As part our strategy, we run a busy events programme throughout the year, to support our growing number of entrepreneurs and investors and 2019 kicked off in earnest, with a host of events in the first 6 weeks, including a drop-in clinic on the subject of Business Planning, aimed at entrepreneurs. Over the course of the day Bridge consultant John Garland held six 1:1 sessions with individual entrepreneurs, to discuss and provide advice around their business plans. 

In January we also welcomed more than forty budding entrepreneurs from the Junior Achievement Company Programme, co-hosted by the team from JA Alumni Isle of Man for an insightful set of talks to help the students prepare for the forthcoming competition. Topics included; ‘An overview of Bridge Angel Network’ from Katie Nicholson, ‘Pitching with Confidence’ from John Garland, ‘Creating a Social Media Strategy’ from Manx Marketing Exchange plus an engaging Q&A session with Simon Powell, founder of the successful and disruptive travel brand Transfer Travel. Students also learned more about the Isle of Man’s JA Alumni group and the opportunities available to them once the competition has finished.

Following on from the busy JA event, we held an interactive panel event ‘Choosing the right business model for your organisation’, hosted by Katie Nicholson with Bridge sponsors Mike Phillips (Sure IOM), Chris Gledhill(PDMS) and Stephen Trimble (Continent 8 Technologies) in attendance. The panel shared valuable insights and expert tips for start/scale-up and established businesses on how to stay nimble, focus on your customers, not lose sight of customer value, be adaptable and not be afraid to innovate and pivot in business. 

Some key takeaways from the expert panel included;

“A focus on customers and customer value is absolutely fundamental for any business model” Mike Phillips (CEO, Sure IOM). 

“Be aware of the external environment and whatever is happening, retain focus and don’t panic.” Chris Gledhill (Managing Director, PDMS).

“Don’t be afraid to pivot if things aren’t going as expected. Being agile, responsive and aware of external factors is absolutely crucial” Stephen Trimble (Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Continent 8 Technologies).

To round off a busy January, we held the first quarterly pitch event of 2019, which took place at The Embassy Room in Douglas. Bridge Manager, Katie Nicholson, commented: 

“As many will know, a hugely important part of our strategy is to facilitate real connections between entrepreneurs and private investors and our quarterly pitch events are becoming increasingly popular. We’re seeing a growing number of requests from start-ups wanting to join the network and pitch to our investor base and our most recent pitch event which took place on 30th January was one of our busiest to date. 

“We welcomed many new faces and heard some fantastic pitches from high calibre start-ups, all on whom were on top form as they pitched their ideas to an audience of experienced investors. 

“We are incredibly passionate about the part we play in developing the island’s entrepreneurial eco-system and as a network, the entrepreneur and investor community is at the heart of what we do. Being more visible and accessible was one of our main drivers for moving our operations to Barclays Eagle Lab in Victoria Street, where we’ve since worked together on a number of events, including ‘The Journey of an Entrepreneur’ event. 

Having a collaborative approach ensures we work closely with lots of other entities including Isle of Media, The Department for Enterprise, the Engine House in Castletown, the Chamber of Commerce and local not-for-profit Junior Achievement Isle of Man, amongst others.

Katie continued:

“We’ve had an extremely busy start to the year and we’re delighted with the numbers we’ve seen at each event. February’s speed networking event also saw a full house of more than 50 entrepreneurs meeting new and like minded people at the Eagle Lab and has had some excellent feedback. We’re also already at capacity for our first start-up surgery workshop - ‘The Resilient Entrepreneur’ with Heidi Dalgliesh from ‘Thrive Coaching and Personal Development’ on 26th February, which is great to see.”

To find out more about how to join the network of entrepreneurs,

Investors and mentors, or to register for future events, visit