Posted on December 1, 2017 by staff

‘I overcame self-doubt to win Tech 1sts’


When Liz Ashall-Payne started health and fitness app review site ORCHA for the first year she felt like her idea wasn’t of value.

A little over two years later and she has gone on to be crowned winner of BusinessCloud’s ‘Meet the game-changing pioneers of tech’ event on Tuesday, which was sponsored by Havas PR.

Ashall-Payne pitched her business along 15 other ‘tech 1st’ first-to-market businesses in front of a 60-strong audience.

There was also a judging panel made up of Anastasia Kenyon of Lifestyler, financial services expert Damian McGann, Jonathan Welsh of Havas PR and Sarah Novotny of Business Growth Hub.

“Thank you very much – I wasn’t expecting that,” said Ashall-Payne who will receive £1,000 from Havas, following her win.

“It’s a journey. For the first 12 months I didn’t feel what I was doing was of value and when I went to sales pitches I would feel a bit embarrassed about asking for money for something that had come out of my head.

“That has changed obviously as the business has grown but that confidence does have highs and lows.

“I question everything I do and every decision I make so I’m genuinely touched.

“It will give me energy and the drive to take it on and hopefully achieve a social benefit as well as a wealth benefit.”

Ashall-Payne said she wasn’t expecting to win when she walked into the room, especially seeing the quality of other businesses also hoping to take home the top spot.

Food smart-packaging solution Mimica was named runner-up of the day following the vote.

Other companies shared their first-to-market tech products and businesses onstage, ranging from a company that makes holograms to a telematics company.

“I told the team what I was going to be doing this afternoon and I said I don’t think we’ll win because I know we’re up against some amazing companies,” said Ashall-Payne.

“When I saw I was last to pitch my heart sank because I knew everyone was going to be amazing.

“I was quite nervous and I’m not someone who normally gets nervous but I knew watching other people who were amazing would make me nervous.

“I just can’t believe it actually. I’m genuinely massively surprised and it means a lot.

“We’ve worked really hard over the last two years and it feels like we’re on a bit of a wave at the moment.

“Tomorrow is our board meeting so I can walk in to see our shareholders with this amazing news.”