News release

Date: 23rd October 2012

Britain’s best small businesses revealed after pitching extravaganza

Two days of live pitching has resulted in the naming of the best small business owners from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who will compete for prizes worth £50,000.

October 23rd, 2012 - The four entrepreneurs, plus 22 wildcard contestants, were selected after presenting in front of business experts and a live audience at The Pitch Live in Liverpool.

The event was the semi-final for The Pitch 2012, the competition organised by in association with digital services provider hibu* and sponsored by Crunch and ICAEW.

The winners will compete at The Pitch 2012 Grand Final at London’s legendary nightclub Ministry of Sound on 16 November where the overall champion will win business support worth £50,000.

Prizes include a year’s free mentoring from serial entrepreneur and founder Karen Darby, £6,000 worth of marketing services from hibu, a bespoke tailored suit from A Suit That Fits, creative consultancy from Studio Diva worth £3,000 and a Dell laptop.

More than 60 entrepreneurs from across Britain presented during the two-day festival at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and were questioned by judges including Karen Darby, Crunch CEO Darren Fell, David Malone, Northern Ireland telesales manager at hibu and ICAEW’s Charles Carter.

Winning the title for England was Jim Shaikh, creator of Yoomi, an innovative self-warming baby bottle which heats up in 60 seconds.

The Scottish winner was Sam Zawadski, founder of AdvancetoGO, a website that helps landlords manage property which Sir Richard Branson described as a service that “will challenge the property industry”.

Taking the Welsh prize was Alba McConnell and her business Rio - A Taste of Brazil. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur has created a range of sauces with authentic Brazilian flavours.

Claiming the slot in the final for Northern Ireland was Heavenly Tasty Organics, an organic baby food company set up by Shauna McCarney.

Judges also selected 22 contestants who will take part in a public vote. The two entrepreneurs with the most votes will take the fifth and sixth wildcard slots at the Grand Final.

Dan Martin, editor of and founder of The Pitch, said: “Having so many pitches over two days demonstrated the small business talent that Britain is home to. If there’s one group who will get us out of the economic doldrums, it’s entrepreneurs like that.

“Our four winners are all running impressive companies and we look forward to finding out who will be named our 2012 champion on the dancefloor in November!”

Andrew Lapham, director of product incubation at hibu and a judge for the England contest, said: “The standard of entries this year was outstanding – at hibu we are aware of the challenges faced by start-ups in the present economic climate, but the energy and passion that all the business owners have shown over the last couple of days has been inspiring and will be invaluable in helping them grow.”

Tickets to The Pitch 2012 Grand Final at Ministry of Sound on 16 November cost only £10 and are available at

* hibu is the new company name for Yell Group

The wildcard contestants are:

Blue Badge Style - Fiona Jarvis (England)
Blue Steel Booths Ltd. - Jerome Maas (England)
Buggy Tunes - Clare Cassidy (England)
Clear Returns - Ellie Turner (Scotland)
Concoction Ltd - Alexander Epstein (England) - Neil Cocker (Wales)
Funding Options Ltd - Conrad Ford (England)
Living the Dream - Zoe Jackson (England)
The dooup - Stuart Kirby and Helen Morris (England)
Market Invoice Ltd - Alistair Lamond (England)
Okotech Ltd - Janette O'Hagan (Northern Ireland)
Plumis Ltd - Yusuf Muhammad (England)
Quirky Weddings - Cate Conway (Northern Ireland)
Rag Heroes - Maria Albertsen (England)
Sci Solutions - Simon Moore (England)
Shnuggle - Adam Murphy (Northern Ireland)
Slidingbifolds - Gareth Presley & Joe McMeekin (Northern Ireland)
Splats (UK) Ltd - Rainbow Rosie Hart and Amy Gowan (England)
TangibleFX - Lee Arromba (England)
The Lazy Camper - Jacob Hill (England)
tru:beauty Skincare Ltd - SaraJane Lynch (Scotland) - Richard Conway (England)


Notes to editors

Media contacts:
Meg Pope
0117 915 9614

Demelza Fryer-Saxby
hibu press office
0118 3582977

The Pitch is a Sift Media event, in association with hibu. 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 hibu:
hibu helps communities thrive by facilitating millions of connections each year between consumers who want to find products and services locally and the merchants who provide them.

hibu helps consumers find local businesses and shop in new, innovative ways. Its dedicated online hibu markets provide comprehensive, convenient access to local goods and services. hibu helps merchants compete in the digital world with a broad range of marketing and commerce solutions delivered online and through hibu’s direct sales teams. Building on its heritage as a premier directories provider, hibu continues to offer a full range of print- and distribution-based marketing services.

hibu operates in the UK, US, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Peru and US Hispanic markets. In the year ended 31 March 2012, hibu had 1.2 million SME customers and total revenues of £1.6 billion.

For further information about hibu, visit

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