Open Mic Arena

The Open Mic Arena invites big thinkers and early-stage innovators to pitch fresh new ideas to a panel of experts. It’s a great opportunity to get noticed and get valuable feedback.

Open Mic pitching is back...

Back by popular demand, the open mic pitching sessions will be running again at #VFS18.

Participants are invited to open their lungs and share new thinking with a panel of experts and innovative peers. Do it for fame, do it for feedback, but most of all do it to win the chance for investment!


Open mic pitching was hugely popular last year so this year we have increased the space and number of sessions to make sure we can accommodate as many pitches as possible.

Hosted by Ed Gould, Creative Director at award-winning creative communications agency, Carswell Gould, the sessions are all about sharing big ideas with the innovation community and having the opportunity to pitch for big investment.

Participants can sign up on the day or by using the form below, but when the slots are gone, they’re gone!

Interested? Find out how to join in:


There are a total of 20 pitching slots available on the day, spread over three sessions:

  • 10:00 – 11:15 (6 pitches)
  • 12:00 – 13:00 (6 pitches)
  • 14:00 – 15:30 (8 pitches)

We will allocate you a session.


Every participant will get a total of:

  • 2 mins to set up
  • 3 mins to present
  • 5 mins for scores and feedback

These are strict timings and failure to meet them will affect your final results.

Feedback and judging

The aim is to impress the panel of judges who will score each presentation out of 10 based on the following criteria:

  • The idea
  • How it is presented
  • How investible the idea is
  • Growth potential

Reasons to take part

This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase big ideas and new thinking, meet potential partners and get valuable feedback/input from innovators, investors and entrepreneurs.

This is a fun, relaxed and encouraging environment to test out pitching skills but it is a competition, and the winner won’t just take home enviable bragging rights.

The prize

The participant with the highest score of the day will win enviable bragging rights plus the chance to pitch their idea to some of the UK’s top innovation investors in the Investment Zone. This will be a 5 minute pitch which could result in investment and truly valuable support to grow an idea into a successful business.