Having returned home to Ōtepoti (Dunedin) after our amazing time in Hamilton at the SODA business start-up bootcamp we heard about Petridish in our hometown. They we running a funding competition called “Rising Tide”, to help small start-ups. So we thought we would have a go. Mum applied for me online and we got accepted to the first phase of the competition. The first pitch was to a panel of judges that already had businesses and worked from the shared space Petridish offer.
Petridish for people that don't know is an amazing, cool shared workspace in central Dunedin. Created by a couple named Jason and Kate who originally needed their own office space, so they made one and then went on to create other awesome spaces with such amazing style. When I first walked in there with mum for my first pitch, we were just blown away with bright colours, cool furniture, quiet spaces, loud spaces, meeting rooms and so much more. It is super cool and really, really stylish.
So anyway, I pitched to the judges and we made it through the first round. They notified mum that in three days I would need to pitch to a second set of judges. So we tweaked our first pitch slightly and this time, we were really clear about what we needed the money for and a heap of cool ideas that we intended to create.
The final night was with all the other contestants, as well as whānau and friends. I pitched one more time to everybody and did a special poi performance at the end. This time though, the awards were given out. And we won first place. $5,000 to help start up our business. We also won an office space within Petridish. As well as a scholarship to a SODA Lite Lift program, which was ultimately what we really wanted. This program allowed us to gain our own business mentor to help us find our feet and find a clear process to get things up and running.
Man, I tell you, one week of pitching can be such a stressful thing. My first pitch, I was really nervous. The second pitch, I wasn't so nervous as I did my part and then handed over to mum at the end. By the third pitch I was fine. I find it way easier to present to a crowd and I was also a lot clearer about why I was pitching and what we wanted to do as a business. So much learning, in such a small space of time.