The flagship Pitching for Management January event was held in the etc. venue on Bonhill St., located right by Google Campus (convenient for me – as I was next door!). The change in venue coincided with a smaller than usual audience – which is I assume just a blip.

I missed the sponsors’ pitches, but I’ve seen them before, so I have an insight into what they will have covered. Russam Business Network works with the Pitching for Management Brand to promote their event. RBM typically brings in a substantial fraction of the audience at each gathering. I personally am registered on their network of experienced management talent looking for new roles or opportunities. However, I have yet to see any results. Naturally, I ascribe this mainly to my unruly behaviour and scruffy appearance, rather than any lack of general competence on their part. Marks and Clerk also spoke, and advised on protecting IP for entrepreneurs. I’ve previously heard their seminar on registered designs, and found it to be very helpful.

And now, without further ado, to the pitches:

Market Mavens were looking for support to grow their recruitment firm, which specializes in placing MBAs into internship and graduate roles. The challenge with such a business model is that it can prove difficult to scale. At the first level, once the reputation and contacts of the founders has been overwhelmed by business expansion, it can become difficult to sustain the ‘personal touch’ as the business grows. Beyond this, an expanding team is likely to again face challenges in keeping a coherent ethos and capability profile on track as it grows. Accordingly, I feel this is a firm which will face challenges scaling, despite their comparatively novel approach of intern-to-perm recruiting.

Nigel Ayres from World of Expats was looking to recruit to develop their business which the expat community & industry with publications and trade shows. They need people with a sensitivity to the needs of the community, likely gained through personal contact with expats and the businesses which serve them. Additionally, irrepressible business development tenacity is also the order of the day, as sales growth is likely to be a matter of hard slog, as well as potentially taking short cuts gleaned from personal contacts.

Terry Hook from Asource Global intrigued me. Their role as FSA-facing consultants for the financial services industry was news to me. I didn’t realise that there was a role tantamount to that of a barrister, targeted solely at resisting the blustering, ineffectual intrusions of the FSA into the operation of a financial firm. I personally wouldn’t have the patience to deal with these public-sector buffoons, as they cack-handedly try to prevent a re-run of the financial crisis (largely, I expect, by repeating and extending exactly what didn’t work before). Nevertheless, where there’s muck there’s brass – and the firm needs help to expand its outreach and service to blue-chip financiers looking to bat away the quango-numpties without incident.

I’ve seen the compelling Camilla Shaugnessy from Eventful Stays pitch before, and liked their model. They can perhaps be described as a ‘posh’ version of Airbnb, specializing in luxury facilities near high-class events, such as Ascot and the Edinburgh fringe. Whether they manage to carve out a lucrative niche in a competitive space remains to be seen – but they certainly have many of the right ingredients. This includes an engaging CEO, a clued-in approach to development and a reasonable amount of tractoin.

Russ Lewis from Storm Software Consultancy specializes in flying out various flavours of geek to fulfill expat assignments, such as in the Gulf states. Like many people, I found the idea of a placement with high-earnings, low-tax and a cushy, hotel-dwelling lifestyle enough to make me tempted to spend a few months sitting in a sand dune working on an IT project. I’m sure I’m not alone, but growing the client base is typically the limiting factor. Accordingly, their key challenge is biz dev, and the pitch was centered on finding a route to growth for the firm.

Food and drink were provided, and the evening timing for the London event is not as intrusive into the working day as many PfM events. Added to this the great transport links and a (typically) larger audience makes this the one to attend if you only look to go to a single event. However, with their new season ticket option, all PfM events just got a whole lot more affordable and accessible.