Enabling Innovation - Expanding Horizons

A few months away from celebrating its 5th birthday, Director Lucy Ann Kirby reflects on 2020 for the Digital Greenhouse and its plans for the future.

No matter who you are or what you do, 2020 has brought unprecedented disruption and challenges for all. However, through these challenges the Island has continued to innovate and collectively come together as a community to problem solve. Here at the Digital Greenhouse, we have seen another year of amazing local innovation, new business startups and people upskilling and empowering themselves to leverage technology. As we wrap up 2020, we look ahead and are excited by the opportunities that the new year will bring.

Island Enterprise

It has been a busy year and despite disruption, we have played host to some fantastic events and workshops to support business growth and upskilling, utilising technology where needed to stand up virtual services. Building new partnerships has been a key focus and we have worked with over 120 established businesses in the past 18 months, building new programmes of activity, events and collaborating on support content. 

2020 brought the first in a series of programmes with Blenheim Chalcot to support venture growth on Guernsey. As the UK’s leading digital venture builder, they have brought high-quality learning, networking and business mentoring to the Island and with eight inflight initiatives, local entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals are already feeling the benefits.  

With the launch of the StartUp Hub earlier this year, it has been a busy time for those looking to get started on their new business journey. With full attendance on Starting Up Saturday boot camps, similar programmes are already well subscribed for 2021. However, starting up is only the first step and working with Blenheim Chalcot, expert mentoring for those looking to scale and grow their businesses is now on offer.  Scale-up support is enabling local entrepreneurs to grow into international markets, develop governance, marketing and routes to investment, giving them the support they need to take the next step in their ventures. This programme continues into 2021 and we look forward to seeing where the current cohort of entrepreneurs go from here.

Empowering all generations 

Learning has undoubtedly changed forever, with so many more options now available to Guernsey as more move online and people get to grips with the changing career landscape and urgency to upskill. Now more than ever we are seeing individuals looking to upskill or re-skill. The launch of Hive Learning this year has seen people adopt a new approach to learning, with bite-sized content and a collaborative platform to share ideas and skills. Individuals from all walks of life have joined the pilot groups and we look forward to a full blended programme of upskilling through Hive and face to face events in the new year, encouraging people to innovate, share knowledge and learn.

The ever-popular summer internship has now supported over 45 students through 12 companies, seeing a pipeline of new talent into business, with many completing studies and gaining employment back with the companies who worked with them on the scheme. This truly shows the value of bringing students and employers together, in meaningful and appropriate ways to feed the growth of new industries and digital areas of business.  We often ask ourselves the ‘so what’ question around impact, and seeing young people engaged and inspired to take up careers and return to the Island is fantastic to see. 

Moving Forwards Together

So what does 2021 hold for us here? Well, no one can predict what 2021 will bring, but with all the challenges come great opportunities and we look to continue to grow our contribution to the Island community. Working with our industry partners, we are looking forward to continuing to deliver high quality upskilling, business building and knowledge sharing activities in an inclusive way, empowering change and new venture growth.


This article was originally printed in Business Brief: December Issue

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