NASTASSIA ARENDSE: The Grindstone Accelerator is a structured entrepreneurship development programme that assists highs high-growth innovation-driven companies to become sustainable and fundable. Throughout this series we will be sitting down with each of the ten companies selected for the programme, toady we have Dr Sherylle Calder. Sherylle, thank you so much for your time.
SHERYLLE CALDER: You’re welcome.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: Tell us your story, how did your company come together?
SHERYLLE CALDER: It’s really a long story, it really started as a kid, where I had this inquisitiveness about how do you do that, why do you do that, how do you measure that, how do you respond and so on. Out of that I played international sport and out of that I realised that you can train the eyes and the brain and the body in a way to impact performance.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: You run EyeGym, so tell us exactly what the company does.
SHERYLLE CALDER: We are a software company and most of our work has been in elite sport but we have found ways of impacting visual motor skills and ultimately decision-making skills to ultimately impact performance. Most of our work has obviously been in elite sport but we’ve had a lot of flow out of that where we’ve actually realised that you can impact every single person because those skills are needed on a daily basis by every individual.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: In terms of the industry that you are in is it quite competitive and where do you see it going in the next few years?
SHERYLLE CALDER: What we do is unique and it really grew out of my research and there’s not really anyone in the world taking dimension that we’ve come from because it’s been years of experience, not only with working with individuals but with elite teams all over the world as well. The impact of EyeGym is not only relevant to sporting teams, as I said, but to productivity in companies, learning skills of young kids, driving skills of individuals and so on, which, as I say, impacts life in a way every day.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: If you could have one person or an organisation that should be listening to this interview who would it be?
SHERYLLE CALDER: Probably, I call them visionary people, so it could be a CEO, it could be a leader of a school, it could be a leader in a sporting environment but today we think we can really impact everyone’s lives. So in this age of distraction the skills that are deteriorating at a really fast rate are really the skills that EyeGym is training. We find in big organisations that the distraction is so huge that productivity of the individual is deteriorating. So maybe a CEO of a big company wanting to improve the productivity of the individual within their organisation but also possibly as a wellness programme, which I think every individual needs as well.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: How do we start the conversation with you, is there a website or a LinkedIn page where people can connect?
SHERYLLE CALDER: Yes, we’ve got a website www.eyegym.com and we also have the EyeGym Facebook page, which people can visit.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: I’m sure you’ve heard about a lot of accelerator programmes that run throughout the country, what attracted you to the Grindstone Accelerator?
SHERYLLE CALDER: I think they offer a diversity of workshop content, learning opportunities, quality of introductions and overall organisation. This has been amazing, the core opportunities that we have got from this programme is mentorship, there is an extensive network of people who can help you in one way or another, also networking helps us to meet other smart people who we can learn from and grow our business and we have also learnt a lot of general business strategy from them.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: If you could have one piece of advice to other entrepreneurs out there listening to you what would it be?
SHERYLLE CALDER: I think coming from the perspective of EyeGym, real innovation requires an openness to growth and risk and learning. This means that you can’t be slave to your fears, especially those driven by past experiences and disappointments, which EyeGym have experienced. I think you also need to reward openness and put your team above all else. Probably the most important thing that I’ve learnt is trust your gut.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: Dr Sherylle Calder, we’ll have to leave it there, thank you so much for your time.
SHERYLLE CALDER: Thank you.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: That was Dr Sherylle Calder, she is the founder of EyeGym.