5 Things I Learned On Necker Island 22nd February, 2017

We recently completed our first year of sponsorship for the Extreme Tech Challenge – the world’s largest startup competition highlighting companies that are literally changing the world, which culminated in a very exciting XTC Finals on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island on February 2nd.  Here are some of the things I learned while surrounded with the world’s most impressive and forward-thinking tech start-ups:

 

1.    Sponsors like the sun.  We have worked with many events all across the world, but turns out when the sun shines, sponsors shine too.  Will make more of a note to take on more clients that have tropical destinations for the future.

 

2.    Small numbers mean big opportunities.  Due to the size of Necker Island, the XTC Finals is limited to 100 attendees.  Usually with sponsorship, the bigger the audience, the more valuable the rights fee.  However, in this case, you have the actual opportunity to really meet and have meaningful conversations with everyone.  Rather than being pushed to a table at an Awards ceremony, real friendships were made and business was being done because it was easy to do so.

 

3.    Remoteness creates more sponsor engagement.  Because the British Virgin Islands are so remote (it took me 20 hours to get there with two flights, one ferry, and a ride in the back of a pickup truck) most people wanted things to do, and one way or another, you ended up running into people that were at the event throughout the week.  It became a mini community where tech and entrepreneurship met at the beach over Painkillers (the local drink) and ran into each other in truck taxis and ferries all over the island.

 

4.    The kids are alright.  Of the three finalists, two were under 25.  When you look at the actual impact of their companies on the world (Cresilon is a revolutionary material that stops bleeds in seconds and ReDeTec has made 3D printing accessible and sustainable), it blows your mind.  This really is the future, and it’s pretty damn exciting.

 

5.    Sponsorship has the power to create life changing experiences.  The most unforgettable moment was witnessing the power of sponsorship on individuals.  As part of sponsor iTutor Group’s activation, they took 10 of the top female CEOs in Asia to the XTC Finals on a super yacht.  Super yacht aside, the women were so incredible in their own right and at every point throughout the day they talked business – to each other, to the sponsor, and even to me.  More incredible still was that many of the women hadn’t even been in the water before – so it became a week of overcoming fears, a week of firsts, and most importantly, a week of growth.  The fact that this was delivered as part of a sponsor activation is what makes it so meaningful and impactful.  Rather than just bask in the glory of being a sponsor, iTutor Group made a real impact in their own community and in the lives of people they are wanting to champion in their country.

 

I’d definitely encourage you to have a look at some of the entries from our competition this year.  And if you want more Necker Island photos, you can view them on my Instagram.

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