Applications are now open for Pitchfest – a competition for entrepreneurs and SMEs looking for finance, with the finals taking place in front of an audience of investors at Venturefest West Midlands on 30th June 2015. Pitchfest, organised by Aston Business School,University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick*, presents a unique opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to raise their profile and potentially win one of several awards at Venturefest WM 2015. Applications must be submitted via the online form by Friday, May 29th, 2015. The Pitchfest competition is open to growth businesses, early stage, and idea stage in any sector. Shortlisted applicants are invited to pitching workshops at one of the three universities, and go on to deliver their practice pitch in front of an expert panel and receive feedback. Panels will select the finalists to go forward to pitch at Venturefest WM on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham, in front of an audience of potential investors. This one-day event, supported by Innovate UK and part of a national network of Venturefests, will bring together entrepreneurs, investors and innovators to meet, engage, and discuss ideas. Paula Whitehouse, Director of Aston Centre for Growth, said: “Access to finance for small businesses and entrepreneurs is vital for growth, which is why Pitchfest is a key element of Venturefest WM 2015. A fully developed finance pitch isn’t necessary, just a viable business idea or growth opportunity and the will and ambition to succeed. We will help all successful applicants to develop a suitable finance pitch with workshops, practice pitches and feedback from expert panels consisting of investors and industry leaders, all completely free of charge.” On the day of Venturefest WM 2015, the panels will vote for the best pitches in each category (Growth Business; Early Stage, and Idea Stage) to receive awards, and the winners of each category will complete for the overall prize and receive the Venturefest 2015 Best Pitch Trophy. All interested businesses and entrepreneurs are invited to complete the Pitchfestapplication form or for further details email firstname.lastname@example.org *Support and guidance from Venturefest 2015 university partners does not include any Financial Promotion of the SMEs as defined in the FCA Handbook and other FCA rules and guidance and as further defined and restricted in section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. -ends- For further media information, please contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549 or email@example.com Venturefest West Midlands Venturefest WM will be held at the NEC on 30 June 2015. It is funded by Innovate UK, and backed by universities, science parks and business support organisations from across the region. For more information and to register for a place, go to the Venturefest WM website. Aston Centre for Growth at Aston Business SchoolAston Centre for Growth offers leading growth programmes and other opportunities for SME owners looking to grow their business. Aston is one of only three business schools nationally to hold Small Business Charter Gold status, and we have experience of working with hundreds of SMEs to support their business growth on high profile programmes such as Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.