There are rare moments in life where I feel like I’m channeling Eminem – today was one of them.
We had the pitch nailed, ah dog it was tight
We were running at 5.30 as we spat lyrics the previous night
Legs crossed, hands steady, thoughts turned to what might
Happen if I choked on stage, or like dropped the mic…
But before we could deliver the pitch, was the networking event.
Speed dating style, I was fortunate to speak a farmer partnering with super markets to grow food on their rooftops; a member of a team developing polymers on a nano scale that could trap light inside a nano-sized ‘box’; and a legal guy who was providing advice and standards to food shops to tackle illegal waste disposal and a certification scheme – very cool chaps!
Following on from this, was the Plastic Round table – discussions lead by experts, which would develop as the teams moved around the tables, designed to stimulate conversation tackling plastic waste; Tech vs. Consumer behaviour to create change; Is Biodegradable ‘good enough’?; How can we stop plastic waste in the Oceans?
It lead to some very heated debates, I could hear Amanda on another table educating her table on various terms like ‘biodegradable’, ‘biopolyer’ and the propoerties of cornstarch/PLA/PHAs.
Stepping up into a fresh, new threads, Amanda and I began our vocal warm ups, and jumped around to dispel our jittery energy and unite as a team; much like Power Rangers.
Coming up third in the order, the first two pitches flew by, and before I knew it, the tent was 8ft tall on the screen and Amanda was opening with the lines,
“When I was 16 years old…”
I don’t choke.
The words flow, almost as well worded as the script squished reassuringly in my pocket.
We’re ¾ of the way through when the screen starts flashing at us. Are we gonna get cut off?
I blank and turn to look at Amanda. She sees my terror and picks up the slack, and transitions into the final part. I sigh inside with relief, grateful she’s taken the time to read over my parts, and now I know we’re on the home straight.
I step in,
“We are Comp-A-Tent”
“And we believe Festivals need not cost the Earth”
Oh my God we’ve done it!!! We need to hi-five, let’s hi-five, I think.
Raising my hand, I see a fist, a fist coming straight at me, but like a pro, I transition to a fist, make us look cool…
Amanda hi-fives my fist, and the crowd laugh.
Still 7 groups to follow, we sit anxiously in the room, taking photographs and videos for our new friends, but I’m now too anxious for the result to give it my full attention – my bad!
The judges retire, for something just short of eternity, before coming back in.
In true X Factor style, I’m just being to get to the chase.
Did he, did he make a tents reference? Is that to us? Is he talking about us?
“Runner up is… Comp-A-Tent”
Shock, relief, flood my system. I can’t lie, I’m a little saddened, especially with my parents in the room, and knowing I have to face them in a minute.
The eventual winner is Marco, whom I shared a room with, with his urban mining project, who will distribute shares in the venture, to every person in the Hague area of the Netherlands for every 1Kg of e-waste brought into the centre.
Our prize is a place on a future Accelerator programme to be run by Enviu, towards the end of the year, all things permitting.
Reflecting on the competition, it’s obvious we got so much value from the expertise we were able to put our questions too, and all the direction we’ve been given going forward!
With this competition, marks the end of fund hunting for the next few months, as we concentrate on our deliverables for this summer at the festivals. I’m quite sure somebody once said, and if not, I’m claiming it, that desperation is the home of true innovation, so as we tighten our metaphorical belts and get leaner as a business, I’m sure that we’ll achieve our objectives, spot new opportunities and laugh at the frivolous nature of our previous plans, much like we do now at our grand and more costly plans from when I started 7 weeks ago!