Saturday 22 September 2018

Pitch Perfect: Have you got what it takes to impress these judges?

Meet the judges behind the Samsung and Image female entrepreneur contest. If you make the winning pitch, maybe one day we’ll be writing about your business story and accolades…

Technology powerhouse Samsung is teaming up with the thinking woman’s title, Image, to run a Dragon’s Den-style competition for female entrepreneurs. The contest is open to those who have established a start-up company on or before January 1st and driven their idea from bare-bones concept to relative success. Applicants will be required to fill out a questionnaire on outlining the specifics of their business, achievements, challenges and commercial expectations. A video submission – in which entrants further sell the merits of their business – should also be included on this platform. From reactivity to digital outlook, these judges will all be looking for different elements of commercial savviness.

Jo Malone CBE – Entrepreneur and founder of Jo Loves

Renowned for her exquisite candles and fragrance, Jo Malone has become a household name. And the signature cream and black of the eponymous brand has come to represent luxury, high-end sophistication and perfect gifting. Jo Malone was recently awarded a CBE by the Queen for her services to the British economy on a global scale. How did this perfumer reach these high echelons of success in her career? Jo has been involved in the perfume industry for over 20 years. From humble beginnings of conjuring homemade scents in her apartment, she amassed a following and then – global acclaim. Jo sold Jo Malone to Estée Lauder in 1999 but continued to work there as creative director until 2006. Though she was initially contemplating a break from the cosmetics industry, the draw of scents was too great. Jo Malone jumped back into all things perfume in 2013 with her latest creation, Jo Loves. A resilient and adaptable businesswoman, Jo Malone is the essence of a successful self-starter.

Bobby Kerr – Broadcaster and founder of the Insomnia Coffee Company

You might know Bobby Kerr as the host of Newstalk's most popular business programmes Down to Business and Bobby's Late Breakfast. Or perhaps you recognise him as one of the original Dragons on Dragon's Den. No doubt you regularly seek your caffeine fix at his coffee venture – Insomnia. Yes, Bobby Kerr is everywhere. Whether a Dragon, broadcaster or business founder, one of Bobby’s main motivators is helping other would-be entrepreneurs thrive. He is, to put it simply, a born mentor. And this is someone who knows what they’re talking about. His own business, the Insomnia Coffee Company, has grown exponentially over the past 20 years to become one of Ireland’s most recognisable – and popular – coffee spots. Bobby Kerr has taken a step back from Insomnia to devote more of his time to helping start-ups bring their ideas to life.

Conor Pierce – Vice President for Mobile Division, Samsung UK & Ireland

For the past 17 years, Samsung’s very own Conor Pierce has been at the cutting edge of new technological and digital developments. Some of the biggest launches across Nokia and Samsung have had Conor Pierce at their helm. Conor knows that digital is constantly striding forward and that in order to appeal to the ‘always-on’ generation, businesses need to be reactive and tech-savvy. In this contest, Conor will be looking out for entrepreneurs who share his digital outlook.

Linda Nolan – Head of Marketing, Samsung Ireland

These days, marketing is considered to be integral to the success of a business. As Samsung Ireland’s recently appointed Head of Marketing, Linda Nolan knows the Irish business landscape inside and out. She has worked in the mobile and tech industry for over 17 years – cutting her teeth at Hewlett-Packard before moving to Samsung, where she quickly moved through the ranks. Like Conor, Linda is a bastion of tech-savviness and digital innovation.

Clodagh Edwards – CEO, IMAGE Publications

IMAGE magazine is regarded as a trusted source for women’s fashion, lifestyle and critical opinion. Steering the direction of this publication powerhouse is Clodagh Edwards. Previously commercial director, she took on the role of CEO in 2015 with the objective of shaking up the perception of IMAGE in the marketplace. She has completely revitalised a respected ¬– yet old – title and ushered in a new era of cool. IMAGE is now a multi-platform media business, tapped into every element of life for women in Ireland. As someone who instigated the evolution of IMAGE publications, Clodagh knows about the importance of moving forward. Of adapting and changing with the times. She will be looking for that kind of reactive flexibility in this competition.

Your name here…

Want to join the ranks of respected business founders, entrepreneurs and innovators? Don’t miss your chance. Consider this your ‘opportunity has come knocking’ moment. If you’ve started your own business (any time on or before January 1st, 2016) and fancy getting more exposure for your brand – not to mention some super fabulous tech – then this is your chance. Win up to €100,000 of business-enhancing prizes. Simply go to and complete the application form before midnight on Friday July 13th. Hey, forget the superstition this could be your lucky day. Good luck!

Sponsored by: Samsung

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