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Global Startup Battle (GSB), the largest startup competition in the world, is coming to a city near you. With over 15,000 participants last year from over 40 countries, the buzz for this year’s event is building.

As you prepare for 2014’s Battle, we asked a few of last year’s winners what it takes to master this global competition.

Meet Jennifer Clamp, CEO and Co-Founder of New Zealand-based Garden Genie, a startup that provides first time food growers knowledge, seeds and supplies to start a garden. Last year, Garden Genie won GSB’s E-Commerce Circle competition and a month-long trip to Austin, Texas, to be a part of the interactive SXSW festival. Garden Genie’s team combined their passion for organic gardening with a can-do-anything attitude to win the coveted prize.


Jennifer shares her advice on what seeds to sow in order to reap GSB’s rewards:

1. Get outside your comfort zone.

GSB is a fantastic learning experience, and your startup is a great vehicle for that learning.

Unlike a job, you’re not boxed into a role. GSB is your opportunity to go outside your comfort zone and practice a new skillset. Maybe you’ve worked with someone who is a great leader or communicator and thought “I wonder if I could do that?” Now is your chance. It will be appreciated by the team. Give it a shot.

In a high pressure situation, a clear leader is required.  This is your opportunity to set aside your fears and lead the team.  Under such tight timeframes, it’s a great way to work on leadership skills.

While uncomfortable, have hard team conversations before you need to. Figure out who is truly committed before you’re at GSB. It’s a lot harder to have a realistic conversation once something is a stake. When the pitch is done, before the winners are announced, find out who is committed to continuing.

2. Make a point in 5 seconds.

The GSB requires a video entry.  The video should engage your audience, tell a story and meet the judging criteria.

We used the principles from the book Make It Stick to create our pitch.  Together, we discussed how to bring our personalities and passion to our entry.  We storyboarded every 5 seconds of the pitch with the key point and accompanying image. You can make a point in 5 seconds. In order to tell your story to a new audience in a minute, every second counts.

3. Give back to your community.

GSB is an incredible learning opportunity. Don’t underestimate all you have learned.

After winning GSB, we decided to make Garden Genie a real company. The experience and mentorship we received thanks to our win meant that we were accelerated through the first stage of getting started.

Winning GSB’s E-Commerce Circle competition has given us notoriety. We are often asked to speak.  We may only be one step ahead of our audience, but that makes it even more valuable to share our experiences. Sharing that knowledge builds a community. The stronger your startup community is, the stronger your businesses will be.


Jennifer Clamp, CEO and Co-Founder, pitching at an event in Auckand, NZ. They won the People’s Choice award.