By Denise Matthews

The first half of 2019 has just flown by. It is a majorly important part of what can sometimes be an extremely challenging journey to produce a monthly event in a small community, let alone to be consistent in the delivery helps to achieve recognition. Today Startup Grind Gibraltar has become a household name to our corporate community.

This is one of the factors that also defines a true entrepreneur and the survival of any startup business. It is also important to identify why connecting the old with the new makes for a dynamic and innovative business community that will stay one step ahead by learning about and supporting new ideas. Simply put, ‘startups’ mixing with the ‘corporations’ can create mutually necessary business relationships. With so many traditional corporate structures in Gibraltar, support for the ‘corporate entrepreneur’ is congruous to create a cross-functional, collaborative, win-together environment that is essential for enabling in-house entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive providing a breeding ground that will help ideas be tested and thrive. Regular meetups and business focused events in a relaxed atmosphere contribute effectively by supporting these environments.

Here is a round-up of what we did and who we spoke to:

JANUARY
Startup Grind Gibraltar events kicked off in January reviewing what is in store in for 2019, with Minister for Commerce Honourable Albert Isola MP as the Fireside Chat guest speaker. February guests were Emma Lejeune Partner at ISOLAS LLP & Eddy Travia CEO & Co-founder of London-listed Coinsilium Group Limited. Emma joined the firm following the acquisition of her own startup Legacy Consulting by ISOLAS. She joins the Private Client and FinTech team and is also driving the firm’s family office offering forward, she has assisted RSK, Chainspace and Coinsillium with their projects in Gibraltar. Eddy Travia is the CEO & Co-founder of London-listed Coinsilium Group Limited a venture builder, investor and accelerator of blockchain startups. Pioneer Investor in blockchain and bitcoin startups since 2013 he is an advisor to a select number of ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) or Token Sales/Token Generation Events and Co-founder of Seedcoin, a global, seed-stage startup incubator for digital currency and blockchain focused products and services.

MARCH
In March, to mark the 2-year anniversary since the launch, there was a presentation to showcase a community project in Gibraltar that still needs financial support run by Ruth Massias from Gamma Architects and Dr. Keith Bensusan Director of the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, The Alameda Biodome & Education Project.

APRIL
For our April event the guest speaker was Lluis Mora, the Director of Cybersecurity – CISO at GVC Group he is also one of the coaches of the Cyber Centurion Club in Gibraltar. LLuis has dedicated his spare time to local students for the Cyber Centurion competition this year with hundreds of teams from across the UK and its overseas every year. Gibraltar’s junior team won the top prize in the UK-wide Cyber Centurion finals this March, with the third team coming in the overall competition. This was combined with the launch of the Duke of Kent Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award within the Cyber Centurion club locally which is run by Stewart Harrison Head of Physics at Bayside. Honourable Minister John Cortes gave an introduction followed by a presentation by Stewart on the programme.

MAY
Every year globally in May women are the focus with all the chapters around the world giving the stage to these leading ladies to tell their stories and share their experiences. #SGwomen are entrepreneurs, mothers, CEOs, community organisers, inventors, leaders, sisters and loyal teammates. Our event in partnership with Girls in Tech Gibraltar featured a panel of local leading ladies, Sophie Clifton-Tucker, Founder of Little English, Gibraltar’s independent language school & Editor of The Gibraltar Magazine; Brenda Cuby, Managing Director of BC Training and Operations Trustee at Gib Sams; Joanne Rodriguez, Associate Director and Business Development at Abacus Gibraltar; Justine Picardo, Partner at Hassans International Law Firm; and Kathryn Morgan, Director of Regulatory Operations & Audit Regulation Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

JUNE
In June we offered two events starting with Joey Garcia, partner at Isolas LLP, also globally renowned Blockchain and DLT legal expert, interviewing CEO & Co-Founder Founder of RSK/ RIF Labs Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar. Diego is one of the pioneers of web development in Latin America and has been since 1995 as well as being one of the global leaders in fostering and developing Bitcoin technology. He co-founded Rootstock, the first open-source peer-to-peer smart-contract platform and payment network with a 2way peg to Bitcoin, and Koibanx, both companies aim to turn the transformative potential of Bitcoin into a reality. Diego recently announced the RIF Lumino Network, a third layer solution to Bitcoin’s blockchain and is one of the best-known characters in the world in this space. His visit to Gibraltar was to participate as an expert at the University of Gibraltar’s Blockchain Certificate of Competence.
This was closely followed by Hempassion, founded in 2017 by budding Gibraltarian entrepreneurs David Martinez and Naydan Porro, with the aim to provide people with the best quality and range of hemp-based CBD products, at the best prices possible. The Gibraltar Federation of Small Business gave this year’s Innovation Award to this local company that produces a range of CBD dietary supplements. CBD is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical that’s naturally found in cannabis plants and can be used to help treat symptoms of anxiety and stress, as well as more serious conditions like multiple sclerosis. Gibraltar Government announced that they want to establish a “world class ecosystem” for medicinal cannabis research in Gibraltar and will consider licensing “a select, highly reputable and well-resourced” group of investors in the sector.

JULY
The first successful six months were rounded off with the Startup Grind & World Trade Center Summer Party, held at Dusk. Drinks, canapés and a networking reception were held, with a brief presentation from Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange CEO Kurt Looyens as Chairman of the BIC on the 1st year since the launch.

For future events Startup Grind events, visit startupgrind.com/gibraltar