,000 prize at The Pitch 2012 Grand Final at London’s Ministry of Sound nightclub in November, while 16 regional winners will be awarded wildcard status and compete for the most public votes and the fifth slot in the final.

Among the 80 finalists is Adam Murphy and his company Shnuggle. Competing for Northern Ireland, he has come up with a modern take on the Moses basket for babies.

Pitching for England will be Alexander Epstein, a former contestant on BBC TV’s The Apprentice, who runs Concoction, an innovative start-up which allows customers to create their own blended shampoo.

Flying the flag for Wales will be Alba McDonnell who is shaking up the spicey sauce industry with her Rio: A Taste of Brazil cooking sauces, while Scotland will be represented by Donnie Maclean, whose company, Eat Balanced, provides a must-eat for all foodies, a nutritionally balanced pizza.

A record number of hopeful entrepreneurs entered The Pitch 2012, spanning a vast range of sectors. From the hundreds of businesses taking part, 78% are based in England, 11% in Scotland, 6% in Northern Ireland and 5% in Wales.

Some 39% of the applications were from companies in their first year of trading, while 24% are still to launch. Another 37% have been in business for between one and three years.

The internet industry was the most popular sector for entrants making up 18% of the total. That was followed by manufacturing with 15% and the media industry was represented by 13% of the applications.
When looking for inspiration, 19% said Sir Richard Branson is who they look to, compared to 7% who opted for the panellists on BBC Dragons’ Den and 5% who said a member of their own family is the person who has inspired them the most in their entrepreneurial journey.

Louise Morgan, head of intelligence and strategic insight at Yell Group, who judged the Welsh entries, says: “The judging process was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how small businesses are positioning themselves in a diverse and competitive marketplace.

“It was inspiring to see the great variety of entries that demonstrated innovation and the need for their product or service.”

Morgan was joined at the Welsh heat by Jon Blake, regional director, South West at The Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). He adds: “It has been great to be able to put some really strong proposals through to the final.”

Judging the English entries was serial entrepreneur Karen Darby, who started energy price comparison service Simply Switch in 2002 and sold it for £22m four years later.

Darby has supported The Pitch since 2009 and will mentor the overall winner of The Pitch 2012 as she did in 2011. She comments: “Once again the Pitch has surpassed itself in not only the sheer volume of entries but the quality. There were so many real corkers in the mix that judging them proved to be a positive delight.”

The Pitch 80 are:

