SMEs in the Tees Valley are invited to join a new initiative and gain FREE support from the Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator – ‘Life is a Pitch.’

‘Life is a Pitch’ will deliver a series of free workshops designed to help you pitch your innovative ideas to external collaborators and funders to achieve your business objectives.

This knowledge-sharing series of workshops will show you how to create a business strategy to support growth, explore and define your business vision, set objectives, analyse your business characteristics, develop plans of action and create your unique personalised pitch deck.

The Importance of Innovation

Innovation is recognised as one of the most effective ways of boosting growth, based on new ways of doing things to help you stay ahead of the competition.

There is an assumption that innovation is common sense and cannot be taught and that technical novelty is enough to make any business flourish. However, these two assumptions are hurting SME leaders in their efforts towards growth.

Innovation, as well as the art of presenting a solid business case to acquire the funds needed for growth, can be learned and developed just like any other skill. This starts with careful analysis of your capabilities and objectives through the creation of a solid strategy for growth.

The Life is a Pitch Offering

The Tees Valley Innovation team have joined forces with two multi award winning agencies for this knowledge-sharing opportunity; 100%Open and Sara Penrose Ltd.

Both agencies have an impressive track record of fostering growth in high-end organisations including Barclays, Ford, Innovate UK, Lego and Unilever, among others.

Participants will be invited to attend capability-building workshops that will be followed up with one-to-one sessions providing tailored support to solve your challenges and improve your bottom line, including:

  • A strategic development plan paired with a pitch deck for your innovation and business growth
  • A bespoke business model designed around your innovation to help highlight the flow of value generated by new ideas and the expected rewards
  • Development of the fundamental skills of critical thinking, lateral thinking and problem solving
  • Support with intellectual property (IP) management


The series of free workshops will help you improve your capacity to:

  • Question and challenge convention to gain facts and unbiased information
  • Examine information to quantify and qualify
  • Imagine outcomes, play with ideas and think unconventionally to understand the ‘bigger picture’
  • Create a workable plan to translate ideas into action, in line with your objectives
  • Sense check outputs, track the progress and measure your success
  • Acquire the strategic rationale to develop a development plan for your business growth
  • Examine the flow of value generated by a new idea
  • Create a ready-to-present ‘pitch deck’ to use either for private or public fund-raising

‘Life is a Pitch’ Programme Timeline

The following is a breakdown listing the free support you can take advantage of by registering to join this programme:

22 February – On Boarding Meeting: You will be introduced to the ‘Life is a Pitch’ series of workshops and have the opportunity to clarify the optimal participation pace for you, based on your own business needs.

1 March – Business Strategy Workshop: This workshop will give you the strategic rationale and development plan for your business’ innovation and growth. Covering the key strategic questions for any business, organisation or project, this workshop starts with a consideration of ‘why’ (objectives, values, motivations) and ends with ‘when’ (practical roadmap), leaving you agreed on a course of action.

8 March – Workshop for Optimisation: This highly interactive optimisation skills development programme features a fusion of creativity and process, bringing two powerful elements of performance together to achieve a greater impact. Creativity is a uniquely human attribute, generating ideas, communicating detail, exploring the unconventional and realising valuable potential, whereas process applies selective logic to ensure precision and consistency. This workshop will help you to:

  • Be creative – delegates paint a picture or write a story
  • Apply process – delegates learn and practise structured methods of work

Using creativity and process in unison will allow you to develop the skills needed to improve quality, efficiency and growth in your business.

28 March – Business Modelling Workshop: This workshop will teach you to use the Collaborative Business Canvas tool to create a distinctive and collaborative business model around your innovation. It helps you examine the flow of value generated by a new idea and sets out your expected contribution and reward. The Business Model Canvas was created by and adapted by 100%Open to focus on collaboration between businesses. It is key for business model prototyping where we encourage SMEs not to commit to a particular model too early, but to rapidly explore options, both radical and business-as-usual. We also use this tool to map out competitor models in order to differentiate from them.

26 April – IP Management and Protection Workshop: This final workshop will cover the basics of intellectual property rights, particularly focusing on the practical aspects of patents management, including how to search for patents, how to interpret them, the application process, licensing and enforcement.

Who Can Apply?

This support is available to any small or medium sized businesses (SMEs) – those with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million – who are registered with Companies House and based in the Tees Valley region (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland).

Time is running short and places are limited for this exciting free programme – find out more and apply to join ‘Life is a Pitch’ by emailing us at

Event Overview

Event Organiser:

Tees Valley Innovation

Event Dates:

Wednesday 22nd February 2023

Event Duration:

09:30 - 17:00

Event Cost:


Event Type:


Event Location: