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Budding Entrepreneurs Impress Judges at a Worcestershire Pitching Event 

DR Kirsten Protherough, Shane Conte and Lis Whybrow. Published Friday, 25th November 2022

Three budding entrepreneurs have scooped the top prizes and impressed the judges in Worcestershire’s Dragon's Den inspired competition.

The Start Up Quick Pitch event, which took place during the 15 year anniversary of Global Entrepreneurship Week, was run by Worcestershire County Council’s Enterprising Worcestershire team in partnership with the University of Worcester and the Business & Intellectual Property Centre Worcestershire.

The event held at The Hive in Worcester, saw shortlisted finalists take to the front to present their ideas to a panel of business experts. The event aimed to help those who are just embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, or new to pitching, to hone their selling skills and gain exposure to their business ideas.

First prize went to, Dr Kirsten Protherough, for her healthcare business idea that aims to create a multidisciplinary team of Healthcare Professionals to deliver outstanding healthcare for adults living with frailty at home.

Second place was awarded to Lis Whybrow, an End of Life and Grief Coach who gave a powerful pitch on her coaching and training business idea. 

Shane Conte scooped the third prize, for his innovative personalised plant pot business idea. 

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy, Skills, and Infrastructure said, “A huge congratulations to all participants who were shortlisted for this year’s pitching event and particularly to the winner and runners up. It’s great to see we have such talented entrepreneurs in the county, and I wish them continued success with their ideas.”

The awards were presented by the events headline sponsor, Gary Woodman, CEO at the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Dr Kirsten Protherough won a £250 Amazon voucher, 2 hours of consultancy support and theatre tickets, courtesy of The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Rockfine Group and Peter Hill, who appeared on the BBC’s Dragons Den programme in 2018. Lis Whybrow won a £100 Amazon voucher and Shane Conte won a £50 Amazon voucher, both courtesy of The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. 

All shortlisted entries received a year’s membership to the national business support platform, Enterprise Nation and a goodie bag. 

Gary Woodman, CEO at the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “I would like to congratulate all entrants who took part in this year's event, it was a delight to present the winner and runners up with their prizes. I hope all participants gained a great experience and took home solid pieces of advice to allow their business ideas to flourish and grow.”

The Judges included BD. Dalton Business Strategy Specialist at Rockfine Group, Michelle Collins Local Enterprise manager at Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator, Jason French Owner of Business Doctors and Phoebe Dawson, Director of Business Engagement at the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Dr Kirsten Protherough, QuickPitch 2022 winner said, “I was so honoured to be able to have the opportunity to present the Home Visit Healthcare vision to the judges and receive positive and insightful feedback that the business will take forward.

“It was a fantastic experience to hone my presentation skills. It has also reaffirmed my belief that there is a huge need for a multi-disciplinary Home Visiting Healthcare service for older adults living with frailty. I and the Home Visit Healthcare team are delighted to have won the event.”

Worcestershire County Council is committed to supporting start-ups to develop and thrive and aims to provide direct support, advice and guidance to businesses seeking growth and investment.

Enterprising Worcestershire is an ERDF funded programme that provides expert advice, support and access to funding for businesses with high growth potential. The programme supports start-up and early stage businesses through a combination of one-to-one support and workshops and coaching. Eligible businesses may also be able to access grant funding through the programme to help with early stage investments.

Start ups and aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to find out more about the support available can visit the dedicated pages on the County Council website