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13th December 2021

Think it, pitch it, do it: The Mancunion talks to winners of Pitch It!

The winners of the SU scheme Pitch It! have been announced, The Mancunion caught up with two of the winning societies
Think it, pitch it, do it: The Mancunion talks to winners of Pitch It!
Photo : The Mancunion

Pitch It! is a student scheme run by Masood Entrepreneurship Centre (MEC) and the Students’ Union working to provide funding for student-led events and activities.

The scheme gives student groups an opportunity to secure funding to revamp or support their activities while practicing entrepreneurial skills. You can apply for £250 to £1000 to support your society alongside benefitting from hands on mentoring from MEC professionals.

The winners of this years funding were Gigs and Bands Society and Barbershop Singers who both won £1000, next were UoM Feminist Collective who won £750 but were also the fan favourite of the panellists so won an extra £250. Quiz Society and Astrobiology also both won £750.

We caught up with Gigs and Bands Society and UoM Feminist Collective to find out what they will be spending their money on.

Photo: Gigs and Bands Society

We spoke to Robbie Beale, the chair of GABS to find out more about the Pitch It! process and his plans to host a student music festival after exams.

“I applied for Pitch It! funding to grow Gigs and Bands Society (GABS). We would love to put on a large-scale music festival in June 2022 after exams! By taking part not only did we raise the profile of the society but it meant I could learn some valuable skills on pitching my creative ideas and working with my committee to find new ways to fund our projects. 

Since September, we have put on 9 events, had over 1000 attendees, hosted 22 bands and 40 solo artists and DJs and made over £800 to pay the acts. We have also hosted charitable events supporting Once a Month & Fallowfield and Withington Foodbank and this will continue for future events supporting student charities and societies. But what I love about GABS is how it’s not just about the musicians but about the sound engineers, photographers, videographers, lighting technicians, event organisers, poster designers etc. We all come together to celebrate our individual creative outlets. 

The application process was manageable to fit in alongside my studies, having worked for the University of Bath enterprise centre before, I had a little bit of prior knowledge on the pitching format, but everything else was relatively new. 

I found the overall experience rewarding, I couldn’t believe how much we won. To be honest though, even if we hadn’t won the funding, I still would’ve tried to put on a festival. This money just means we will be able to reach more people. This past couple of years, meeting new people has been so difficult and for creatives, opportunities have been so limited. With a GABS festival, which is yet to have a confirmed name, we can open up more chances for like-minded people to meet and work together. 

Our GABS mantra is, uplift creatives, encourage diversity and foster community and this is what the ethos of our festival will be. I would really recommend the Pitch It! process to any society looking to put on events in the future as it was a great way to not only win a good sum of money for GABS but also to learn some new skills and have professional training in leading a pitch.”

Photo: UoM Feminist Collective
Photo: UoM Feminist Collective

The Mancunion spoke to Jess Baxter, societies coordinator, for UoM feminist collective to learn more about their new community outreach programme focusing on STEM careers.

“As a society we are completely self funded, and whilst we find ways to still create effective projects and campaigns by funding it ourselves, Pitch It! was a great opportunity to remove financial barriers so we can start our latest project: our STEM community outreach programme. 

The application process was quite intuitive and very helpful. Writing pitches helped us refine our ideas for our project, and emphasise its importance to the university and wider Manchester community. Pitching along with other societies allowed us to connect with them and their projects.

It was so great to work with the collective (myself and our treasurer Sophie collaborated on this), it’s always rewarding when we come together for a project and it all goes well. 

Our society has a big focus on education, so next semester we are taking that to the wider Manchester community into local schools to talk about STEM. Students of marginalised identities are far less likely to pursue careers in STEM, so we are bringing our feminism and student speakers into schools to discuss the rewards and challenges of the field. We’ll help the students sharpen the skills they need for those careers and show them how to take their next steps towards their goals.

We weren’t alone during the application process, the SU were great! We had a brilliant workshop in the week before the finals and received a lot of advice on how to improve our pitches before we gave them. We knew why the programme was important and deserved funding, but it was helpful to learn how to communicate that to others and persuade the MEC to give us funding.

We also have many other projects running currently, including our new, gender inclusive, menstruation-themed diaries! If you buy a diary you automatically get entered into our raffle to win a bundle of prizes, donated by FemSoc and some small businesses run by UoM students! You can find more info at @uomfeministcollective on Instagram. We also have a Discord you can join through the Instagram to stay up to date with the collective.”

Jess Walmsley

Jess Walmsley

Editor-in-Chief 21/22

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