By external blogger and PLGC 2009 winner Dean Gregory.

DeanGregoryDean Gregory

This time of year is a little strange for me – this time three years ago, I was a bundle of nervous energy, getting ready to go to Amsterdam and present the concept of the RidgeBlade to the Green Challenge jury. Soon there will be a number of people across the world that are going through the same thing, half excited, half terrified and part of me envies them, but part of me is just happy to watch from the sidelines! 

 

The competition has grown and developed over the years, and I'm glad to see that the winners can now access help and advice from a selection of experts. To bring a product to market within two years is a real challenge (I know – it's taken us three) and help and advice will be needed along the way. The skill sets that make a good entrepreneur or inventor are very different to the skills that are needed to bring a product to market – knowledge of sales, marketing, finance, intellectual property, certification and corporate governance – no-one has all of this, so a good team or good advice will be needed. The advice that I can give is just this – make use of the advice!

Here at The Power Collective, we are just getting ready to launch the RidgeBlade, some three years after winning the prize in Amsterdam – the process of going from a concept and a few prototypes to a market ready product has been an education for us – redesigning the product to make it simpler to manufacture, designing out weight and complexity, testing (for over a year) to ensure that there are no problems with the design, making sure that the patents are secure and getting the appropriate certification such as the CE mark – all of this has taken time. From our position – we feel that it has taken far too long, but talking to other business people, it's not too bad for product development.

RidgebladerooftopRigdeBlade Rooftop Turbine

Even without any sales or marketing activities, the Green Challenge has given us a huge amount of publicity and we have thousands of enquiries from individuals, large companies and potential distributors – so now that we have a tried and tested product, the next challenge will be keeping up with demand. So we are now facing the next big adventure – seeking finance to enter the strange and terrifying world of manufacturing, shipping, reseller agreements, distributor agreements, product liability insurance, warranties... So even now, three years after the event, we still listen to good advice and learn from others.

So you can see that whether you win the Green Challenge or not, the competition is just the beginning of a journey that can take years, but at the end you will be able to point to something real that is making the planet a better place and say "I did that!".


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