Pitch Perfect – OxLEP Business helps SMEs fine tune their approach to securing investment

Promotional Business Feature: Oxfordshire LEP - Pictured Felicity Beasley and Victoria Ayres - won the Pitch To The Panel challenge for their business The Local Trove
Felicity Beasley and Victoria Ayres – won the Pitch To The Panel challenge for their business The Local Trove

The Local Trove, an online food ordering and delivery service from Chipping Norton, is celebrating after winning a challenge to pitch their business to investors.

Their enterprise plans to bring the best food from local suppliers and high street retailers to doorsteps in towns, villages, and neighbourhoods throughout the UK.
The ‘Pitch To The Panel’ event was part of an initiative at OxLEP Business, the county’s growth hub, to help young and growing businesses to develop the skills they need to make successful approaches to investors.

Nine businesses took part in the challenge which saw each of them presenting to a panel of seven experienced investors.

Sarah Beal from the Growth Hub run by OxLEP Business said the event gave the businesses an authentic experience of what is involved in making a successful pitch. “It is so important for growing businesses who need extra investment to fully appreciate what it takes to convince potential backers. It can make all the difference to their chances of achieving their goals.”

“Each of the contenders prepared a presentation and answered tough questions during the first round of the Pitch to the Panel challenge. Four finalists then worked on more detailed pitches for the last round,” Sarah explained.

Felicity Beasley and Victoria Ayres of The Local Trove won the ‘Pitch To The Panel’ challenge.

Although there was no guarantee of investment from the panel, Victoria Ayres , a co-founder of the eventual winners The Local Trove, said: “Getting to the final and winning is terrific. Preparing a pitch to enter the challenge was useful and we certainly appreciated the panel’s feedback. There is no substitute for experience in preparing for these vital encounters. The worst thing any business can do is go into them unprepared. This challenge makes us more confident about how to approach the task of securing funding.

What the investors saw in The Local Trove was a concept which can scale and grow. It is positive encouragement for Felicity Beasley, a partner in Trove who hit on the idea when she was on maternity leave and shopping locally. “I discovered my food bills were smaller, yet we were eating better quality food, wasting a lot less and disposing of far less packaging. I thought ‘everyone should be able to do this, and we can make it happen.”

Their Pitch to the Panel included ambitious plans to bring what they call ‘hyperlocal’ delivery services and online ordering to communities across the UK.
“We persuaded them we are a sustainable business offering people a chance to exploit the best of local food supplies in a convenient way, saving time as well as travel and parking costs. It’s the opposite of supermarket shopping with imported fresh produce from thousands of miles away. At the heart of Trove is fresh, seasonal food which has travelled only short distances and involves much lower volumes of packaging in the supply side.”

The Local Trove is now actively looking for £300,000 of investment, buoyed by their Pitch to the Panel experience.

P3MO is seeking funding to grow their product which is changing approaches to Business Transformation.

Andrew Eatherington, one of the founders at P3MO, a business transformation innovator, also practised his pitch to investors at the event. The company is preparing to reach out to investors to support the further development of its core product. Like most businesses trying to grow the challenge is to make clear their need for financial backing also creates a strong potential for a return for investors.

Andrew commented: “This event has focused us on the detail required to attract investment. It is good to see that the investors we pitched to also see the opportunity and possibilities for P3MO to make a positive impact for companies and their employees. The pitch event has been hugely valuable to us.”

Sarah Beal at OxLEP Business says it is their ability to reach out to people in the investment world which has allowed them to create the opportunity. “Scaling up a business is not easy, however strong an idea, product or service may be. At the Growth Hub we have been able to reach out investors to form a panel. We have never done anything like this before, but its success means we will almost certainly want to hold more events like this in the future. It is a valuable addition to the broad range of support we already offer at the Growth Hub.”

pitch to the panel

OxLEP Business operates as the Growth Hub for Oxfordshire, simplifying the business support landscape and helping individuals and businesses to easily connect. We’re here to help small businesses (SMEs), entrepreneurs and socially minded enterprises find the support they need. Offering prompt, friendly, impartial advice we will signpost any SME to the right, no cost, business support

There are 1-2-1 and peer networking opportunities as well as programmes aimed at scale up businesses, innovations, social enterprises, and businesses with purpose.

To find out more call us on 0345 241 1196 or email business@oxfordshirelep.com




The easiest thing to do to find out exactly what is right for your business is to complete the Business Support Tool, which takes no more than 7 minutes, and we will get back to you with a no obligation Business Support Plan tailored to your needs.


Follow us Twitter: @OxLEPBusiness

Connect with us on LinkedIN: OxLEP Business