Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Round 2! Big Awards semi-finalists make their pitch

August 7, 2015

Twenty semi-finalists, a 60-second pitch for each, mixed together with three bespoke cocktails made for one amazing evening…

The Cisco BIG Awards semi-finals roared into action at IDEALondon last week. And if the evening is anything to go by, we are set for one for the closest fought BIG Awards yet.

Our twenty semi-finalists all met together under one roof for the very first time to kick-start the next stage of the competition.

The cream of Britain’s tech start-ups are now vying for the chance to win a share of over $250,000 worth of prizes. This includes funding, along with access to a bounty of technical, prototyping, investment and marketing resources.

In true X-Factor style, we sprung the first surprise of the competition, by asking our combatants to deliver a one-minute elevator pitch in front of an audience:

Being able to convey your message in super simple terms is a crucial skill for any start-up. And it’s not easy. However, the range of ideas and concepts impressed us, as well as how well they were able to deliver them under pressure when standing on stage.

It wasn’t all huff-and-puff though. After the elevator pitches had been given, and the group were suitably energised, everyone got the chance to meet the Cisco BIG sponsors in a speed-dating format. We also invited guests to find out what type of innovator they are – with a mini quiz. This was followed up by linking them to a bespoke cocktail which matched their individual personality.

The fun didn’t stop there. Next up, each start-up got the opportunity to be interviewed on camera in our pop-up TV studio for a five-minute chat about their idea, and to talk about what inspires them in business. All useful practice for the big things that await these companies in the future!

Here’s what went down throughout the evening (and scroll down for more photos!)

*DING DING*! So, what’s next?

Each semi-finalist is now working on their submissions that they each hope will earn them a place in the final in October. The clock is ticking, with the deadline for submissions on 10th August.

As well as recording a three-minute video explaining the premise for their business, the entrants are also required to submit a Venture Feasibility Analysis. In the simplest terms, this document will explain their concept, the business model, its marketability, and more.

The judging panel of industry will then rigorously assess the entries, before announcing the finalists on September 28th.

The Live Final takes place on October 22nd. Stay tuned on this blog as the action unfolds.

Cisco Big Awards Semi Final picture gallery:


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  1. Looks like I missed a great event – the 60 second pitches were brilliant!