News release

Date: 13th September 2011

Northern Irish finalists revealed in search for Britain’s best small businesses

Five entrepreneurs from Northern Ireland will pitch for the chance to win business support worth £50,000 at the last regional heat of Britain's biggest small business pitching contest.

September 13th 2011 - Taking place at Belfast’s Grand Opera House on Wednesday 21 September, the free to attend event is part of The Pitch 2011, organised by in association with print and digital services company Yell.

Five small business owners will pitch in front of judges: serial entrepreneur Karen Darby; star of Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire Carl Hopkins and Will McKee, one of Ireland’s most experienced board directors.

The winner will make it through to the central London final on 18 November and compete against entrepreneurs from England, Wales and Scotland at the legendary Pacha nightclub to win £50,000 worth of business support including a year’s free mentoring from Karen Darby.

The Northern Irish finalists are:
• Anthony Kieran, Media Lightbox (an online file storage and management for businesses)
• Conor James Moran, Mobile Report (a web and mobile application used to generate reports for field based operatives)
• Barbara Hughes, Boozeberries Limited (a premium artisan berry liqueur naturally enhanced with the infusion of wild fragrant berries)
• Maria McGee, Marble Hill (natural skin care solutions for everyday skin problems)
• Jason Paul, Floe (a device that downdrains and remove stagnant water from houses, holiday homes, caravans and motorhomes)

Dan Martin, founder of The Pitch and editor of, says: "Since June, we’ve been on the road tracking down Britain’s finest small businesses. We’ve selected our winners in England, Wales and Scotland; now it’s time for Northern Irish entrepreneurs to shine.

“The list of finalists for our event in Belfast on 21 September is hugely varied and shows the creativity and entrepreneurship that Northern Ireland enjoys. We look forward to finding out what our team of expert judges think of the country’s top five small businesses.”

As well as watching the pitches live on stage, audience members will receive practical tips for business success from speakers including entrepreneur, millionaire and triathlete Lara Morgan. As well as starting hotel toiletries business Pacific Direct which she sold for £20m, Morgan recently published best-selling business book, ‘More Balls Than Most’ and is a co-founder of Start Up Britain.

Attendees will also take part in an interactive Q&A session with an expert panel, which will include David Malone, divisional telesales manager at Yell; Ron Immink, co-founder of Irish online business community Small Business Can and Adam Ewart, founder of Northern Irish small businesses Karacha and

The keynote speech will be delivered by Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland.
Free tickets to the event are available at
Notes to editors

The Pitch 2011 Northern Ireland takes place at Grand Opera House, Baby Grand Room, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7HR. Journalists are welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Meg Pope on meg.pope[at]sift[dot]com or 0117 915 9615.

Full details about The Pitch 2011 are at

The Pitch 2011 is an initiative by Sift Media in association with Yell.

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 print and 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 SME 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 2011, Yell Group had 1.3 million SME customers.


Media Contacts
Sift Media
Meg Pope
0117 915 3347

Demelza Fryer-Saxby
0118 3582977

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