We attended the Bright Ideas judging night final event yesterday, and a BIG congratulation is in order for… Fli!
Sorry for the blurry pictures, I was sitting on the top row!
The overall event was great. However, I talked to a couple of people, and if we could have one criticism—and we do—it would be the transparency of the event that night.
Let me start from the beginning.
On our way back from Wales (see my previous post), my group members all received an email saying that we were the finalist for Bright Ideas. Having mixed feelings between excited and a bit worried because we left our prototype in Wales with our manufacturer, we did our best to create another prototype, just for this event, in approximately 8 days. Money and time was invested, and expectations were build that we were going to attend this event to do the pitching workshop with the others, then pitch our product to the judges, and then wait for the judges to nominate the winners. Little did we know, it wasn’t what they (Bright Ideas) have planned for Wednesday to be.
So this was the pitching workshop—which was good—we did practice our pitch to strangers and exchanged feedbacks. But what we didn’t know was that, in my own words, the pitching workshop was some kind of a manoeuvre for groups who did not get the “special email”. I may sound very negative in this post, but honestly, I am sincerely happy for all the winners—I am just disappointed in the process. Bear with me.
So the real finalists get a special email saying that they were going to pitch in front of the judges, during the pitching workshop where all of the “other finalist” will be, but it would be best not to spread the words about it.
a. Why make it so secretive?
b. Then why did we even receive an email saying that we were a finalist, when we aren’t?
If only they had told us from the beginning, that our group was, lets say, made it to the big 20 but not as a finalist, and that we all should come to the judging night on Wednesday, where there is going to be a pitching workshop etc—hey, we would still have come anyway! We are not kids who needs to be manipulated by sweet talk in order to get something done. Just tell us the truth and we’ll get it—we’re grown ups.
But now, because our expectations were not met, I highly doubt and questioned Bright Ideas’ integrity for hosting this event. Does it not occur to them that some of us may have put extra efforts and may have sacrificed other important things just to come to this event on Wednesday night?
Being a firm believer of freedom of speech—and counting on serendipity—I approached Dennis Aguma, the president of Kingston Entrepreneurs, whom I met and befriend with from previous event. I told him what I had in mind, and surprise, surprise, he said I was not the first person who talked to him about this. Then he said he would definitely bring this up to their review meeting. So, finger crossed, Bright Ideas will have a better procedure/transparency for their next events.
Hopefully this tiny gesture may encourage and inspire others to speak up their mind when they are not happy about something.
Other than that, it was a good set of events, it surely did encourage and support future entrepreneurs, and again, big congratulations for all the winners!