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Supporting Startup Businesses in Singapore

Female Founders Pitch Festival, March 7th 2024

In March 2024, to mark International Women’s Day, two of Singapore’s leading networks for entrepreneurs, CRIB and Launchpad will host the Female Founders Pitch Festival. It is a chance for shortlisted startup businesses in Singapore to pitch to investors, Dragon’s Den style!

As a sponsor of this event, I am prepping the founders for their moment in the spotlight. I am their on-site Pitch Coach - watching their final rehearsals and providing essential feedback and suggestions to supercharge the impact they make. I will be helping them to establish great stage presence and a convincing speaking style to match their powerful startup ambitions. I am proud to be part of this event which not only amplifies female voices in business but actively works to help them get funding. We need action just like this to build off all the talk that is generated by IWD.

Why do startup founders need help with their pitch?

You might be thinking that no one is more prepared and connected to their message than a passionate startup founder. After all, they may have been bootstrapping their idea from the get-go, pouring blood, sweat and tears into the fledgeling business. And they certainly have to pitch time after time after time to reach their goals. To some extent you are right - startup founders are hugely inspiring to me with their vision, their courage, their ambition and passion that pushes them through challenges toward the success that they believe is possible.

But, having run specialist workshops for startup businesses in Singapore, I have discovered three challenges they face in giving a winning pitch:


Passion felt on the inside is not always visible on the outside.
Stories that make sense in the startup world may not ‘translate’ well to an audience of investors.
Pitching is scary. And that fear can do really strange things to your pitching capabilities!

Let’s tackle these in reverse order:

Fear - stage fright and nerves when giving a pitch

My finalists are preparing to step on stage. And not only that, but the stakes are also raised as this is a competition. This is a heady combination of pressure on our dear founders. They will be exposed and alone on stage and desperately wanting to see smiling and nodding from the wise and wily investor panel. The fear response is a very human one. It is for survival. When our founders feel this sense of threat to their (business) survival the brain instantaneously sets off the fight or fight mechanism which creates symptoms like butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms (sweaty everything!), trembling legs, the list goes on. So, the first thing I will be trying to do is to quench this fear. This takes some mental and some physical solutions and what works for one person may not work for the next. That’s why I will be customising my sessions to each individual. Rehearsal plays a massive role in conquering the pre-show jitters too (read more on my blog here) so I am delighted that the organisers have arranged for our sessions to be at the actual venue.

Stories – crafting a story that sells

A timeline is not a story. “Three years ago I realised I wanted to start a business…then I did this thing…then I did that….” At best it is a history lesson and at worst it is a list that will put people to sleep. So, founders beware of telling the chronological tale of your journey so far, not all of these moments warrant time in your allotted 5 minute pitch. Instead, I will be listening for the standout moments in the journey. These should be zoomed in on by our storyteller. I want to see the founders tell a specific story with lots of imagery, action, struggle, suspense and a hero – their business idea – to save the day. I will also be on the lookout for jargon that could be simplified. Sure, investors are really smart people, but they are also very busy and make quick decisions, so let’s use terms and language that does not need to be decoded or worse, Googled, by the audience we are trying to influence.

Passion – how to connect with your audience when pitching

Are you “thrilled to have the opportunity”, “delighted to be here”, “really concerned about the state of x, y or z”?  Are you just telling people these things or are you showing them too? I am forever in favour of speakers telling the audience how they feel. It creates connection. It humanises the experience for everyone. But….did your face and voice get the memo?! Sometimes due to nerves, lack of awareness or experience we talk about our feelings but we are not showing it. Your passion may be real, but you have not yet learned how to show it through your tone, body and twinkle in the eyes. These are speaking skills that, as a theatre actor, I have worked on as part of my core skill set. So, I look forward to helping my founders speak with the expression that matches the story (and no I don’t teach them to fake it!).  We need to boost their self awareness, provide an outside perspective and provide guidance on making sure your whole body is warmed up and ready to deliver.

Will I see you there?

I can’t wait to get to work and then witness the results at this event. If you would like to join us and cheer on these Female Founders you can get your tickets here.

Where to get help with your startup business pitch in Singapore?

If you, or a startup founder you know, is in need of some pitching help you can contact me through my website to arrange your own training session. Read about my workshop for founders here.

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