Guernsey Venture Challenge

13th November 2022 - by Trevor Nicholls

This summer saw the inaugural Guernsey Venture Challenge organised and run by the Digital Greenhouse and backed by the main sponsor, Blenheim Chalcot, a leading global venture-building company.

After we heard about this opportunity, there was no hesitation; we were all in for the experience and oh boy, what a journey it has been so far. The timing for us was perfect, until recently we have been in a long development phase getting our platform to the point it’s ready for customers. But we needed to change gear; the new challenge we faced was reaching these customers and telling them about what we’ve built. The thing is, we are not marketing experts or salespeople, and the question we kept asking ourselves was, ‘where do you get those skills, knowledge and help?’

We hoped the Guernsey Venture Challenge could help us answer these questions. Even the application process was a learning curve; the questions made us think about some of the details that, until now, had been given very little attention or filed under “cross that bridge”.

After putting a lot of effort into the application and addressing all the questions in as much detail as we could, I was very happy with our efforts. I thought we could go all the way in this process, right up to the point when we learned there were FIFTY-FIVE entries. I had no idea there were that many start-ups/entrepreneurs in Guernsey. Suddenly the odds were not in our favour.  

I put this process to the back of my mind, and we continued with our seemingly endless to-do list. So, it came as a bit of a shock when the email landed in my inbox, delivering the news we made the final, meaning we would get to pitch to a panel of judges at a public event, something that’s way outside our comfort zone.

Fortunately, in the intervening weeks, we were given a mentor from Blenheim Chalcot, Josie. Working with Josie was an absolute pleasure, and we are incredibly grateful for her support. She challenged our assumptions, posed interesting questions, and encouraged us in equal measure.

The pitch night was upon us in a flash; we had seven minutes to speak, followed by questions from the panel of judges. At first, I thought seven minutes would be hard to fill, but as it turned out, it was difficult to cut the pitch down to fit. However, sitting in the first row watching the first pitch, it again seemed like a very long time.

When our turn came, the seven minutes were over in a flash, and then it was time for the questions. It was a relief that the judge’s questions were nothing like I feared after watching Dragons Den. Thankfully we were second in the line-up, perfect in my opinion, not first, but get it over with, then enjoy the rest of the event.

The competition was tough, and the rest of the pitches reflected this. Mercifully, the decision had been made to announce the results on the night. The judges went away to make their decision, it took them about 30 minutes, but it felt longer.

The judges were back, and we fully expected to leave the process with just the experience we had gained so far. How wrong we were, and what a night!!

We are amazed, delighted, and humbled to have been awarded 2nd place. The cash prize is fantastic and will be used wisely, but possibly more valuable for us in the longer term is the next six months of mentoring and business support.

This whole process has pushed us to look at things from a different perspective and to stretch the boundaries of our comfort zone. That’s, as we are learning, how we grow and develop ourselves.