Pitch bootcamp, Manchester – October 2016

IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals - Pitch Bootcamp Event Report

University of Manchester - 22-23 Oct 2016


Pitch Bootcamp is a two-day career acceleration program that brings together young people (university students, recent-grads and young professionals) and companies. During these two days, participants dive into Post-its and work hands-on developing a business model for their careers. On the first day, Bootcampers are trained to plan their career, explore their skills, find out who their potential employers are, develop their Value Proposition and learn how to communicate with impact and effectively to companies. Those who are planning start-ups also learn how to pitch their business ideas. On the second day, participants will pitch themselves and their Value Proposition to the judges and mentors in order to get feedback on how they can get a job, explore mentorship opportunities, get an internship or go about starting their business.

The programme has had a remarkable growth over the past four years with over 60 editions, 6500+ young people, 2750+ professionals from 700+ companies and helped to create more than 1500 jobs.

The Manchester Pitch Bootcamp

The University of Manchester Pitch Bootcamp was the first edition of Pitch Bootcamp in the UK. It was organised by the IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals, in collaboration with Manchester Entrepreneurs, for the 22^nd^ and 23^rd^ October 2016. This event brought together about 40 young people (including undergraduates, PhD students, recent graduates and young professionals) and 20 professionals from different companies (including business owners) all across the UK.

On Day-1, through intensive sessions running from 9 am to 7.30 pm, participants learnt how to harness their skills and make the most of their potentials. Through several exercises and workshops, they also learnt how to effectively present themselves and how to make potential and impactful pitch in a limited time and structured manner. The last session on Day-1 was ‘Lessons Learned’ where two entrepreneurs, the pioneers of the companies, Fatsoma and Shout, were invited to share their experiences and the lessons they learnt during their journey of being entrepreneurs. The Q&A session enabled participants to gain first-hand information of what it looks like and what it involves to start a business. This session was so electrifying as participants engaged the entrepreneurs to understand more about the world of business start-ups and the difficulties faced in real business world and how to effectively deal with them.

Day-2 saw the participants apply the knowledge and expert advice received on Day-1 and pitch their plans to professional judges. Each participant presented to different groups of 2 to 3 judges who eventually offered them suggestions or any possible contacts they may need to successfully achieve their business and career ideas. Judges, where possible and depending on interest in participants, offered to mentor participants and/or gave their contacts info for future contacts. There were also networking sessions, purposely designed, to allow participants to further interact with the judges (professionals from industry) and other participants. These sessions proved significantly useful as participants seized the opportunity to make the most of being in the company of professionals.

The Role of IEEE UK and Ireland Young Professionals (YP)

The YP affinity group was the main sponsor of the event. This is because developing young people’s skills and helping them make progress with their career and business ideas, with the help of events like this, is one of our priorities as a group. The recent Entrepreneurs Open Day held in London at Greenwich University was one other such event where many companies were brought together for skills oriented workshops and seminars.

The YP continues to deliver to the community of young people with similar events, while building diverse professional networks. We are glad to make Pitch Bootcamp happen in the UK for the first time along with our co-hosts, Manchester Entrepreneurs, a group of volunteers from University of Manchester, and Spark Agency based in Portugal. The YP’s effort was led by the vice chair, Dr Thaddeus Eze with active support from the chair, Mr Noel Gomes and our Liverpool representative Mr Keyur Joshi. All three participated in the panel of judges as well.

The event was funded through participant registration fees and support from IEEE UK & Ireland Section. The Section funded catering services for the event which totalled £951.30.

The Impact of the Event

The feedbacks from the event attendees were encouraging. Many of the participants hadn’t heard about the IEEE before and we seized the opportunity to introduce IEEE and its benefits to a good number of them.

During the planning stage we secured about 40% of registration slots and restricted it to only IEEE members. We requested that IEEE membership number must be used to register through the IEEE registration stream and because the event was highly subscribed, about three participants signed up with IEEE in order to attend. Two of those attended and we made contact with them. We introduced IEEE and the YP to them and encouraged them to make the most of their IEEE membership. We have since added them to our mailing list.

With events like this, we are hoping that more enthusiasts will join our team, as members and volunteers to further our goals and commitment to our members. We hope to take Pitch Bootcamp to other parts of the Section. Check [here]{.ul} for more photos of the Manchester Pitch Bootcamp.