Discover Montserrat's editor Nerissa Golden wins one of the 5 coveted spots in the PitchIt Caribbean mobile app competition.

Surviving Your First Pitch Competition

I am not sure what made me do it. I don’t do competitions. That may seem like a crazy thing for an entrepreneur to say but competing with others isn’t my thing. I love being an entrepreneur to create my own stuff and to be in a space where I don’t need anyone’s permission. However, as I spend a lot of my time working with other entrepreneurs across multiple industries and these dastardly pitch competitions were now becoming a thing in the Caribbean, I needed to know how they worked and if they were worth the discomfort to get vulnerable. So I entered PitchIT Caribbean, the Trinidad Edition in 2016.

PitchIT Caribbean Challenge 3.0 takes place on St. Kitts in a few days and a new batch of Caribbeanpreneurs, with ideas and startups for mobile applications, are competing for $75,000 in cash and prizes. The money will be the bonus on a priceless experience and here are a few thoughts on how to come through it on top.

It is a competition but the others pitching are going to be your collaborators. Sitting in the workshops are men and women of varying ages and experience who have knowledge that can help you build and pitch a better app. It is like being in the room with your test market. Are they interested in learning more about your app once you tell them what it is? What are the follow up questions that come at you? Would they buy it or want it for free? To get this information you have got to engage with them. So rather than spend your time in a corner trying to keep your idea close to your chest, interact and talk up your idea or startup.

The two days of mentoring and training will be all about collaboration. On day one, you present your pitch with your heart in your mouth and hope the others in the room and your mentors like your idea. You will need to divorce yourself from your business enough to taken in the feedback coming at you from your peers. It will make the difference in what happens on pitch day. Tough love is what you will get but take it…your pitch will be better for it.

Don’t memorize your pitch! Anything can happen. Slides get stuck (happened to me at the finals), and you may have to start over or wing it. When you are following a script and something goes wrong it isn’t always easy to pick up where you left off. Instead, know the information you need to share with each slide. Have the highlights clear in your mind that you want to hit with each click.

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