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$11,000 prize pool up for grabs at upcoming Bay of Plenty 'pitch night'

26 Sep 16

Bay of Plenty startups have the chance to get prizes, feedback and networking from an upcoming pitch night to be held in Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytech on October 19.

The pitch night will provide a platform and community base for local SMBs, startups and businessess to pitch ideas and receive feedback in a relaxed environment, as well as learning and networking opportunities.

Darren McGarvie, co-founder and chairman of Rotorua X, McGarvie says there are still a few pitch spots open, and businesses should get in fast as only ten organisations will be able to pitch on the night.

Successful applicants get five minutes to impress the audience and judges.

“The business community are encouraged to come along and watch the pitches and judges. Audience attendance is free, but spaces are limited so we urge people to RSVP early to avoid disappointment,” Mr McGarvie explains.

With more than $11,000 of support services and prizes ranging from graphic design, online marketing, web design, business training, legal, HR and coaching advice, the pitch night is proving popular with local businesses.

“Starting up a business or organisation based on an idea is one of the most exciting yet terrifying things you can do. Even talking in front of a group of people can take tremendous courage. We want to encourage and support those who decide to face their fears and live their dream, by offering a half decent prize,” says Chris Parnell from Rotorua-based web design agency CG Design.

The company will be donating a custom SetSeed website that features a store, blog, newsletters, calendars and a booking system, as well as a year's worth of hosting. The package is worth more than $3000.

“Recently we’ve developed a design mode for agencies to easily create custom websites without the need for code. So, we’re a start-up too that keeps on innovating,” explains Parnell.

McGarvie says it's 'incredible' how many business want to become involved.

“This is our third year running the event and support increases year on year. It shows us that businesses see the value in this event and also are keen to support others in their entrepreneurial journey,” McGarvie comments.

This year's judging panel includes Steve Chadwick (Mayor), Alan Dick (angel investor), Reuben Woods (Woods Design Agency founder), Claire McGowan (Soda Inc CEO) and Paul Charteris (founder of Tarawera Ultra-Marathon).

The 2016 EMA BoP Pitch night will be held on on October 19 from 5.30pm at Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytech. To apply to pitch or RSVP to be in the audience, go to or email

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