Untapped Potential: Maximising Business Opportunities in Guernsey

During Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023, we were joined by local industry leaders to discuss the results of the entrepreneurial landscape survey that we released with Black Vanilla earlier in the year. The survey explored the challenges and opportunities that early-stage businesses face on our island. The panel consisted of Digital Greenhouse Director Lucy Ann Kirby, Nichole Culverwell, Director of Black Vanilla, Wayne Atkinson, Partner at Collas Crill and was compered Matthew Leach, News Editor at the Bailiwick Express. The panel discussed what support is needed to continue to foster a positive environment for new and small businesses. 


You can watch the panel event back in full at the bottom of this article.

An area that was highlighted in this year's survey was the use of AI. As expected with the global trends with the development and use of AI tools, Guernsey entrepreneurs are following suit with 90% of businesses surveyed having incorporated some kind of AI tool in their business practice. This opportunity was discussed further in the panel as AI has enabled businesses to scale quicker without the need for additional staffing or services and helped to overcome challenges such as the ability to hire on island. Being smaller and more agile this also gives a competitive edge for startups over more established businesses who could be slower to adopt these technologies into their existing business model, policies and procedures. 

Similarly, current early-stage startups may find it significantly easier to incorporate sustainability practices into their business models from the get-go. If you are interested in finding out more about how AI can be applied to your business, whether its new or established our GenAI Leader Accelerator and Applied Generative AI Business Bootcamp are a great starting point.

Find out more about the upcoming AI bootcamps here. 

“Make sure you get your business culture right, it is the glue that will hold your business together and help move the collective toward your business goals!”

Nichole Culverwell, Director of Black Vanilla

A trend that Collas Crill Partner, Wayne Atkinson highlighted was, how universal the experience of running and trying to grow your business can be, the survey itself is completely anonymous, yet it shows that many of its participants are facing similar challenges, looking at the same opportunities across a whole host of sectors, such as AI and staffing. 

Digital Greenhouse Director, Lucy Kirby commented that she believes that if you surround yourself with people who are going through the same process or perhaps have gone through it in recent years they can give you advice and support that you need - otherwise it can be quite lonely being a founder. 

The panel highlighted that despite the startup challenges discussed, the survey also revealed that 100% of the founders see growth for their business going forward, compared to 68% last year. The reoccurring theme highlighted in the survey was the need for resilience, to be adaptable and to manage change. 

One area that was discussed was that Guernsey is a good place to start and scale a business. The panel mentioned that at the heart of Guernsey's vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is a network of support organisations, mentors, and experienced professionals who provide guidance and assistance to budding businesses. Here at the Digital Greenhouse, one of our purposes is to nurture innovation and foster collaboration among entrepreneurs. If you have been inspired to take the next step with your business idea we have a range of free-to-access support programmes to assist you in your journey no matter what stage you are at. 

Want to take your early-stage business from idea to market? Sign up for the 2024 Startup Academy!


Check out our Startup Hub for more business support programmes and content.

Key thoughts from the panel on harnessing Guernsey's entrepreneurial ecosystem opportunities


Leverage Technology for Success!

Commit to embracing technological advancements and fostering a digitally inclusive environment. A constant investment in digital infrastructure and initiatives as well as promoting digital literacy will create a fertile ground for your businesses to harness the power of new technology advances to enhance operations and reach new markets.

Networking and Building Relationships

Regular networking events and gatherings provide opportunities to connect with potential partners, investors, industry experts and even potential team members. Events such as TechMex, Founders Connect and Rise and Shine Guernsey provide great spaces to create high-value relationships to benefit your business and help it grow. Take advantage of your community to expand your knowledge and support circle! Events like these can be found on our events calendar. 

But you don't always need to look outside of your circle to find brilliant minds and support, building and nurturing the relationships within your business are just as important, no matter the size of your team. Panellist Nichole says, "Make sure you get your business culture right because it is the glue that will hold your business together and help move the collective toward your business goals! Even though we are embracing remote working it is good to remember that as human beings we crave face-to-face interactions and it is our job as business founders to work harder to make that space a great place to come to and collaborate."

Harnessing Innovation for Competitive Edge

Embrace new technologies, explore emerging market opportunities, and adapt to changing consumer demands. This kind of agile working is very important for businesses of all sizes but can be easier for smaller businesses to achieve. 


In conclusion, by leveraging the island's networking opportunities, embracing digital innovation, and nurturing strong relationships, businesses can establish a firm footing and achieve their aspirations in Guernsey's business landscape.

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