Ingrid Vanderveldt, EIR At DELL And The 1 Billion That Will Make The Difference.

Ingrid Vanderveldt, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell.Katerina Zherebtsova of The NextWomen interviews Ingrid Vanderveldt, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell. In additional to this position, Vanderveldt also has an incredible array of titles earned in every area that life has to offer, from being a successful woman, to a member of a United Nations 10 people Global Entrepreneur Council team. A charismatic achiever, she has a vision to make the future happen today.

Who better to ask about empowering female entrepreneurship and the key trends that we can foresee this year, than a woman who made it her mission to empower not a few, but 1 billion women by 2020. In fact, more women in leadership positions is one of the key trends that Ingrid Vanderveldt predicts for 2014:

“In 2014, I believe the rate at which women are taking leadership positions and owning their potential is going to grow at rates we can’t even fathom. For example, the first female law firm just opened in Saudi Arabia – something that would’ve been unheard of just 12 months ago!”

Vanderveldt is particularly enthusiastic about the support of the corporations, which enhance the effectiveness and the reach of the ‘1 Billion Women by 2020’ mission:

“With public/private partnerships such as Dell’s work with the UN Foundation, we are now in a position to create change for women on a global scale and this year we’ll continue to see increased collaboration between governments, international organizations, the private sector, and individual stakeholders to positively impact female entrepreneurship worldwide”.

We spoke to Ingrid Vanderveldt about the entrepreneurial trends of 2014, empowering women, and her belief that if we are going to get our global economy turned around, it will be through a new set of eyes, the eyes of women. 

TNW: Why Dell, and what is your role of ‘Entrepreneur-in-Residence’?

IV: I first became involved with Dell through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, a community of women entrepreneurs from around the world collaborating with one another to grow their businesses, connecting with each other both on and offline. 

When I saw the company’s longstanding commitment to women business owners, I recognized the opportunity to partner with Dell, given our shared vision.

I currently oversee entrepreneurial initiatives globally at Dell, in my role as the company’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. The Dell Center for Entrepreneurs is a program that I helped launch, and it’s been amazing to see how much it’s grown since inception, as we expanded the program into the UK in November, just launched in Ireland last week, and have many more expansion plans in store for 2014.

TNW: How will the ‘1 Billion Women’ mission empower women?

IV: I fundamentally believe that if we are going to get our global economy turned around, it will be the entrepreneurs and small business owners who do it, not the large corporations. In addition, it will happen through a new set of eyes, the eyes of women. 

Women control 70% of the global purchasing. They reinvest 90% of what they make back into their families, education and their communities.

If we are going to create a world that is sustainable, it will happen through the women.

It is my objective to reach these women and to provide the tools, technologies and resources they need to see themselves as successful leaders, and ultimately, successful entrepreneurs.

TNW: How can corporations help entrepreneurs in 2014?

IV: Finding success as an entrepreneur isn’t just about coming up with the “next big idea,” it’s about having the passion, tenacity and dedication to actually take that idea from vision to reality. It’s about finding the right people to help you bring that idea to life, and not giving up when everything doesn’t go according to plan. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen many entrepreneurs with great ideas fail, and it’s often because these individuals lack access to the capital, networks, or knowledge they need to succeed.

This is why, as part of my role overseeing the Center for Entrepreneurs at Dell, we launched the Founders Club, a program which is focused on business acceleration for disruptive companies. Our team has hand-selected a group of CEOs and founders who are game changers in their industries and poised for massive growth, and is putting the power of Dell behind them to help them access the resources that their success depends on in this critical period for their businesses.

TNW: Is there a conversation between corporations and entrepreneurs already? How can corporations and entrepreneurs benefit from each other’s work?

IV: As companies grow into multinational corporations, they’re experiencing constant pressure to stay innovative and remain competitive – and what better way to inspire entrepreneurial thinking than by bringing in an entrepreneur?

One way to bring the entrepreneurial mindset into corporations is through entrepreneur in residence (EIR) programs.

By bringing the ambition, guts and gumption of entrepreneurs to bear, we can find new, innovative ways to drive out costs, drive up productivity and grow our economy again.

At Dell, I was hired on to “bring the outside in,” helping to drive strategy and create a more meaningful bridge between Dell and the entrepreneurial communities the company serves. In the same vain as big companies can benefit from entrepreneurial thinking to stay flexible and keep innovating, by connecting with big companies, entrepreneurs can gain new exposure and access to new resources that wouldn’t be available to them otherwise. At Dell, the Center for Entrepreneurs is designed with this purpose – to help emerging businesses to gain the resources, expertise and solutions they need to get to market quicker. 

TNW: What does ‘sustainability’ mean in 2014, and how can technology empower sustainability?

IV: Sustainability is not just about “going green” (as in green energy per se), but is rather about creating profitable companies that create jobs and make an impact in local and global communities. Technology empowers sustainability from this perspective, as leveraging technology opens markets, helps control costs (green), and in the expansion of the companies, creates jobs that impact local and global communities. 

I often say that “technology is the key enabler and escalator to entrepreneurial success”. 

So really, sustainability for me all comes down to creating companies thoughtfully, using technology to do good and do well (financially). 

Vanderveldt identifies 6 entrepreneurial marketing Trends for 2014

Social media: All users, teens and adults alike, are using multiple platforms to suit their needs - LinkedIn for professional networking, Pinterest for social bookmarking, Instagram for photo-sharing, etc. With so many platforms, effective marketing means going where your customers are and finding ways to have meaningful and personal interactions.

Profits with purpose: Launching and maintaining a successful business is no longer just about the bottom line. We’re seeing more and more companies building sustainability and a vision beyond profits into their cultures from day one, and attracting customers and top talent in the process.

Regional competitive advantage: there are benefits to being a big fish in a small pond, and the competitive advantage of regional economies should also be a factor in your decision-making process.

Digital currency: From new advancements in mobile payment software, to Bitcoin’s evolution into a multi-billion dollar ecosystem recognized by hedge funds and Congress, it’s important for startups to familiarize themselves with alternative currencies and payment methods that are out there, as they help entrepreneurs expand their customer base, reduce per transaction costs and improve user experience, but can also create new security risks.

IPO or not: If there’s a lesson to be learned from Michael Dell’s battle to bring Dell private in 2013, it’s that stockholders require an intense focus on short-term gains, which can sometimes be counterproductive to the long-term viability of a company. Entrepreneurs thinking about going public in 2014 should take note and carefully weigh the pros and cons before reaching their decision.

Women are rising to the top: Not a new trend, but, in 2014, I believe the rate at which women are taking leadership positions and “owning their potential” is going to grow at rates we can’t even fathom.

Katerina Zherebtsova, the conductor of this interview with Ingrid Vanderveldt, works with entrepreneurs in Tech, Fashion and Education to create long-term growth through branding, partnerships and collaborations. Previously, Katerina consulted P&G on pan-European digital strategy, worked with FIAT, Agent Provocateur, TomTom, Heinz Baby, Red Bull amongst others.

Katerina is a keen mentor for young talent, both in business and in graduate education, through providing strategic marketing advice, practical tips and extending her network. Katerina writes a lifestyle blog on Huffington Post, a style diary on Netrobe and a regular blog for active kids on Yummy and Olympic – a children’s sportswear brand that she created.

“I believe that mentorship is the only way to inspire, be inspired and never give up aspiring”.

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