It is a well-known fact that startup competitions are growing at a high rate globally. From incubators and accelerators to corporations fostering their own competitions, the hunt for disruptive technological ideas seems to be endless. In a world of startup noise, how are interested parties finding prototypes of what really matters? Adriana Galue investigates.
The NextWomen Social Entrepreneurship Theme
In India, there is no shortage of talented female social entrepreneurs. Women like Ela Bhatt, who in 1972 founded SEWA, the world’s first and largest trade union for undocumented women workers, as well as Women’s World Banking in 1979 - have been inspiring and leading women for generations.
Hina Shah, founder of The International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), has worked for over 25 years on scaling micro, small, and medium size businesses across 21 states of India.
Kirstie White shares her journey and the lessons she has learned from the major corporate world to following her childhood dream of becoming her own boss.
The first business I built was ‘Kirstie’s Candy Corner’. It was basically a sweet shop where I created my own sherbet and sold it profitably. The only problem was that I was just seven years old! From there, the entrepreneurial spirit just grew, and the following is a speedy journey through my career and specifically how I started in the big corporate world, but just couldn’t fight that inner entrepreneur. I hope you identify with some of my experiences and gut feelings, and that you also have the confidence to cut loose and go for it to realise your career dreams!
The beginning… After leaving university in Manchester, I applied for various blue chip companies and landed a graduate job with Procter & Gamble.
Last weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:
"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".
There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.
Some conclusions from the forum were:
Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis
It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.
The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.
Empowering Women makes Financial Sense
Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.
Misty W. Gibbs explores whether you need to fail or whether you just need a first draft...
Fail fast and fail hard. Fail early and fail often. This message is drummed into aspiring entrepreneurs, almost like a badge of honor. The essence of the idea makes sense; you need to make mistakes to learn. And mistakes are unavoidable – you WILL make them. I have yet to meet an entrepreneur or businessperson who doesn’t have an answer to: ‘If I knew then what I know now…’
Shweta Jhajharia explains why over two and half million UK businesses are unable to break the coveted £1 million threshold and highlights three areas that might just hold the key.
The majority of businesses never reach the £1M turnover mark – a level often used to benchmark firms. This is significant because most business owners, when they first started, envisaged not just a multi-million pound business, but a multi-billion pound business.
Statistically, only 4% of business owners ever reach the £1M mark and further, only 10% of these businesses (that’s 0.4% of all business owners) ever reach the £10M mark.
So the question is; what's holding back more than 2,500,000 businesses, across the UK, from crossing that coveted £1M mark?
Having worked with hundreds of businesses over the last several years, I have discovered that there are striking differences between the ‘micro’ business owner and the owner of a £1M enterprise:
World Leaders unite today in Davos for the World Economic Forum, a five day conference in which the most pressing issues facing the world are discussed. This year it is entitled "Shaping the Post-Crisis World." Business leaders, executives, politicians, intellectuals and journalists are expected to talk about the economic crisis and how to get through it, but they also due to cover topics such as environmental damage, corruption, energy or health. Themes can be found here.
Attendees in the forum have historically been primarily men, but this changed when Aude Zieseniss de Thuin founded the "Davos" Women's Forum for the Economy & Society in 2005 to promote a women’s vision on the economic and social issues of the world.
This year, these are the women that will be at Davos:
Lana Larder was lucky enough to speak to author, actress, photographer, former television talk show hostess and former wife of Pierre Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada.
Margaret Trudeau has garnered more publicity than any woman in Canadian history. She now shares her personal life story in her memoir, Changing My Mind, and is a trailblazer and leader for mental health.
“I first met Pierre at a lagoon at the end of a holiday". Margaret remembers what he said, “If I ever marry she’s the one.” At 22 years old, in 1971, Margaret Trudeau became the youngest First Lady and wife of former 15th Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau. Politics are again in Margaret’s life as her son, Justin Trudeau is the current Leader for the Liberal Party in Canada.