Entrepreneurs often struggle to communicate their value proposition to potential investors, customers and partners. Educating entrepreneurs and providing resources to strengthen their “pitch” can better prepare them to tell a stronger, more persuasive story to investors and other key influencers.

The Issue:

The “pitch” encompasses one of the most critical and well-known challenges an entrepreneur faces: successfully articulating the value of a company or idea to an audience whose primary motivation is to assess that company’s financial health and growth potential. Mastering this craft allows entrepreneurs to stand out from the crowd and establish credibility for themselves and their businesses. Unfortunately, the combination of communication savvy, confidence and familiarity with the audience doesn’t come naturally for most entrepreneurs.

The Solution:

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is a San Francisco-based non-profit that educates entrepreneurs while connecting them to key resources including mentorship, education, and networking. The Center partnered with experts across industries such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to put together a guide that sets entrepreneurs up for success through the various stages of a pitch. This guide, the Entrepreneur Pitch Toolkit, includes online resources to develop a “lean” pitch, create an effective presentation, overcome the fear of public speaking, negotiate deal terms, engage with the media, and to speak in a language that will resonate with potential investors.

The Impact:

Launched during the nationwide diversity tour for the CNBC hit show Shark Tank, the Entrepreneur Pitch Toolkit armed entrepreneurs across the country with a host of more impactful ways to share their story during their audition process – and beyond. Recently, one entrepreneur representing a San Francisco-based start-up leveraged the PR and media preparation resources in the Toolkit to better understand the journalist perspective in advance of a meeting with a large media company, “I was nervous, but the material made available in the ‘pitch toolkit’ gave me everything I needed to speak the right language and make all the relevant points quickly. This publication committed to a story and I got a couple key follow up meetings!”

How it applies to your city:

Entrepreneurs need a combination of hard financial skills and communications acumen to successfully pitch to investors. Given that social entrepreneurs come from less traditional business backgrounds, business and enablers can provide resources that help entrepreneurs refine their skills. Tailored materials that help entrepreneurs understand the nuance of engaging specific sectors or investor audiences are particularly valuable as they refine their pitch.