For the first time since the pandemic, Sussex Innovation held its first 2-day live event with 21 fantastic businesses, our leading team of consultants presented amongst the beautiful scenes of the Cottesmore Hotel Golf & Country Club. I had the valuable experience of helping to organise the event with my Catalyst colleagues to ensure everything ran smoothly, ensuring a successful two days!

The Hot House Great Accelerator is one of many live events to come for businesses across the South East, providing fully funded consultations to start-up founders to refine their business models. This is delivered in the form of an intensive two-day training event with the intent to support start-up founders build the knowledge they need to help their business grow. In our first event, we saw an amazing turn out of 21 local businesses who not only had the opportunity to learn, but also to collaborate and network with other founders.

Before the event, I worked closely with Tanya Popeau, our Head of Innovation & Consultancy, to help coordinate the event and complete final tasks. One of my big tasks was making phone calls to all businesses who had a ticket and have a quick conversation about their attendance. As this was my first project of this nature, it was daunting at first. However, once I got into the swing of things and worked out how to use our customer relations software, HubSpot, it was really enjoyable! I additionally supported with event logistics such as redesigning the programme agenda and collating all presentations from our team, ready for the next day.

Day 1

The first day was bustling with lots of enthusiastic business owners eager to learn from our experts through insightful workshops. Our Sussex Innovation team delivered their sessions on important business areas such as pitching your business, business models, marketing and leadership.

Emi and Ore helped support the first day, Ore shares what the day consisted of:

“The great accelerator kicked off with an influx of entrepreneurs from various parts of the country. It was great to see not only businesses across various spheres/sectors, but also the faces behind these businesses. As people came in, they mingled, chatted and some shared their expectations of the event. It was evident at the end of the day that their expectations had been greatly exceeded and they were pumped and looking forward to the second day. Through the sessions, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to share their unique stories, successes and also pain points. They explained real-life business problems they were facing or had faced, and received practical solutions from our team and also fellow attendees.”

Simon Chuter Sales Masterclass

Day 2

Joe and I went to the Cottesmore Hotel Golf & Country Club to help out on the second day. Although we were both exhausted from the early start and long journey, it was fun to see the same inquisitive energy continued through educational workshops on topics such as sales, sustainability, innovation, and investor readiness. It was also interesting to hear from external speakers, Steve Creed and Mark Hadley, delivering interesting sessions on sustainability and building a bridge between academia and business.

One of the highlights of the day was networking with the business owners, learning more about what they do as well as enlightening them about our work as Catalyst Business Support Executives. It was so fulfilling to see the smiles on so many faces when I stood up and spoke about Catalyst which was met with a round of applause (something I did not expect!).

Overall, the Great Accelerator was a considerable success with lots of positive feedback in how we support businesses to think differently and accelerate their business goals. It was enjoyable to help organise such a significant event and witness the impact this has on business owners to walk away feeling inspired.