Words of wisdom from a seasoned entrepreneur – Sandra Sassow of SEaB Energy talks to the Catalyst tenants

Recently, the Catalyst Centre tenants took part in a workshop with Sandra Sassow, CEO of Southampton Science Park tenant SEaB Energy. The workshop delved into the inception of SEaB Energy, and Sandra’s experience of the trials and tribulations the company faced whilst launching its product, taking it to market, and becoming an industry leader; providing a unique insight into some of the challenges that our tenants may face on their own journeys.

SEaB Energy’s business came to market in a slightly different way to many others. Sandra and her team came up with their idea, not by inventing a technology and then looking to find out if there was a market for it, but by first identifying a gap in the market for site-based anaerobic digestion, figuring out a price point with which they would be able to enter the market, and ultimately, coming up with a concept that fitted this criteria perfectly – the MuckBuster®.

SEaB Energy has gone from strength to strength in just under 5 years, achieving commercial success as well as recognition for their contribution to the development of innovative green technology. It has numerous international awards under its belt, and has recently been awarded a place on the Clean and Cool Mission to Brazil, an initiative devised by a partnership between the Technology Strategy Board, UK Trade and Investment and The Long Run Venture. This mission will see 17 companies from the UK head to Brazil this November to pitch their businesses to local investors, suppliers, press and government figures who are looking for innovations to help Brazil meet their stringent energy reduction targets.

 

Sandra had many words of wisdom to share with our tenants, including some top tips for successful start-ups:

1. You will receive a LOT of conflicting advice, and you need to be able to sift through this objectively in order to find your unique selling point and brand identity.

2. Stand out from the crowd. You need to have at least one way to differentiate yourself during a pitch, interview or press conference. Never start with “Hi my name is X, my company is called X and we do X”. You need to make yourself stand out in any way you can, and doing the same pitch as everyone else won’t help.

3. Become a spokesperson for your industry; network, go to events, and meet with politicians or government figures who are interested in what you are doing.

4. Invest in systems that will keep your business in order right at the beginning.

5. If you’re in the technology industry, talk to the UKTI. They can help by supporting you at trade shows abroad, and they’re also great for collecting market info.

We can’t thank Sandra enough for taking time out from her busy schedule to chat to the Catalyst tenants, and sharing her pearls of wisdom! To find out more about SEaB Energy, head to their website, www.seabenergy.com