Pitch Platform is a ‘Dragon Den’s’ style initiative supporting successful applicants with additional funding, engineering expertise or other specialist services in order to develop their solutions for use on the railway.

The scheme is open to all organisations from both within and outside Network Rail’s existing supply chain. Whilst no organisation is prevented from applying, Pitch Platform is specifically aimed at harnessing the innovation and flexibility of SMEs.

The Pitch Platform process

All submissions are reviewed by a panel of specialists from across Network Rail.

Products identified by our specialists as being potentially beneficial are invited for a more in-depth panel discussion. Successful applicants will receive additional funding or specialist support to develop and/or tailor their products to fit the specific needs of the railway. They are also supported through the procurement process and trial implementations across relevant regions or functions.

What we’re looking for

The idea to create this scheme was the result of a conversation between our commercial director Ken Blackley and a small business owner whose company manufactures technology that monitors and alerts a range of metrics such as movement, temperature and distance. This was used in the London 2012 Olympics to ensure all the boats competing in sailing were clearing the markers on the course.

With no background in the rail industry, the product owners had not realised how the same technology could be applied to the railway to monitor challenges such as land movement on embankments or track temperature. Within a few minutes, a new product had been brought to our attention and we were able to support the business by getting their idea in front of the right people within Network Rail – a challenge many SMEs can relate to.

We want to find innovative solutions that can help us achieve our goals. from increasing efficiencies and driving down costs to improving safety or becoming more environmentally friendly.

We want to hear from you, so submit your application by emailing Ken Blackley

Next steps

We might invite you to a video conference call to find out more detail. The Network Rail panel will then decide which ideas to progress and we will inform you by telephone of the outcome. If you are successful, you will be assigned a nominated Network Rail manager who will work with you to develop or tailor your solution more specifically to Network Rail’s requirements. This usually takes around 12 weeks.

Each successful supplier will then return for a subsequent meeting and a final pitch of their developed idea. At this point we will make a final decision as to whether we progress with your solution. There are no limits on the number of ideas we take forward. If you are successful, then we will work with you to agree next steps including the roll out of trials and the most appropriate fast track procurement route.

We will publish a list of successful submissions once the final stage has been completed.

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