Desolenator is a water purification system with the potential to affect the lives of millions by transforming seawater or contaminated water into low cost drinking water using solar power.
On the train up to Birmingham it was possible immediately to spot fellow contestants, many of whom were mouthing their Pitch in a last attempt to memorise each and every line. We arrived at KPMG and were ushered upstairs for a few minutes of tea, biscuits and networking. Once seated, we had a brief talk from the previous winners and Alumni of Pitch@Palace.
It was eye opening to hear how the competition had catapulted these start-ups, either bringing millions in investment or international press. Previous winners even spoke about the Palace’s commitment to support their businesses. Over coffee Alumni explained that ‘the Palace offers that which money can’t buy’ and after hearing the case studies I finally understood what he meant. We all stood as The Duke arrived and the Pitches began like clockwork.
Everything is turned up a notch at the Boot Camp. The venue was no longer a room but an auditorium, and a full one at that. Having had a session with my two Elevators, I was able to sit and hear all the other Entrepreneurs’ Pitches. It was fantastic to see so many companies challenging the status quo – ranging from education to innovations in health to even the ways in which we experience art.
I was so moved and inspired by the passion that every single Entrepreneur displayed when telling their story and vision on stage. With all the Pitches done and the results announced we were finally able to relax. What struck me most during Boot Camp was the great camaraderie and genuine well wishes between the Entrepreneurs, you almost forget it’s a competition.
“The Duke of York kindly requests your attendance at St James’ Palace” – the invitation arrived on thick card by Royal Mail a week before the final. Stepping into the Palace you are reminded that these buildings are purposefully designed to be intimidating. The main room quickly filled as the guests arrived and before you knew it everyone was seated. A few moments before stepping on stage I remember my Elevator taking me to one side and whispering the best advice of the competition: “Remember, no one knows your story better than you do so just go for it and enjoy it!”