Bridge International – Stellenbosch!

1st July 2014
Beryl Shuttleworth
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(Continued from here.)Bridge International selected 11 companies to go to the Stellenbosch bootcamp. We left on a January morning and I immediately spotted a few familiar faces in the BA queue – Claire from Reel Gardening and Matthew from Fresh Earth. But when we arrived in Cape Town, we gathered the whole bunch together and tracked down our driver.

From the word go, we worked. (And ate, but that is another story. ;-)) We were taught hugely valuable business lessons from very skilled people from Absa, EDFM, CedarMenagerie , Spinnaker Growth and Stellenbosch University. The best thing about it was, as Matthew from Fresh Earth said: “Normally, when I want to ‘talk shop’, I get moaned at by my wife. Here, I can talk shop all day, every day. That is a huge privilege.”

Wow, did we learn. Our businesses were pulled apart, dissected and put together again. Our methods of doing business were questioned, redesigned, corrected. Our personalities were changed even.

On the last day, we had to present to a panel of top Cape businessmen. Now, I’ve told you before how nervous I am of public speaking. Terrified would be a more accurate word. I spent the entire Thursday preparing my fifteen minute presentation. Friday morning, when my turn came, I got up and started speaking. Miraculously, after a few minutes I was no longer nervous. Not at all. I actually enjoyed myself. I even handled the questions well.

I am no longer a nervous public speaker. That week in Stellenbosch changed me. For the better.

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