Pattersons Commercial Law and The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity delivered prizes worth more than £6,000 to finalists of Leicester College’s first-ever Pitch Your Passion competition, which came to a conclusion on Friday (23 March) afternoon.

A video game developer, personalised textile creator and an innovative writing tool were the three ventures that benefited from the competition’s top three prizes, which will be utilised to develop each business further in addition to providing professional business and legal support courtesy of Pattersons Commercial Law.

Following pitches delivered by the six shortlisted finalists, a judging panel consisting of our director, Rik Pancholi, The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity Chair of Trustees David Howard, Leicester College Employability and Enterprise Manager Gemma Jackson and the college’s Director of Human Resources Rod Wood, came to a unanimous decision on which businesses should benefit from financial investment and professional support.

Students were required to complete a business plan template focusing on the business idea, how the winning money would be spent and outline the difference winning would make to them, with shortlisted finalists provided the opportunity to impress the panel in person at Leicester College’s Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.

The first prize of £1,000 was presented to Panda Creative, headed up by Ioana Ignatsecu, which is looking to expand on a multiple-ending role-playing video game concept that impressed the panel, whilst the second prize of £600 was awarded to Gerrets, with owner Becca Geraghty’s passion and unique product shining through in her pitch. The third prize of £400 was awarded to Billal Aboobaker, who engaged judges with his product Retracto, a device to make writing implements easily accessible.

R-L: Rik Pancholi, Jacob Mason, Ioana Ignatsecu of Panda Creative and David Howard, Chair of Trustees at The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity

The fourth, fifth and sixth-placed entrants also received £100, with all finalists set to benefit from professional business advice courtesy of Pattersons Commercial Law.

First prize winner, Ioana Ignatsecu, who is studying a Foundation Degree in Design and E-Media at the College, said:

“I’m so happy! The prize money will allow us to get the business set up as a limited company, help to get the book published professionally and let us buy some software. We need help writing contracts so the professional advice will be really useful for that, and other things I’m sure.”

Rik Pancholi of Pattersons Commercial Law said:

“Following an enjoyable morning listening to some good business ideas, we are really looking forward to working further with the Pitch Your Passion entrants to help develop their business ideas. The winning business, Panda Creative, really came across as an ‘aim for the stars’ project which we all admired and was well structured. Gerrets was a fantastic project, where time and energy has really been put in to develop a brand. We thought Retracto was a great product that put a twist on an existing product to make it unique. I’m already looking forward to next year’s competition.”

David Howard, Chair of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, said:

“It was a pleasure to be involved in the first Pitch Your Passion competition, which really did showcase a variety of business ideas. The one thing that came through following the final was that the businesses showcasing a creative idea, rather than models which saw the business re-selling an existing product, had stronger plans in place, highlighting the importance of really knowing your product. We felt that the three winners showcased something that was creative, new and could be successful businesses. Congratulations to all of the entrants that made it through to the final, especially our three top prize winners.”