Bio Bean crowned The Pitch champion 2013

Entrepreneurs from across the country gathered in Bristol yesterday for The Pitch Live which saw waste coffee ground-to-energy company Bio Bean walk away with a valuable business support package as 2013 champion.

Winning entrepreneur Arthur Kay, the founder of Bio Bean, impressed a panel of judges with his business which converts coffee grounds into second generation biodiesel and biomass pellets.

The victory has secured him12 months of mentoring from Karen Darby, a day with the co-founder of Morphsuits, lessons in how to use PR and an intellectual property (IP) audit.

The BusinessZone.co.uk event sponsored by Alibaba, the ICAEW and Constant Contact was held over a marathon 12 hours at The Paintworks that saw 46 start-up and new businesses go head-to-head.

Between their presentations attendees got the chance to take to hear from successful entrepreneurs and expert judges, including former Pitch winners.

The judges included:

BusinessZone.co.uk editor Dan Martin commented: "The entrepreneurial energy in the room was massive. It was a tough competition, but Arthur from Bio Bean is a worthy winner. His company is hugely innovative and it has big potential both financially and for benefiting the environment.

"With Karen Darby's support and his other prizes, I’m sure Bio Bean will be a great success."

The other finalists were:

Alongside the main prize, Ben Heald of Sift, Gonzalo Trujillo of Heron Capital Partners and Nick Wray and Martin Bowles of Horatio Investments selected seven entrepreneurs they are interested in supporting with a share of £275,000. These companies included Please Cycle, The Little Smoked Food Company and Karisma Kidz, plus:

Gareth Bristow of Roc-Nut was also named the ‘One to Watch’ winner and received £1,000 worth of financial advice from the ICAEW.

Before the winners were announced the judges said that the contenders all demonstrated a lot of passion. But they also pointed out that many had failed to explain exactly what it was they do, who it’s for and how they make money from it.

Duane Jackson said he would have liked to have heard more on exactly what each business does, including some numbers: “Many squeezed as much as they could into the three minutes. They overloaded it and didn’t get across exactly what they do.”

In the view of the ICAEW's Charles Carter, people starting new businesses need the right advice to turn their passion into a business. 

How are AccountingWEB members helping start-ups in their areas, and what advice would you give a budding entrepreneur looking to secure investment?