Innovation Award Blog #1 - Getting Started
2018 saw three winners of the Innovation Award at the Bath SETsquared Innovation Centre. We have asked the winners to write their own blog posts so that we can hear all about their entrepreneur journey as it develops. Read Eoin Sharkey’s blog about his winning business idea ‘The BioFactory Ltd’.
Over the last few months in summer I have been working on getting the design of The BioFactory to a point where I can build a working prototype, and developing some aspects of how the company will operate. As soon as I attended the 2-day Sustainable Tech Business Accelerator Hub (STBAH), I was told by so many people to stop designing and work on the business model – I already have the minimum sellable product I need, now I have to work on getting further funding in place to launch the business.
My experience at the STBAH was fantastic, being able to access a great wealth of knowledge from the presenters and panellists. We worked on defining why I do what I do and how to build a marketing strategy around this, the problem I am trying to solve with my company, what my solution is and who I was going to sell it to (i.e. my customer). This involved me taking a step back from the picture I had in my head and look down other possible avenues for business in order to find the one that would be easiest to target my marketing towards. At the end of the STBAH I pitched my company to a panel of judges, alongside 7 others with sustainable tech based businesses. We pitched our problem, solution and the opportunity (market) and then were given 1-on-1 feedback from each of the judges, where they critiqued our pitches, strategy and business. I won the best pitch from the day and was awarded a box of chocolates! During this 2-day event I made some very good contacts, who have had a lot of experience in the sustainable tech industry, and experience in the African markets.
Since the STBAH, I have registered my company with Companies House under the name ‘The BioFactory Ltd.’ I have also built a website which I have launched at the following url: www.the-biofactory.com. This website has a lot more information about what my company does and the problem that we are trying to solve. I plan on keeping this relevant and up-to-date with a blog page, where I will write and publish articles about the sanitation crisis, new sustainable technologies, the African tech boom and other topics I feel are relevant to my supporters.
I have also made use of the Innovation Centre space available to me through meetings with Pete Keevill (EIR) and Tim Chater (Mentor), who have been able to give me more advice about how to build the company image and story. With them I am developing my business plan and how to approach funding opportunities, as well as developing my quick-sell pitch to do when introducing my company to potential investors. In these meetings we have also set goals for the year, including gaining a contract for a further £50-100k investment for prototype development in Kenya, and provided the prototype meets a criteria of metrics, the funding of a further 20+ units for deployment.
Eoin Sharkey - The BioFactory