Posted Monday 18th August 2014 by Danny Bannister, CEO Total Solutions Group
Our journey through the Jersey Innovation Fund #madeinjersey
Here at Total Solutions Group (TSGi) our team takes immense pride in innovating and bringing to market unique technologies helping the off-shore business community in markets as diverse as Healthcare, Financial Services, Government & Retail.
We have always taken the broader view that products designed to help local clients enhance their business services could also have overseas growth potential.
Over a period of time we identified export opportunities and proved market through pilot/beta deployments. This initial success, whilst exciting, also highlighted to us that investment could help us scale upwards and allow for rapid business expansion. For our local clients investment would mean accelerated product innovation.
Knowing that the Jersey Innovation Fund (JIF) was on the horizon we quickly came to view this as our primary and most likely investment funding source. Once we understood the JIF criteria our first call was to Jersey Business for strategic advice and a confidential sounding board.
Over a period of weeks, with many revisions, late nights, weekends and strong cups of coffee, we arrived at a final business plan. Jersey Business and Alexia stood by us at every step and offered invaluable strategic confidential advice delivered through a robust no-nonsense professional attitude the business appreciated and respected.
Hot off the press we delivered our new plan to Paul at Digital Jersey who kindly invested a great deal of time to digest the content and, with his enviable worldwide business experience, signed off that it was viable, supportable and a strategic benefit to Jersey's technical and economic diversification aspirations, and crucially, rubber stamped this for processing through to JIF.
The application bundle was submitted to Economic Development to start the due diligence and inter department sign off processes. When this newly defined process inevitably slowed it was identified and reinvigorated appropriately by Economic Development staff and expedited with dynamism through to conclusion and Ministerial sign off.
Whilst our application was being processed, in order to maximise time, we approached Jersey Business & Digital Jersey to lend support with our further submissions to the Skills Accelerator Board and Population Office to ensure we had the correct licences and foundation of skills for future growth. Both applications processed efficiently within a matter of days.
The final hurdle was our presentation followed by robust questioning from leading island business people and senior States of Jersey executives. We felt we acquitted ourselves well but were incredibly glad that we knew our subject matter and business plan inside out.
Having now navigated the JIF process and engaged wholly with Digital Jersey, Jersey Business and Economic Development, It is evident that there is a real States of Jersey backed willingness to support local business through initiatives and strategic support with a view to also diversifying the economy. My advice, as with most business matters, is to enquire about these initiatives, be persistent but absolutely clear about your goals and the assistance you require.
Could the JIF application process do with having a few wrinkles ironed out, yes, could there be more pro-active export schemes available, I believe yes, but what I can say for certain is directly related to States of Jersey backed initiatives and the support of Digital Jersey & Jersey Business our organisation is expanding, new team members have already come on board, new business partners gained, rapid acceleration of overseas business development is underway and additional innovation has been identified to help island businesses enhance service for local customers (watch this space).
Everyone that has championed our business (including the JIF advisory panel) should feel proud because by doing so they have helped us reach out overseas enabling businesses to choose Jersey designed and developed technology. All of this contributes to putting Jersey firmly on the map as an exciting technically innovative place to do business.