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How to get the best out of Emerge 2016

Emerge is energetic, dynamic, and jam-packed with sessions, workshops, lunchtime activities and more – not to mention the opportunity to connect with +500 impact leaders over the course of two-days!

So, how do you make the most of it?

If you have a ticket for the weekend or just Saturday or Sunday – here are our top-tips on getting the best out of Emerge 2016!

Before Emerge

Check it out! Read the programme. Find out who’s talking, and decide who you might want to try to meet.

You and your goals. What do you have to offer? What do you need to learn? Emerge is your oyster; to make the most of it come prepared with knowledge of yourself and what you need to make the next move on your impact journey.

During the Event

Arrive in time to have a coffee! Registration opens at 09:15 on Saturday and 09:30 on Sunday. Make sure to check in when you arrive. This is the optimal time to scout out the event before the sessions start, check out the marketplace stalls in the Entrance Hall, or network over a coffee from the Marquee.

Take note. Remember to bring a notebook, or whatever you need to capture your learnings, words of wisdom, and someone’s email address if they’ve run out of business cards!

Bring a bottle. Let’s face it; we all feel a slight bit of guilt when we buy water in a plastic bottle. We want to decrease the number of water bottles used this year to help reduce our environmental ‘footprint’, so we are only offering one bottle per person each day (plus hiring in reusable mugs). So if you have an eco-friendly re-usable water bottle, then bring it! We have a number of water stations at the event; it’s literally on-tap!

Get social. Remember to tweet your experience live during the event using #Emerge16! Share your bite-size insights, photos or shout outs and join the conversation.

Time out. If you need to take some time to get away from the hustle and bustle, retreat to our “Zen Zone” for some quiet time. And if it’s not just you that needs to recharge, then each of our Zen Zone pods also have plug sockets for your device.

Network. There are so many opportunities to network at Emerge. Whether it’s during coffee breaks, lunchtime sessions, the Collaboration Clothesline, or even our dedicated Speed Networking session on Saturday or Drinks Reception on Sunday, make sure you come armed with your elevator pitch and trusty business cards!

After the Event

Keep the fire burning. We hope you’ll leave Emerge feeling inspired and ready to set out on your impact endeavours, so don’t let this fire burnout! Follow up on the connections you made and carry on learning by attending more of the Skoll Centre’s events and talks throughout the academic year.

See you soon!

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Story of a social start-up

The Mustard Seed Pitching Competition is a long-standing favourite on the Emerge Conference programme – but what happen’s to the winners after? Carrie Babcock of Mustard Seed Impact looks at a winner of last year’s competition.

Many good business ideas spark from a founder’s personal experience, and this certainly holds true for Accomable’s Srin Madipalli. Srin is a travel nut, having spent four months traversing the world, flying planes, trekking mountains and scuba diving. While none of these activities are for the faint of heart, Srin had an additional challenge to overcome: accessibility. Srin and Accomable’s then co-founder, Martyn Sibley, have spinal muscular atrophy, necessitating the use of wheelchairs. He wondered: How could I encourage more people with mobility problems access the excitement of travel?

And hence, Accomable was born. After attaining an MBA at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, Srin started thinking of how to solve the difficulties he encountered while traveling. Having received initial seed funding from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship’s Skoll Venture Awards, Srin and Martyn launched Accomable in the summer of 2015.

accomable_logoAs the company geared up for serious seed investment, Srin and Martyn entered Accomable into the Mustard Seed Competition at Emerge. Srin would encourage all entrepreneurs to practice pitching in front of a live audience as much as possible, and loved having the chance to do so in front of Mustard Seed at Emerge last year. “[Pitching] is key to refining your value proposition,” says Srin, who pitched to a judging panel of Mustard Seed’s two co-founders, Alex Pitt and Henry Wigan, Mustard Seed investor Paola Broyd, and CEO of Mustard Seed portfolio company Winnow, Marc Zornes.

Srin continued that the Emerge Conference is a great way to network and connect with others looking to launch a social enterprise. In fact, he found a key employee for Accomable’s property recruitment role through last year’s Emerge event.

Mustard Seed Competition 2015

Srin and Martyn pitching at the Emerge 2015 Mustard Seed Competition

Upon winning the competition, Accomable were invited down to Mustard Seed’s offices in London for a half day of acceleration, including workshops with industry experts, financial projection feedback, and to experience the firing round of questions a typical venture capital firm will get into when beginning to consider a company for investment. “The mentors provided great domain specific feedback, and good advice on what to focus on moving forward.”

Ultimately, Accomable closed a £300,000 seed funding round with another investor group in May 2016 to continue building its team, expanding its user base and signing on more properties properly fitted for adventure seekers needing enhance mobility options.

Lessons learned from this success story? Work on a big problem, the closer to home, the better. Welcome counsel from varied sources. And get out there as much as you can!

If you have a start-up venture and are looking for investment support, apply to the Emerge 2016 Mustard Seed Competition here.

Image source: Accomable.com

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