This blog was written by Judith Zaragoza, the founder of Zenith Experience, who was one of the finalists of IBTM World’s 2019 Event Business Accelerator competition.
The show experience
IBTM World is the most important trade fair in the MICE industry so, apart from planning and preparing your participation in the Event Business Accelerator, including your pitch, check the companies that are going to be participating in the fair and see if you can connect with them.
Don’t miss the opportunity to do some networking with the other competitors outside of your pitches and make sure you take the time to explore what’s available outside of the EBA, such as other companies to meet and knowledge sessions.
There are a lot of companies at IBTM World, so remember to create material on your stand that helps you stand out from the crowd, whether that’s video, virtual assets or photos.
The contest and the pitch
Having been selected as a finalist of the Event Business Accelerator contest is already a prize, so remember: enjoy the whole experience. It’s a great one!
And, of course, if you want to win, here is some advice that might be helpful:
- Study the other candidates, that is, your competitors. In our case, there were a lot of technological companies, so we decided to go for an analogical presentation and very personal storytelling, with a game we played with the audience using a paper toy.
- Find your storytelling and write it down, every word and every comma. For me, it was very useful to put the whole pitch black and white, exactly as I wanted to present it, and then summarize it in a script to clearly remember the structure and the contents. Create a visual presentation that helps you with the structure and let somebody in your team manage the technical aspects of the presentation (presenting the slides and controlling the remote control). This way, you can concentrate on what you are saying.
- Practice the pitch in front of other people (not only your team members) as much as you can, and if there are words or sentences or concepts that you never explain well, change them. If you are not an English speaker, don’t try to express yourself as if you were from Oxford. The most important thing is that you feel confident and comfortable with your English so, if you have to use simple words, use them.
- Practice the sections of the pitch that you find most difficult (in my case, it was the Financial part), or let another team member do this small part. Concentrate on your key selling points and in your value proposition, but don’t forget the financial aspects of your project.
- Once at the trade fair, make good use of the final rehearsal day in front of the IBTM World/Reed staff. Don’t miss that rehearsal. It was very helpful to practice in the real stage, and the advice of the IBTM/Reed staff helped us to polish some things. Don’t make big changes in your pitch, but try to polish the things you can before the real pitch.
- It’s not very diplomatic to say, but in my case, it was helpful not to attend the other finalists’ pitches. My partner was the one listening to them. If you listen to the other candidates’ pitches, you might want to introduce last-minute big changes in your pitch, or you might feel insecure or whatever.
- Practice the Q&A part. Make the other team members and other people play the jury role and let them ask you potential questions (the most difficult ones you can imagine, that is, these questions that you are afraid of, that you don’t want the jury to ask you. Write them down and practice them; in my case, again, it was the financial part, because financial English is difficult for me).
- Remember that the pitch is just a part of your experience at IBTM World. If you have a bad day and a bad pitch, you might not be winning the big prize, but you still have a lot to enjoy and to do at the fair.
- And, of course, don’t decide to stay up late the night before your pitch. Have a good rest and a good breakfast and be as fit as you can for your big day.
Details of the EBA 2020 programme
Applications for the Event Business Accelerator have been open since 1 July 2020 and will close on 31 August 2020. You can read the Terms and Conditions of the competition here.
We’re looking for any entrepreneurs with a business that has been in existence for no longer than three years, who have a bright idea for an events business, product or service, or who have up to three years’ experience in running their own business related to the events industry.
To apply, simply complete the application form with the details of your business proposition. The entries will be scored by the panel of industry judges, with finalists being selected and announced in mid-September.
Complimentary travel and accommodation are provided for finalists, whose live pitches may secure financial investment for their business and/or mentorship at the discretion of members of the judging panel.
For more information please see https://www.ibtmworld.com/Whats-on/ibtm-accelerate/event-business-accelerator/