Q&A with Marina Leadbetter from Devon Garden Foods about Pitchfest at Venturefest South West 2019

As the year draws to a close, we catch up with those involved in Venturefest SW 2019 to hear about benefits it brought and the difference it has made to South West businesses. We spoke with Marina Leadbetter from Devon Garden Foods, winners of their category at this year’s Pitchfest at Venturefest South West competition.

Innovators and entrepreneurs from across the region used Pitchfest at Venturefest South West to promote their businesses and develop pitching skills through a series of training sessions. The Pitchfest finals at Venturefest South West saw some of the South West’s most exciting start-ups pitch directly to influential investors and industry leaders. Eight companies were then selected by the judges to present on the main stage, from which three winners were chosen.

1. What made you take part in Pitchfest at Venturefest South West?
Cesar and I wanted to gain as much advice and market research on our product as possible, so this felt like a great local way to be able to do it. It would also give us insight into the types of questions that would be asked in terms of pitching and investment – so we entered it with a serious mindset, spent a lot of hard work practising and we were over the moon with the outcome.

2. How has winning Pitchfest at Venturefest South West changed your business?
Pitchfest has opened our network and given our product the ‘awareness’ it needed. Seeing as we were such early stage, it was an excellent boost our company needed. The contacts from the network we created, just from Pitchfest, has been invaluable and we also won a grant services package from Granted Consultancy based in Exeter which opened our eyes to the type of funding we are able to enter.

3. What advice would you give those wanting to take part in the future?
Practice makes perfect. Cesar and I both wanted to speak and engage the audience with our milk alternative product, so we made sure we had props, engaging visuals and facts to keep the audience interested!

4. Aside from the competition, approximately how many conversations about tech and innovation in the South West did you have with key industry individuals?
Many many conversations were had, and they are still ongoing now with regards to IP and research which is very exciting!

If you’re interested in getting involved with Pitchfest at Venturefest South West, watch this space for 2020 Pitchfest at Venturefest South West plans.