Social entrepreneur goes from major surgery to glittering award success

Victoria Lee, founder of Glitter Beach, was one of five entrepreneurs pitching in the Edinburgh leg of The Pitch 2010 at the Royal College of Physicians on 8 July.
The Pitch, organised by BusinessZone.co.uk in association with directories business Yell, backed by Scottish Enterprise and partnered by Business Matters, is a competition that gives entrepreneurs the chance to present their business to high-profile experts, for the chance to win a prize package worth £50,000.
Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease two years ago, Lee was told she had only a month to live, and was forced to undergo a highly traumatic Ostomy operation, a procedure that creates an opening in the body for the discharge of waste.
Despite being given just a 4% chance of survival, Victoria proved to be a fighter, and following her treatment and lengthy recovery period, she decided to treat herself to a holiday. However, she was dismayed to find that the beachwear options for people with her condition were “horrific”.
The entrepreneur set out to design a range of swimwear that Ostomy patients could feel confident in by patenting a device which fits into the clothing and allows the pouch to be concealed. The device can be removed meaning that the products also appeal to the wider public. Victoria has big plans for her business, which include donating a percentage of her profits to a number of charitable projects she’s working on.
 
Lee emerged victorious after a panel of four judges including Karen Darby, a serial entrepreneur who currently runs social enterprise Call Britannia, selected her as the Scottish representative for The Pitch 2010 grand final in London in November.
 
Commenting on her victory, Lee said: “I’m ecstatic to have won The Pitch Scotland. My experiences have made me hugely passionate about helping people like myself deal with the effects of Ostomy procedures and the stigma that surrounds them.
 
“The Pitch Scotland has been an amazing experience and I can hardly wait for the grand final in November.”
 
Karen Darby added: “I was very impressed with the passion that Victoria showed, and I think with the right sort of business strategy, Glitter Beach has the potential to become a huge business.”
 
Joining Darby on the judging panel were Nick Price, managing director, Bright Purple Resourcing; Sukhi Ghuman, chief executive, Octavian Group and Mark Robinson, managing vice president sales and marketing, Hitachi Consulting.
 
Nick Price commented: I’m tremendously pleased with the success of The Pitch Scotland. Judging the competition was a fantastic experience, and it was extremely encouraging to see such a high standard of Scottish entrepreneurial talent. Glitter Beach is a worthy winner and I wish Victoria all the best for the grand final in November.”
The other contestants taking part in The Pitch 2010 Scotland heat were:
Flexpansion – an advanced word prediction program aimed at producing faster typing speeds, especially on mobile devices. Entered by Dr Timothy Williams 
Bloop – a mobile application for business networking at events. Designed by Sam Collins. 
Peekabu – gives promoters, advertisers and users the power to control their computer with a wave of the hand. Submitted by Alexander Cole 
Funky Wood – manufactures contemporary and bespoke designs of real wood skirting boards, door frames and doors. Submitted by Helen Proudman 
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