Wales Dr Zigs Paola Dyboski-Bryant
Wales Pixel Picnics Craig Lockwood
Wales Denbigh Army Surplus Rich Brady
Wales The Collector Anthony William Fox
Wales Expert Answers Limited Lloyd Barrett
Wales Rio - A Taste of Brazil Alba McDonnell
Wales Neil Cocker
England Flat Club Nitzan Yudan
England Naturally Cool Kids Ltd Fiona Wood
England Kenyon Arts Joe Kenyon
England Splats (UK) Ltd Rainbow Rosie Hart
England Booost Darren Smith
England Arocor Ltd Jenny Arocha-Cornilliac
England Internet Eyes Ltd Max Patey
England ANAtech Colin Pearson
England SafetyNet Technologies Dan Watson
England Librium games Stephen Hove
England Direct Sitters Marcus Simpson
England AutoLawnMow Patrick McCann
England Student Tenant Find Anthony Laville
England Cause4 Michelle Ann Wright
England The oven door shield company Jaime O'Connor
England MiCoolBagz Michael Seres
England Richard Conway
England Sci Solutions Simon Moore
England Market Invoice Ltd Anil Stocker
England Plumis Ltd Yusuf Muhammad
England Concoction Ltd Alexander Epstein
England Feed Me Bottles Ltd Jim Shaikh
England Geo-Mole Ltd Mark Brice
England Streetskins Ltd Andrew Field
England Everything for Redheads Jessica Shailes
England Zapoosh Ltd Mark Seddon
England Maface Solutions Ltd Stuart Kirby
England Shaped Outdoors Ltd Jacob Hill
England FlouridePET solutions Tanuj Puri
England Funding Options Ltd Conrad Ford
England Kabuto Foods Ltd Crispin Busk
England Arctic Quest Sled Dog Adventures Vickie Pullin
England Syncro Education Ltd Shaan Rafiq
England Europium World UK Dharmesh Bhayani
England Blue Badge Style Fiona Jarvis
England Lizzie Fane
England Hawthorne and Heaney Claire Sarah Barrett
England Frontline Forensics Ltd Lucy Nuttall
England TangibleFX Lee Arromba
England Percy's Claire Louisa Hall
England The Iconic Cake Company Cherry Barrett
England Maxim product Solutions Ltd Andrew Jesus Lomax
England First Steps Personal Healthcare Rory Wilding
England Buggy Tunes Clare Cassidy
England FruBru Rachel Sinclair/Steven Kinsella
England Rag Heroes Maria Albertsen
England Animojo Philip Richardson
England The Cambridge Raincoat Company Sally Dawn Guyer
Scotland Castle RePaint Scotland Alan Stewart
Scotland theCADcube Darren Lester
Scotland Whaapp Ltd Craig Angus
Scotland Arb Aid Ltd Greig Sutherland
Scotland GO learn Margaret Totten and Angela Neal
Scotland Eat Balanced Ltd Donnie Maclean
Scotland Popcorn Horror Ltd Felix Gilfedder
Scotland Appurchase Ltd Jonathan Scott
Scotland Bad Pony Media Frank McGowan
Scotland Digilets Sam Zawadzki
Scotland Clear Returns Vicky Brock
Scotland The service directory Gary Maitles
Scotland Little riot Joanna Montgomery
Scotland tru:beauty Skincare Ltd SaraJane Lynch
Scotland The SuperTie Company Chris Gibson
Scotland Kelvin Valley Honey Paul Holmes
Scotland Haggis Hostels Allan Campbell
N. Ireland Okotech Ltd Janette O'Hagan
N. Ireland Greenans Products Ltd Niall Greenan
N. Ireland Heavenly Tasty Organics Shauna McCarney
N. Ireland Shnuggle Adam Murphy
N. Ireland Heavenly Good Food Heather Boyle
N. Ireland Shift Dock Patrick Devine
N. Ireland Swish Kids Sarah Cassidy
N. Ireland Slidingbifolds Gareth Presley


Media Contact:
Meg Pope
0117 915 9614 Meg[dot]Pope[at]SiftMedia[dot]co[dot]uk

Notes to editors:

Follow The Pitch and BusinessZone on Twitter:
@the_pitch #thepitch12

The Pitch is a Sift Media event, in association with Yell. The Pitch is sponsored by ICAEW and Crunch.

About Sift Media:
Sift Media is a leading business-to-business publisher specialising in online professional communities and face-to-face business events.

With a range of services including websites, email publications, industry awards and exhibitions, Sift Media delivers original, branded content to over half a million professionals every month, across small business, finance, accounting, HR and training, IT, marketing, customer management and knowledge management.

About is Sift Media’s online publication for entrepreneurs providing free, practical and no-nonsense advice on how to start and grow a successful business.

About Yell:
Yell Group is a leading provider of digital services within the emerging local eMarketplace for consumers and SMEs across its operations in the UK, US, Spain and some countries in Latin America.

Building on its strong presence in the local market through its current digital and print portfolio, Yell is developing a broad range of digital services tailored to the converging needs of SMEs and consumers.

These address both the SMEs’ need to grow, transact and be efficient in the digital world, and the consumers’ need to connect locally to the goods and services they want, in a way which saves them time and money, and moves their lives forward.

In the year ended 31 March 2012, Yell Group had 1.2 million SME customers.

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