Media Release: Business Navigator Pitch Challenge returns

The Business Navigator Pitch Challenge returns in 2020 to provide local businesses the chance to win a share of over $30,000 prize money.

The Pitch Challenge is a friendly shark-tank style event where entrants deliver their new business or growth idea to a panel of judges, under two categories; New Business Idea and Business Growth Idea.

There is also a third category which is an exciting People’s Choice category allowing family, friends and community members to attend the finals and vote for the idea they think most likely to succeed.

Finalists will receive one-on-one coaching to focus their idea and deliver with confidence.

It's the flagship competition of Business Navigator Western Downs, a business growth and innovation advisory service partnering with owners of new and developing businesses in the Western Downs to accelerate their ideas. 

Business Navigator is a Shell’s QGC business program delivered in partnership with Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise.

Lead business coach Ariane de Rooy said the small team provides strategy, finance and marketing advice as well as hands-on assistance to help commercialise ideas and achieve business growth objectives. 

“We partner with clients to introduce new ways of thinking about their business, develop and implement business goals and plans, source funding and connect leaders with other industry experts,” she said. 

Shell’s QGC operations manager Nagaraj Ramaraj said the business was proud to support the region’s economic development through this innovative partnership.

“We’re looking forward to hearing more great ideas at the Pitch Challenge in 2020 and seeing the continued growth of businesses across the Western Downs,” he said.

The Pitch Challenge is open to new and existing businesses of any size within the Western Downs region.

Pitch Challenge legends offer encouragement

Winner of Best Growth Idea in the 2018 Pitch Challenge, David Abbott, has continued development of his unique steel picket driving concept, a system which enables safer and more efficient rural fencing installation.

“Being a part of the Business Navigator Pitch Challenge gave me the confidence to move forward with my idea, and the Business Navigator team continue to be helpful with getting it to prototype stage,” Mr Abbott said.

Chinchilla’s Candice Mason, who owns Australian craft store My Felt Lady, was also part of the Pitch Challenge in 2018 and encourages innovators and businesspeople to use the challenge as a way of growing their skills.

“Being part of this competition was a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to develop my business further.”

“I’ve recently returned from a hugely successful stand at the Brisbane Craft & Quilt Fair through Intocraft and am looking forward to growing further in 2020,” said Ms Mason.

Applications open online from 15 November 2019.  To enter, head to

The Business Navigator Pitch Challenge Finals will be held in Chinchilla on 19 March 2020.

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