Survive and Thrive - Wednesday webinar highlights

Throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Sussex Innovation has been hosting weekly 'Survive & Thrive' webinars in collaboration with Gatwick Diamond Business, highlighting and debating the key issues that are affecting businesses during this challenging period. Collected below are some of the key insights from each panel session, as well as the full video of each webinar.

Crisis management - what to do and where to start (8th April)

Our Chief Executive Nigel Lambe was joined by Peter Davies (founder and CEO at Airline Management Group), Gary Fee (international finance director at Bright Horizons) and Tim Cobb (founder and managing director at Cobb PR) for a far-reaching discussion of how business owners can respond effectively in a crisis - from the value of actively listening to your team and your customers, to taking the time to pause, step back and think about what action you should take next.

Peter shared his experiences of managing an airline through another global crisis, in the aftermath of 9/11, making executive decisions while remaining keenly aware of employee morale. Gary stressed the importance of recognising that the whole world is going through similar upheaval, and keeping the delicate balance between protecting your cash flow and being sensitive to your clients. and Tim gave advice about the value of strong internal communication, ensuring that your team is kept apprised of your plans.

Watch the full webinar below - due to technical difficulties, the opening 10 minutes were unfortunately not recorded.

Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing (22nd April)

Croydon Centre Manager, Saffron Saunders was joined by Ian Braid (Managing Director of DOCIASport), Maria Paviour (Chief Occupational NeuroPsychologist and Managing Director of the Maria Paviour company) and Esther Thomas (founder of Thrive and Well), who shared their experiences and knowledge about the importance of mental wellbeing during the pandemic, with valuable insights and tips for attendees to implement into their daily routine.

Ian shared his personal story of recovery from a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder, stress and depression, and the key learnings he’s applying to how people can nurture their mental wellbeing during the crisis. Maria looked at occupational psychology through the lens of biology and how making a change with our body can help foster a change in our mind. From getting quick dopamine hits by dancing on the spot to grounding the body to calm yourself down, Maria’s BENDs (Brief Emotional Non-Verbal Displays) are designed as quick exercises to get us thinking differently. Esther talked about the impact of good nutrition on our emotional state and preparing your body to fight viruses; she emphasised the importance of vitamin D and B12 to protect our immune system, and including healthy fats in your diet to support brain structure and health.

Watch the full webinar below.

Making and Maintaining Sales (29th April)

Innovation Advisor and Student Enterprise Manager, Simon Chuter interviewed Mo Kanjilal of virtual Sales Director service Kiss The Fish about their views of selling best practice and whether they have changed in light of the current situation. Both agreed that it is still appropriate to sell during this time, but only if you adapt your approach and offer your customers real help.

Mo stressed the importance of having a proposition that feels relevant, communicating with empathy and a message that your sales team can rally behind. She also identified the value of understanding how your business is going to change, using this time to do your research into your customers and develop proactive strategies, rather than simply reacting.

Watch the full webinar below.


How to Apply for Grants (6th May)

Our in-house grant and investment readiness expert, David Porter hosted a panel of two grant providers and one successful applicant to discuss the ins and outs of applying for funding. Peter Wilkins from the UK Defence & Security Accelerator advised applicants not to bombard the assessors with technical language - just give a straightforward explanation of what you're trying to do, with clarity on the impact your R&D will have, and due appreciation of the risks that are involved in any innovative project. David Parry of the South East Health Technologies Alliance talked about the importance of doing your research and finding an appropriate fund for your 'technology readiness level'.

Finally, Gary Kendall, founder of Sussex Innovation members CDO2, shared his experiences of making successful bids to Innovate UK in partnership with researchers from the University of Sussex. Gary stressed the importance of his relationship with academia, and letting both sides play their part in the application - "Universities live off grant funding and speak the right role was to supplement that knowhow with commercial logic". Ultimately, the key takeaway from the whole panel was to avoid forcing your own message and to directly answer the assessor's questions.

Watch the full webinar below.


A new Survive & Thrive event will be held every Wednesday at 1pm - find out more and register for future webinars here: