Sharing ideas in public applauded

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 13:00 08/11/2012

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Entrepreneurs sharing their ideas in public were applauded last night and told most others mistakenly feared the idea will be stolen or they will be humiliated.

International angel investor Nelson Gray heard from two entrepreneurs who pitched their ideas to him, in front of about 25 people at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology media theatre.

It was organised by the Nelson Entrepreneurs Exchange (Next).

"It's pleasing that we have people who are willing to put their ideas forward.

"In many countries I go to, you wouldn't have that because they are scared of the potential to be humiliated," Mr Gray said yesterday.

He is an internationally recognised angel investor and provides advice on funding to Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish executive and the enterprise committee of the Scottish Parliament.

Last night was the second event of its kind held by Next, after five entrepreneurs shared their ideas in August.

Next member and event organiser Simon Stockdale, also owner of Solar City, said many entrepreneurs had been reluctant to share their ideas in public because they were worried someone else would steal them.

However, Mr Gray said that was unlikely to happen.

"The real reason many why ideas don't get stolen is because investors are lazy and would rather give you money to go away and start it, then get a return.

"The other reality is that 99 per cent of the time the idea isn't stolen is because it's a crap idea."

He was impressed with last night's ideas by Nelson's Howard Gaukrodger and Marlborough's Graham Drummond but offered some advice on how to improve their pitch to attract investors.

Mr Gaukrodger, a linguist, had an idea about offering expertise to people marketing and advertising messages in foreign countries.

Often the message was lost in foreign countries and cultures because of incorrect translation or word use.

He planned to set up hubs, offering expert help with correct word usage for online adverts.

It would start in New Zealand before hubs were set up in other countries.

Mr Drummond's idea centred around his creation of a knife and chopping board gadget for disabled or elderly people.

He had designed the tools after struggling to cook while suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

He had already set up his company, Cibocal, and had patents pending in five other countries for his invention.

Mr Gray advised the entrepreneurs to pitch their idea from an investor's perspective, rather than their own.

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