World IP Day pitch event – IP and SMEs: Taking your ideas to market
The Mathys & Squire Scaleup Quarter team hosted a virtual pitch event on Monday 26 April 2021 to celebrate World IP Day. The theme for 2021 was ‘IP and SMEs: Taking your ideas to market’.
With SMEs making up over 99% of all UK businesses and contributing around half of all business turnover in the UK, the importance of supporting such businesses in their growth and development is clear for driving economic recovery and human progress. A recent study found that companies that own at least one patent, registered design or trade mark generate 55% higher revenue per employee than companies that do not own IP rights. The Mathys & Squire team works with SME businesses to help protect their IP assets with an aim of creating value from their innovative and creative ideas, so this year’s World IP Day provided the ideal opportunity to hear from some of those early-stage businesses and provide feedback from experts in the investment and business mentorship communities.
The pitching session involved six UK-based startup/SME companies, successfully shortlisted from a larger group of applicants, which presented to a panel of expert judges, including: Roderick Beer, Managing Director at UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA); Fernanda Almanza, Senior Investment Manager at Raising Partners; Angus Baker, Senior Programme Manager at Enterprise Hub – Royal Academy of Engineering; and Mathys & Squire partners Andrew White and Anna Gregson.
Once all six finalists’ pitches had been presented and the judges had deliberated, Mira Nameth, Founder of Biophilica, was announced the winner. Biophilica transforms green waste into a plant-based leather alternative that is compostable, recyclable as green waste, estimated carbon-neutral, and made locally. Mira’s pitch centred around Biophilica’s journey to date in producing its first material, Treekind™, which offers a circular alternative to leather and its synthetic competitors to support the transition to manufacturing and consumption that is local, carbon zero, and sustainable. When asked what advice Mira would give to an entrepreneur looking to launch their business, she responded:
“Stay focused on your core product and bring it to market. Don’t get distracted.”
Mathys & Squire partner, Andrew White commented: “Biophilica stood out to all the judges as not only a strong business opportunity, with potential for patent protection, but also a direct response to current consumer concerns relating to sustainability – particularly in the fashion industry. We would also like to thank everyone who participated with their excellent pitches and wish them the best of success with their innovations. It has been a real privilege to meet the candidates and learn more about their businesses and journeys.”
The Mathys & Squire Scaleup Quarter team was pleased to award the winner a £3,000 cash prize to support Biophilica’s journey to market.
A version of this article was published by SME Today in April 2021.