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29 July, 2017 - 08:18 By Kate Sweeney

Royal entrepreneur challenge reaches fever pitch

HRH Duke of York at Cambridge Judge Business School

The Duke of York launched a new accelerated version of his Pitch@Palace initiative for entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School, which focused on speed mentoring and speed pitching.

The Duke of York is patron of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge. He urged young ventures to get involved in as many networking programmes as they can.

He said: “The more you take part in, the more opportunity you have to talk to people, the more opportunity you have to interact with people, the more opportunity there is for somebody to say to you: ‘I’ve got an idea that you might like to listen to’ or ‘I’ve got someone you need to see because I can get you into a supply chain.”

He also emphasised how serendipity through chance meetings can help new ventures develop contacts and markets.

The Pitch@Palace event at Cambridge Judge included tips on effective pitching of ventures in short time frames, offering feedback to entrepreneurs who presented a one-minute pitch of their ideas.

It featured a panel of alumni of previous Pitch@Palace events hosted at St. James’s Palace, who said the connections gained through Pitch@Palace have proved very important in gaining investment and other traction for their ventures.

The panel included Tim Guilliams of Healx, which repurposes drugs to fight rare diseases; Raoul-Gabriel Urma of Cambridge Coding Academy, a computer coding community venture; Hannah Harvey of health app firm Ask the Midwife; and Rebekah Scheuerle of JustMilk, which delivers nutrients and medicine to breastfeeding babies through a silicon device.

JustMilk won top prize in the first biotech-themed Pitch@Palace, run in partnership with Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School, in March 2016.

The Pitch@Palace event at Cambridge Judge concluded with remarks about entrepreneurship by Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and chairman of the Advisory Board of the School.

A selection of 39 high calibre startups pitched to mentors working in the Cambridge ecosystem, including those from AstraZeneca. The founders of startups PharmEnable, Dovetail and Spirea – all currently participating in Accelerate Cambridge – were among the entrepreneurs who pitched. 

The audience, made up of Pitch@Palace participants and entrepreneurs from Judge’s Ignite 2017 cohort, received valuable advice on pitching from executive director, Hanadi Jabado, and heard war stories from the panel of previous Pitch@Palace alumni.

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