Wednesday, January 17

Stepping Up And Pitching

I spent half an hour this morning pitching a new business idea to the Social Enterprise Coalition for a competition they're currently running. We, and six other budding entrepreneurs had been short-listed (after our written application) to appear at a conference they're hosting next week, during which the ultimate winner would have been decided. There were four places for the conference itself, so we had a good chance of progressing just by the numbers.

The idea itself spun out of the recent work we've done on the Eid Shows. I don't think it's appropriate to give too many details here, but at its basic level it would have been a production company of sorts; one that generates programming that, firstly, general audiences could relate to and, secondly, aimed to represent the large and varied opinions of Muslims living in the UK.

Only one of us was allowed to make the pitch, and I seem to have picked (or rather, handed) the short straw. Moaning aside, it was really an opportunity to step up - it wasn't anything I had done before so I was kinda stepping up, and to be the one who might even just possibly start off something relatively big makes you feel pretty vindicated. It also went back to the whole public speaking thing as well as adding to my attempts to boost the amount of extracurricular activity I'm involved in.

And it wasn't that bad. Any nerves I had disappeared pretty quickly and the panel were nice enough and listened and asked tough, yet relevant, questions. I did make mistakes: I said too little at some points and too much at others and I had to blag a bit at times too, but I think we all knew exactly how much thought had gone into our idea (and to be honest, I was punting really) and the other candidates had been doing their respective things for much longer; some even having left their jobs to do so. But even when the holes were highlighted I was enjoying it. I was being taken seriously and treated with respect for even getting that far.

I didn't want to write until I had heard the result, but if anyone was interested we didn't get through. Which on some levels is actually a win - the last thing I wanted was to bite off more than I could chew. Nevertheless, apart from the lessons specific to this particular occasion,the one thing I have learned is how easy it is to get involved with some pretty exciting and ambitious things if you wanted to.

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