By Alessandra Caggiano of e-luminate
The e-Luminate Foundation is a social enterprise and we joined Accelerate Cambridge shortly after our incorporation at the end of 2012. Our original idea is to show, through the arts, how innovation is fundamental to improve our energy saving practices. Art has the great advantage of stirring immediate reactions in the audience and creating connection among people helping to pass on our message and starting debate on the topics of light and energy saving.
One of our core activities is organising events throughout the year and bringing together two dimensions, the arts and technology, to shed light on low carbon innovation in new and creative ways. In particular, we organise an annual festival, the e-Luminate Cambridge, which helps promote our message in a series of installations, concerts, workshops and talks.
When we joined the accelerator, we had many ideas, but little focus. Hanadi and Simon have been our coaches right from the start and their advice and great connections have helped us define our goals and achieve them.
In the first year, our goal was to create a pilot festival to test our idea. We did that very successfully, but also in a such a rush that we had little time to reflect on best practice. We learnt a lot though, and our second year has been much more about building the basis for a sustainable organisation. This is really where Hanadi’s advice, in particular, as well as Natacha Wilson, one of the mentors on the programme, have really made the difference.
Through a series of meetings and workshops they have helped our team by pushing us as individuals to both expand our horizons and focus our aims. As a result of the intensive work through the accelerator, our second festival was three times bigger than the pilot and reached twice as many people as we had initially expected.
Another, perhaps obvious but nonetheless fundamental aspect of the support we have received from the Cambridge Judge Business School through Accelerate Cambridge is the use of office space. This has made a huge difference to our growing organisation as it has allowed us to have a central meeting point for the team and all the many wonderful volunteers who help on our festivals.
We will be always incredibly grateful to the programme of Accelerate Cambridge for its great choice of mentors who possess a good variety of skills and expertise. Thanks also to Hanadi and Simon for the efforts they put into the programme and helping to continuously enrich it with invaluable assistance and mentoring.