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Opportunity of a lifetime

Published: 
Sunday, May 13, 2018

It is an opportunity of a lifetime for any entrepreneur—pitching an idea for a business to a member of the royal family.

Jody White, owner and founder of Slimdown 360, and Alpha Sennon, founder of WHYFARM, got to do just that when they participated in Pitch@Palace, an event that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet global industry leaders who can assist in boosting their business.

Pitch@Palace was held at several locations, including Buckingham Palace, St James Palace and at Facebook’s London headquarters.

White, whose business is about meal plans for healthy living, earned the People’s Choice Award and ended up in a third place tie with another international entrepreneur.

Sennon, who was produced a comic book about agriculture, said he found out about the competition when a friend emailed him an entry form. White, on the other hand, heard about it through the Ministry of Trade.

For White, walking the red carpet to enter Buckingham palace on the opening day felt strange. He had never been to London before and had never taken part to an event of that kind.

However, Sennon, who has been to events similar to Pitch@Palace, recalled:, “I travelled to London many times before, but I never had a reason to go to Buckingham Palace.”

The two met for the first time in the room where the delegates gathered for the event—the same room from which Queen Elizabeth II goes out on to balcony to wave to the public.

In the first round of the competition, delegates has to give 30 second pitches about their company.

“You begin to feel as though it’s your one chance. Don’t lose it, don’t mess, is what I was telling myself. It was like the biggest chance you can get. I was nervous, this can make your business,” White said.

Sennon, who had very little time to prepare for the competition, was bumped out in the first round. Still, he was happy for the experience.

In the second round, White did a three minute pitch about Slimdown 360.

“After Buckingham Palace, the next day we went to Facebook’s head office where we were assigned elevators who were past alumni of the competition,” he said.

“They talked to us, they looked over our pitches, then out of 42 people, 12 were selected to do three-minute pitches the next week at St James Palace,” he said.

White found out he was in the top 12 on a Friday. Everyone else had gone sightseeing but he stayed in his hotel room to practice his presentation and edit it.

“I did nothing for the weekend except get food and come back,” he said.

Every participant in the second round had the opportunity to ask for something for their business, and to say why they attended the event in the first place. White said he asked for a meeting with large distributors.

He felt relieved when it was over but had to wait outside of the room for the results. After that, there were interviews and meetings to attend.

White was provided with a list and asked which two global industry leaders he wanted to meet. It was difficult as hardly anyone present was in the food industry. He eventually asked for meet the head of innovation for PepsiCo.

However, the crowning moment for White was when he got to present his product to Queen Elizabeth.

About Pitch@Palace

Pitch@Palace Commonwealth is a platform to showcase entrepreneurs from the 53 Commonwealth countries, connecting them to local and international networks and helping amplify their businesses.

The objectives are:

• Promote the importance of and provide key support for entrepreneurs from Commonwealth countries and early-stage businesses

• Foster more entrepreneurial talent within the Commonwealth

• Engage and inspire local communities

• Assist innovative businesses to boost the economy

This year’s event, which took place as part of the Commonwealth Summit, was an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their business to CEOs, influencers, angels, mentors and potential investors and business partners.

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