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28 November 2019

Startup Guernsey is Shutting Down

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Carl, Tony and Jennifer are sad to announce that after advising and supporting Guernsey entrepreneurs for over 20 years, Startup Guernsey has announced that it will be shutting down at the end of the year due to the removal of government funding.

 

WHAT WE HAVE DONE

Originally known as the Guernsey Enterprise Agency until we rebranded as Startup Guernsey in 2016, we have provided confidential advice and support to more than 1000 clients over the past 5 years and made introductions to help local entrepreneurs raise over £3 million in equity funding. 

The agency has supported start-ups, scaleups, entrepreneurs seeking investment, and assisted in the selling of successful companies.

Startup Guernsey also hosted a range of events to inspire and inform entrepreneurs.  Recently, these have included Meet the Mentor Dinner events, monthly Entrepreneur Networking Breakfasts, skills courses including social media and Xero accounting, all culminating in the ninth year of its successful annual festival of entrepreneurship, Global Entrepreneurship Week Guernsey.

One of Tony’s favourite parts of the job over his 12 years with the agency has been that we never know what ideas are going to walk through the door.  The variety and ingenuity of local entrepreneurs always astounds us. We also enjoyed introducing students to the world of entrepreneurship and digital skills.  These include giving advice and acting as a Dragon’s Den judge for business programs at the College of FE and pioneering the student Discover Digital internship program.The best part by far is seeing some of those new businesses growing and becoming part of the local business community.

Jennifer joined the agency five years ago and has put her angel investment experience to good use. Getting entrepreneurs ready to pitch to investors has also been a real joy.  We watched them grow in confidence and clarify their message with our one-to-one coaching sessions and are proud to have coached all of the of the Bailiwick Express Business Academy winners (against Jersey companies who never stood a chance!  Does this make this the Intra-insular of entrepreneurialism? Maybe we would have had more support if it was!). We also introduced entrants in our Angel Pitch Competitions to local investors and prepared pitch presenters for the FinVention conference (another great event for local entrepreneurs consigned to history).

Startup Guernsey also lobbied for more funding options for local entrepreneurs.  We were very pleased when the successful Guernsey Innovation Fund was set up, to the benefit of several of Startup Guernsey’s clients, however, believe more should be done to create ways for small companies to fund their growth..  

MANY THANK YOU’S

Startup Guernsey has benefited from excellent corporate sponsorship for its extensive event program.  We have been grateful over the years for the ongoing in-kind and financial support provided by local businesses and experienced mentors. This allowed us to stretch the grant funding much further, adding to the support for local entrepreneurs.  A special shout out to Bedells who have provided legal support to ourselves and over 20 hours of mentoring a year and BDO who have provided accountancy services pro bono.

Our mentors have really created our community.  We always say if we don’t know the answer, we know someone who does.  From specific advice in their area of expertise to entrepreneur mentoring over weeks, months and sometimes years,  our mentors have gone way beyond the call of duty, and often express, as do we, what a pleasure it is to work with startups and growing businesses. 

Startup Guernsey is an independent LBG company.  We are grateful for and have benefited hugely from the expertise of our board of directors. In addition to Tony and Jennifer, Carl Symes has been our hugely supportive Chairman and business advisor, Meriel Lenfesty has been an amazing, clear-thinking non-executive Director, and Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen has represented the government which has supported Startup Guernsey over the years with financial and advisory support.  We also enjoyed working out of the Digital Greenhouse, which is an amazing space.

Most importantly, we would like to thank the many entrepreneurs who have given us their confidence to advise them over the years.  It makes us very proud to see so many of them flourishing today.

WHY WE ARE SHUTTING DOWN

The majority of Startup Guernsey’s funding has come via a £112,000 government grant which paid for three part-time staff as well as running costs.  The Committee for Economic Development’s decision to stop the grant followed the consideration of an internal report prepared by Startup Guernsey on the Guernsey Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the Committee for Economic Development did not share the vision proposed by Startup Guernsey to grow the provision of support for local entrepreneurs with more focused support and increased funding options, preferring instead to move the work in-house,

This has meant the elimination of the grant in 2020. The board of Startup Guernsey determined that the agency was not viable without this support, and will therefore cease providing entrepreneur support at the end of the year.

We want to ensure all of our clients that all client records will be disposed of prior to the shut down.

However, Startup Guernsey is open for business until 31st December, so any entrepreneurs seeking advice can contact us as usual on [email protected] and our website www.startup.gg will be up until the new year with loads of great articles and advice.

WHERE TO GO FOR ADVICE FROM 2020

From January 2020, support for entrepreneurs will be provided by civil servants from the Committee for Economic Development (Gareth Jones and Lucy Kirby), some of whom work out of the Digital Greenhouse.  They can be reached on [email protected], or via www.digitalgreenhouse.gg.  

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