Tata #VP2023: Application Top Tips

4 min readJul 3, 2023


With applications for this year’s Tata Varsity Pitch Competition opening right around the corner, now’s the time to start preparing your applications for when #VP2023 goes LIVE.

To help you nail your application, we spoke to last year’s finalists to get their insights on what made them successful when submitting their video pitches, going to the Semi-Finals, and representing their category in the Grand Final.

Read their top tips below!

#1: Be Customer Focused

REALITY, Finalists in the Creative & Designed Category, shared the importance of being customer focused.

“Listen to your customers and really understand the problem you are trying to solve for them. They ultimately drive your business and are your biggest supporters.”

When building your business, be clear on what problem you’re trying to solve. This ensures you are addressing a gap in the market and are building a solution that customers need.

#2: Why YOU?

One of the key questions to answer in your pitch. Drill Surgeries, Winner of Tata #VP2022, highlighted why it is critical to demonstrate what makes you the best person to build this business.

Building a successful startup is not something you learn just from books. You need to create your own approach — a personal touch that will drive the attention towards you. What can you do differently in your strategy to keep the spotlight on your work and your passion?”

While ideas are great, startups are built by the team. So show us who is building your innovation!

Drill Surgeries pitching at the VP2022 Grand Final

#3: Ask for feedback

As important as it is to get feedback on your product, apply these same principles to your Tata #VP2023 application.

“Make the most of every person during the competition and keep in touch to see if they have any potential connections that could help you grow your business or sign post you in the right direction.”

Says BoxxDocks, Finalist in the Genuine Innovation category.

#4: It’s All About Iteration

Himayat, Finalist in the Social Impact category, shared their top tip.

“Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Sometimes it is that one additional customer interview that will unlock what your venture has been needing all along.”

As a founder, you’re continuously working to improve your startup. Often this will mean your idea ends up in a very different place from where you started, and that’s ok!

Don’t be afraid to show us in your application. Demonstrate how you’ve grown through your startup journey and what key findings you have discovered that have led your business to where it is today. Feedback will only make your business (and TVP application!) stronger.

#5: Build your Network

Building a startup is hard work, meaning it’s all the more important to surround yourself with people that can support you through your journey.

Moises from Drill Surgeries explained what he found most valuable from his interactions with Tata Varsity Pitch across the past several years.

“If you want to take full advantage of this opportunity, talk to everyone during the process. From the moment you apply, take every step of this competition to build relationships. It never hurts to have someone with your same ambitions as you to call and brainstorm ideas.”

No matter how far you get in the competition, connect with the people you meet, whether they’re mentors, industry experts, or fellow entrepreneurs.

Bonus Tip: Meet the Judging Criteria

We spoke to the team at NACUE and asked them what they look for when judging the incoming video pitches.

“Pay attention to the judging criteria when preparing your pitch and make sure that you hit every mark!”

There are three criteria (Innovation, Market Opportunity and Financial Viability) the judges will be looking for in your #VP2023 application, so make sure you explain how you meet these in your 60-second video pitch.

VP2023 Judging Criteria

Tata Varsity Pitch, powered by NACUE, is the UK’s leading pitch competition for student and recent graduate entrepreneurs. Finalists get access to an impressive line-up of mentors, participation in a 2-day skills bootcamp, guaranteed pitching feedback and a chance to win the National Title and £15,000 to launch their businesses.

Apply here when applications open.