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Can you rise above the noise to make your business stand out?

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With just three days to go before applications for KPMG’s Tech Innovator in the UK competition closes, we share some tips from the experts on how to make your business stand out from the crowd.

Fast growth businesses are an important and exciting part of the UK economy – but the sector is also an incredibly crowded space, so making your business stand out can be challenging.  The New Startup Index from NatWest and Beauhurst, published earlier this year found that over 900,000 new companies were incorporated in the UK in 2023, making it a record year for new business startups.

Being able to tell your story is important and is what separates the good applications from the great ones.  Many founders have a personal story inspiring them to start their businesses, but telling the story of their enterprise on paper can be challenging.

Over the last 11 years, the KPMG Tech Innovator in the UK competition has received thousands of applications from tech businesses looking to showcase their innovation and growth ambitions.  But what does it take to really make your business stand out from the rest of the pack?

“My top tip would be to really demonstrate why you fit the application criteria.  We know that great businesses enter this competition, but it’s difficult to progress their application if they haven’t demonstrated that they meet the judges’ criteria to go on to the next stage. Whilst it’s great for you to tell your story, making sure you meet the criteria set out in the competition rules is critical,” Nicole Lowe, UK head of KPMG’s Emerging Giants practice.

“For businesses considering applying, I would advise them to thoroughly understand the competition criteria and tailor their application to demonstrate how their innovation addresses key market needs. It’s crucial to articulate a clear and compelling value proposition and practice pitching extensively to convey it convincingly,” Dr Medhat Aker, co-Founder of Aker Health runner up in the East of England heats 2022.

“Innovators are an incredibly interesting bunch, but some really struggle to articulate clearly who they are, what they do and why they are doing it.  Being able to clearly outline your business in one or two sentences is far more powerful, engaging and effective then having to explain who you are in a lengthy paragraph,” Jill Hilton – Tech Innovator lead for the north.

“It’s key to limit the information you are providing on the application to essential key points and really think about how you want to convey your message in order to capture the judge’s attention in a really simple and comprehensive way,” Salvatore Di Maggio – Tech Innovator lead for the east of England.

No jargon please.  A lot of the founders that enter the competition are rightly passionate about their technology and what it can do, but being able to explain what your technology does in simple terms is really important.  Tim Cross – Tech Innovator lead for London.

“We want to find businesses that think about and do things differently to drive growth and achieve their ambitions. Being innovative propels productivity and better outcomes for all,” Bina Mehta MBE, chair of KPMG and lead judge for the Tech Innovator UK final.

“The judges really need to be able to see your differentiator, you need to be clear and concise on how you are making a difference in the market in comparison to others in the space and crucially, to be able to demonstrate that your product or service has sufficient customer demand to allow your business to grow,” Josie Hart – lead for Tech Innovator in the UK.

“Think carefully about and portray the story behind the innovation. Articulate the problem you’re addressing – why and for who and the benefit your innovation offers and then get to the tech,” Ben Stuart, CEO of Leap AI and winner of the Scottish heat 2023.

In summary, our top tips for a successful application are:

  • Demonstrate why you fit the application criteria
  • Don’t waffle – keep it short and simple
  • No jargon! Clearly explain what you do in simple terms
  • Demonstrate why the business is different and innovative in the market
  • Clearly define what your growth opportunities are

Applications for the Tech Innovator in the UK competition are closing on Wednesday, 15 May 2024. You can find out more here – what do you have to lose?

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