An enthralling interview with Mary Grove; Managing Partner at Bread and Butter ventures and Co-founder Silicon North Stars, on ‘Why Supporting Entrepreneurs Matter’.
She served Google for over 15 years and was a founding Director at Google for Entrepreneurs. Her credentials speak volumes of her work in tech industry as well as work for young and aspiring entrepreneurs. Her views were an encouraging blend of how dynamic women can build others up and why it is important to pass on what one once received.
A simple question: why it matters?
The most important question that goes to the core is that why it matters to support young entrepreneurs? Mary explains it in the simplest yet most meaningful manner. It matters because the best entrepreneurs are fundamentally solving a problem that they have or perhaps millions other may have and this makes it a great initiative in itself to support and encourage.
The problems faced today will be solved by the entrepreneurs and start-ups innovating technology driven approaches. These young innovators are the leaders we must build for tomorrow.
Ask yourself: What can I do?
Why it matters is a question of fact, what I can do is a question of perspective. It is about having an eye on the future, not only in terms of investing in the start-up but also for boosting and mindfully moulding the next generation of investors. Like said above, it is about giving back what you once received. If you help invest in some ones idea today, they will return to the circle tomorrow.
1. As a big company:
Mary suggests that as a business it is helpful to invest in start-ups, to partner with them. This can be done in many ways such as involving them in your own set-ups, for instance buying from them or sponsoring local events to bridge the gap between them and the market.
2. As part of government/ public sector:
As part of the government and as policy makers, individuals in this sector can make policies that encourage start-ups. This can be done not only in terms of financial leverages but also as a support cushion in case of failures.
Most importantly: What should the entrepreneurs do?
Mary Grove’s advice to the entrepreneurs is most apt, that they should wean in to their place in the setup rather than copy others. Same is applicable to the start-ups in Pakistan, or for that matter all around the globe, that innovators should not try to mimic the Silicon Valley but be an original of them self. Following are some health tips:
- Take ideas from your own back yard: do not copy and instead bring creativity and ingenuity on the table.
- Launch quickly: do not wait long to get feedback. Instead keep innovating and taking feedback to know if you are doing the right thing.
- Team building: prioritise team building. Surround yourself with a team willing to work together and give a healthy input.
- Know what kind of company you want to build and how to finance it. Manage your stakes beforehand.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Seek out mentors who have been in the market and know the pros and cons. There is no shame in learning or seeking guidance.
- Nurture relationships and partnerships that will last longer than a mere ‘NO’. Learn not to take a rejection them personally but to grow from them. Patience and perseverance help.
Changing times and the new normal:
It is essential to adopt healthy practices and encourage others, especially in time of a global pandemic, which has taken bread from the hands of many. So if you see an innovative idea, crating opportunities for others, reach out help out!
The challenges people face vary from developed to developing and under-developed countries. Be an investor in positivity because talent and innovation has no boundaries. Many people are leaving big city charms to where there is more room for growth.
Similarly, women are taking more leadership roles unlike the past. Invest in them. Believe in them. Mary suggests, from her own experience as a mother, that women entrepreneurs can create a healthy balance between work and family by setting boundaries and being unapologetic about it. She says team work and a good support system knitted around you could be more helpful. We must encourage them.
Thus, to conclude, we must support entrepreneurs as the whole idea of it is to encourage the next generation of innovators and investors. The strategy may change or the product may vary with time, but believe in the person and their vision and lend your support to it.