The first Startup Cruise has arrived back in Newhaven with the Business School’s Paul Levy on board. Paul co-designed and facilitated this event, accompany over 40 startup business from Newhaven across the sea to Dieppe where they were joined by nearly 100 French startups who climbed aboard, after some refreshments, and sailed back to the UK. (view the programme here).
Paul takes up the story…
This was a unique event. Using the metaphors of sea-daring – leaving safe harbour, navigating into uncertain, open waters, looking to the horizon and arriving at a new destination, a range of small businesses and entrepreneurs examined and reflected on the current state of their businesses. Paul led them through an interactive process to help identify the visions for their respective enterprises with an opportunity for some radical thinking that only some time truly away from safe shores can bring.
It was a fairly calm voyage once we were out in open space, though the first few miles, as Newhaven receded into the distance, were choppy, perfect whether for considering the uncertainty many businesses find themselves in, in the rocky waters of Brexit.
On the return journey the British and the French startups mixed, dialogued and networked in a kind of on-board trade fair. Some participants also got the chance to meet the ship’s captain and see leadership from the bridge of the ship!
New friends were made, tough questions asked and fresh impulses created as well as actions committed to by the time we arrived back in home harbour and people set out across land for their homes. It was a pleasure to work with Graham Precey and Mark Beaumont from Newhaven Regeneration Group who made this all possible.
We’ll be following up with the businesses as part of our research into this process. There are plans for further cruises with focus on new ideas such as a Cruise for pre-startups which could be ideal for our graduates and alumni, as well as a “turnaround” cruise for businesses in crisis, as well an an “innovation cruise”.
I’ll keep you posted! All aboard for the next one!