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How to create a convincing pitch deck to win your start-up awards

Want to validate your business idea and gain valuable feedback? Here’s four tips on perfecting your pitching skills for judges and investors

A convincing pitch deck is your ticket to the finals of start-up competitions and awards, and also to productive discussions with investors. So it is worth investing the time and energy needed in order to perfectly present your business idea.

With the Green Alley Award’s currently open for entries – Europe's only prize for start-ups in the circular economy – the entrepreneurial team behind the awards have created four top tips on how to create a convincing presentation containing all the necessary information.

And who knows, maybe your start-up will be the next winner!

A tailored presentation

Do you have a general presentation about your business idea? Great, now look at what the judges of the start-up award you want to apply for are particularly focused on.

If you send the same generic pitch presentation to all investors or competitions you greatly reduce your chances of making a good impression. Therefore always make sure to customise your application and adapt it to each specific award.

For example, when preparing your pitch deck for the Green Alley Award, you should make it absolutely clear how your idea relates to waste. It is fine to have a basic presentation up your sleeve, but you should always adapt this basic presentation to each application. Find out what your target audience values and what they want to know, and make sure this is exactly what is in your pitch deck.

Get to the point

No one knows your business idea as well as you do. You are the specialists and know every detail. The trick is to clearly explain your idea to others who are new to it. Too much detailed knowledge or technical information will only overwhelm your audience. Summarise your idea in a short and concise manner, before you discuss specific facts and details.

The most logical approach is to first state the issue that you will solve with your business idea, and then discuss how your product, service or technology can contribute to a solution. Work out what the demand is and what benefits you can offer your customers. Tell your story with passion and emotion; after all, you want to convince a judging panel to believe in your idea.

Use clear and convincing images or graphics in order to further enhance your business plan. But what really matters is to show how you can make money from your idea. After all, you will only be successful if you have a market and customers who are willing to pay for your product!

Stay focused

Once the recipient of your pitch deck has understood the basic business idea, you can provide more details and facts. This is essential; because it is the only way a judge or investor can get an accurate picture of your start-up and assess its potential.

It can be helpful to base your pitch deck on a specific template, to make sure you don’t forget any important aspects of your business model. Our application guidelines for the Green Alley Award 2015 provide a great example of the perfect structure of a pitch deck. This will help you to make sure that you answer all the relevant questions about your business idea, such as: how you can provide a solution to a problem with your product, service or technology, who your customers are, how big your market potential is, which business model you are pursuing, how your team is set up, how your finances look, what your goals and milestones are, and where you are currently located.

You may not be able to answer all of these questions in detail, especially in the early stages of a company, and this is not a problem. You just need to show that you have you given some thought to these questions.

Practice makes perfect

A good pitch, especially one presented verbally, must be practiced to help you feel confident with it. So pitch and present your business idea as often as you can. Pitches can help you to obtain valuable feedback on your business idea, and to continuously improve it.

Even if your business concept is still in its infancy, it is important to get feedback on your idea from potential buyers or investors as soon as possible. This feedback will allow you to continually optimise and adjust your pitch and business model to reflect the realities of your chosen market.

We therefore recommend that you take part in as many competitions as possible and practice, practice, practice!

The Green Alley Award offers eco- entrepreneurs and green start-ups the opportunity to perfect their pitch, and the chance to win a prize package worth up to €20,000! Apply now at


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