£1m pitch competition set to uncover promising tech businesses

A £1m pitch competition is launching in the West Midlands, aimed at discovering the region’s most promising start-up tech businesses.

One to Win is spearheaded by The Rigby Group which is the largest private sector investor in technology in Europe, its independent IT group SCC, Pre-Seed and Seed Fund Haatch, and the West Midlands Co-Invest Fund (delivered through Midven, part of Future Planet Capital), and is the largest single prize for any pitch competition in the UK.

TechWM launched the competition within London Tech Week at the Mathys and Squire LLP offices in The Shard, London. Applications open on July 1 and shortlisted candidates will have the opportunity to pitch for the prize during Birmingham Tech Week on Wednesday 23 October with the winner announced two days later on Friday 25 October.

The West Midlands tech sector is one of the fastest growing in the UK, employing 76,000 people. TechWM’s ambition is to make the region a global tech hub valued at £100bn by 2030.

Businesses that don’t meet the entry criteria will also be supported with: opportunities for trade missions; investor connections; access to mentors and workshops; guidance on accelerators and incubators; and links to corporate innovation programmes.

Spearheaded by the Rigby Group, which was founded in 1975 with an initial investment of £2,000, the business is now worth an estimated £4bn.

Steve Rigby, its Co CEO said: “We are innovators and entrepreneurs by our very nature and nowhere is that more prevalent than here in our region.

“The technology sector in the West Midlands is one of the fastest growing in the UK. It employs 76,000 people and is expected to boost the national economy by almost £3 billion in the coming years.

“Founded by my father nearly 50 years ago, Rigby Group is the largest private sector investor in technology in Europe. As an organisation, we have never forgotten our roots here in the Midlands and are proud to support the One to Win competition to find game-changing innovation and ambition.

“The ripple effect of this prize pot is enormous. Whilst the winning business will clearly benefit, the knock on effect will create more jobs for the local community, increase our region’s economic activity and importantly, shine a light on our home grown tech talent.”

Yiannis Maos MBE, CEO of TechWM said: “The One to Win is the culmination of everything we’re doing to nurture, platform, and develop the fantastic tech scene here in the West Midlands. All parties involved share the belief that the region is the sleeping giant of the tech landscape, and we’ve been working incredibly hard to let the world know what it has to offer.

“Groundbreaking initiatives and competitions like One to Win are brilliant opportunities to further showcase the wonderful work going on in the region, and thanks to the generous backing of our fantastic stakeholders, partners, and sponsors, we’re able to give one talented start-up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive the biggest pitch competition prize in the UK – an incredible step forward for both the worthy winner and the region as a whole.”