Jenviev Azzolin, Co-Founder, PPLCONNECT, GITR Finalist 

You may have heard of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), but have you heard of Get in the Ring? The equivalent of a start-up boxing match (quite literally), Get in the Ring is an investment battle where the world’s top start-ups compete for the title of best start-up and a cash prize.

The competition is based out of Erasmus in the Netherlands, with local partners in countries worldwide. 2014 marks the first year Canada was invited to participate. With the local support of Futurpreneur, Canada, they selected the top five start-ups to represent Canada, as did the United States, followed by Mexico.  These country finalists then went on to face off in the North American finals last week held in Kansas City, Missouri.

We (the PPLCONNECT team) were selected in Canada’s top five finalists. Yay! We were flown to Kansas City (thanks to the Kauffman Foundation – which hosted the final competition), to compete for the title of North America’s #1 start-up! The format consisted of four questions to be answered in only 25 seconds each! Here’s what we had to answer:

1) What is your Business Model and Market?

2) How do you make money?

3) Tell us about your team.

4) What are your notable achievements?

This is the ultimate test to pitch your business. Here is the live coverage from the ‘Get in the Ring’ finals. See for yourself, the top start-up pitches of the night and learn from the best. To fast-forward to PPLCONNECT, start watching from the 12 minute mark!

Some tips to polish up your pitch can be found on the Kauffman Foundation site. Here are some of our learnings and pitching Dos and Don’ts.


  • Be confident & passionate! (we received a lot of feedback on how PPLCONNECT spoke with confidence)
  • Tell a story with Similes, Analogies and Metaphors. We highly recommend Nathan Gold’s segment on this
  • Craft a “Wow” Statement (to get people interested and wanting to know more)
  • Know your audience (we pitched to both investors, entrepreneurs and field experts, and needed to take that into account)
  • Make your team shine (be sure to highlight the amazing people that make your business unique!)


  • Waste time (whether you are in an investor meeting or in a 25 second pitch, time matters! Make sure you don’t go over time in either situation)
  • Be a bore. Make sure to have fun, smile and be engaging
  • Practice like a madman/woman (we practiced to the point of near insanity, but you need to make sure you know your stuff inside and out!

We were proud to represent Canada in the top 8 start-ups throughout North America. Thank you to all the fans for your continued messages of support for PPLCONNECT, to the Kauffman Foundation for organizing the North American Start-up finals and to Futurpreneur Canada for their support here in Canada, since the beginning.

For more on the event, visit:

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