Startup Zone helping local businesses with their presentation skills

Published on August 12, 2017

Doug Keefe, interim CEO of Startup Zone, said a good pitch grabs someone’s attention right away and maintains positive energy throughout the presentation.


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Sometimes a good pitch can be all that stands in the way of a business getting an investor or communicating the value of a product to a customer. 

To help local businesses at any stage in their development refine the art of the pitch, Startup Zone is holding a competition for 12 finalists on Aug. 23.

What makes this different from other competitions is this one is scheduled to have well-known pitch coach, Permjot Valia, on hand to educate finalists on delivering a successful presentation.

“You’ll submit your idea, but then we’re going to work with you to take it to that next step,” said Doug Keefe, interim CEO of Charlottetown’s Startup Zone.

A good pitch involves clearly communicating the value of the product but also grabs someone’s attention right away and maintains positive energy throughout the presentation, Keefe said.

At the end of a good pitch, the investor or consumer should be willing to take action and proceed to the next step for what was presented.

On the other hand, pitches probably have “more ways they go wrong than right,” said Keefe.

One common sign of a bad pitch is low energy or low engagement levels.

“Your passion for the subject doesn’t really come through. That’s something that is really tangible,” he said.

“Whenever somebody is listening to your pitch, if you’re not invested, they’re not invested.”

Another way pitches go bad is by having a “me” focus, said Keefe.

“People will talk about the benefit to themselves as a company as opposed to the benefit that the company is delivering to the person.”  

The competition required potential contestants to submit short video pitches online to Startup Zone earlier this month.

The top prize involves airfare and tickets to the SingularityU Canada Summit on Oct. 11- 12 in Toronto. Startup Zone is a community partner and sponsor for the summit and will be live streaming the event in Charlottetown.

The Charlottetown competition and awards event is scheduled for Aug. 23 beginning at 6 p.m. on at Startup Zone’s Queen Street location.

Keefe didn’t hesitate to say that another pitch competition will be held again in the near future.

“It’s an important skill for companies, regardless of what stage they’re at. It’s one of those things where you’re never going to hit perfection. So, it’s always something, no matter where you’re at, that you’re going to have to commit to it.”