Date: 26th September 2011
September 26th 20011, Barbara Hughes, who runs Boozeberries with her husband, won over three expert judges in Belfast’s Grand Opera House. The event, organised in association with print and digital services company Yell, was the last regional heat in The Pitch 2011’s search for Britain’s best small businesses.
The couple’s product is a liqueur naturally enhanced with the infusion of wild fragrant berries, and is already stocked in several branches of Tesco Northern Ireland.
Boozeberries and four other small businesses were judged by Karen Darby, a serial entrepreneur; Carl Hopkins, marketing expert and star of Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire and Will McKee, entrepreneur, investor and one of Ireland’s leading board directors.
A confident pitch combined with a product that has secured genuine interest in both the UK and USA markets secured Hughes, who has a background in the food and retail industry, a place in the grand final of The Pitch 2011 at London’s legendary Pacha night club on 18 November. The overall champion will receive £50,000 worth of business support.
Dan Martin, BusinessZone.co.uk editor and The Pitch founder, says: “The Pitch 2011 has been on the road since June tracking down the UK’s best small businesses and our Northern Irish contenders certainly didn’t disappoint. All five demonstrated exactly the sort of commitment and passion needed to get the economy back on track. Unfortunately however, there could only be one winner.
“Barbara Hughes won over the judges with a business that already has an impressive brand and is stocked by the UK’s biggest supermarket. We look forward to seeing how she compares to our champions from England, Wales and Scotland.”
The other finalists in The Pitch 2011 Northern Ireland were:
• 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)
• Maria McGee, Marble Hill (natural skin care solutions for everyday skin problems)
• Jason Paul, Floe (a device that downdrains and removes stagnant water from houses, holiday homes, caravans and motorhomes)
Northern Ireland was the last heat in the regional search for finalists. The event also included presentations from business experts including millionaire entrepreneur Lara Morgan, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland Alastair Hamilton and David Malone, Belfast divisional telesales manager for Yell.
Winners from England, Wales and Scotland have already been selected.
Cara Sayer, creator of SnoozeShade will represent England, Helen McAvoy and Naomi Kibble, co-founder of Rocktails will represent Wales, whilst Ross Dickinson, creator of Kibosh, will represent Scotland. A fifth wildcard contestant will also be selected from all the runners up by a public vote on http://www.thepitch2011.com during October.
Tickets for the final are now on sale for £20 at http://www.thepitch2011.com/the-pitch-final.
The prize package for The Pitch 2011 champion includes marketing and advertising solutions from Yell, 12 months mentoring from Karen Darby, a year’s membership of the Forum of Private Business and London private members club Adam Street and £3,000 worth of brand consultancy.
Journalists are welcome to attend the grand final of The Pitch 2011. For more information, contact Meg Pope on meg.pope[at]siftmedia[dot]co[dot]uk or 0117 915 9615.
Full details about The Pitch 2011 are at www.thepitch2011.com.
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.
www.BusinessZone.co.uk is Sift Media’s online publication for entrepreneurs providing free, practical and no-nonsense advice on how to start and grow a successful business.
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.
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