Try to put an entrepreneurship venture into words and music, and then push play. Jan Lepoutre gives us the soundtrack to your entrepreneurship movie.There are musics that echo greatly with a moment in your life, whether it's a celebration or a stressful moment. Creating a company is one of the biggest venture one can undertake, and yet there is no music or soundtrack dedicated to relate the emotions it bring. Or is there?
"In most important moments in life, we celebrate with music : we put our weddings in music, if our favorite team wins we all sing " we are the champions" by Queen, but when we think of entrepreneurship, which is also a celebration of human endeavour, of life, we don't put any music to it."
"Failure really is unimportant, but it takes courage to make a fool of yourself.""If you really wanna see what you are intrinsically capable of, it's not going to be in your dreams. You'll have to take action, and if you fail, you'll just have to continue and to persevere until you see what you think you are really capable of."
"My goal is to provide you as much value as I can, helping you achieve success in entrepreneurship if it is that what you want to achieve"
3 things you shouldn't do when building your own company:
1. "I want to be my own boss"
"You shouldn't lunch a company because you want to be your own boss. Being your own boss does not exist, when you are a CEO, you have employees you need to help, you have investors you need to report to, you have emergencies you need to deal with..."
"To me a CEO means having complete control over your schedule, over your tasks and that never happens in a company"
2. "I have a great idea"
"Having an idea is worthless, what matters is the execution, is how you are going to attract the right investors, how you are going to attract the right employees, how you are going to build a product that is simple enough to use, how you are going to target the right users for your products. That's what matters"
3. "I can't tell you my idea"
"Talk and share your idea, I am going to give your feedback. That is how you are going to find employees, co-founders, maybe investors. So please talk about your idea as much as possible"
3 simple things you should do when building a company:
1. "Passion or die"
"First of all you want to have incredible passion for your product, you want to live your product, only think about your product"
"One of the biggest failures today is that if you are driven by anything than passion you won't succeed. Money, fame, that doesn't work, that comes and goes. Passion stays forever"
2. "Don't start a company, start a project"
"There is a big difference between launching a company and launching a product. I think today a lot of people want to launch a company. You want to launch a product, you want to start small, with a fun project and then share it with a few friends, etc"
3. "Solve your own problem"
"Forget about 15th year old children's problem, you don't know what their lives are, what their problems are, you don't know how they deal with their problems. You know how to deal with your problems. So, if you build a product that fixes one of your problems the odds are that there are some people in this world that have the same problem as you do. So, focus on solving your own problem"
"Toolification of the world"
"The current shift I'm seeing with entrepreneurs is that engineers that build successful products 5-10 years ago they started building tools for other people to build great products. So you have access now to tools that don't require technical skills"
"In entrepreneurship what is next is you, you non engineers, not entrepreneurs yet, that are next in line to build the amazing companies"
Selling the future is actually hard for people, because this is new, and that is why there are currently a lot of failures. Jacques Birol brings us the key to sell the future properly. ///
"When you sell the future, you embark people for a very long journey but you have a very short time."
"What we do when we sell the future is resetting all the system."
"We are too brainy, we need to stimulate our body intelligence."
"How many of you have seen the movie Shreck? The green ogre with his donkey? Do you remember the beginning, how the movie starts? Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, the king and queen were blessed with a beautiful baby daughter. Everyone was happy until they discovered that she was cursed. And so she was kept away in a very high tower, protected by a dragon, waiting for a prince. And here we have our prince Charming, who wants to rescue her. It was he who had chanced this perilous journey through blistering coals, scorching deserts, traveling day and night, risking life and limb to reach the dragon’s den.
For he was the bravest and most handsome in all the land. It was destiny that his kiss would save the princess from the dreaded curse. Now, for a moment, if you want to compare this beautiful story to reality, we can very well compare the journey of prince Charming to the journey of every entrepreneur. Blistering coals, scorching deserts, sleepless nights and, of course, dragons. Ok, for the story’s sake, our entrepreneur could be a charming princess as well.
So, this journey of entrepreneurship is about survival. We need to survive to reach the end. We all have the basic instincts of survival. And survival requires innovative thinking. Think about your life, think about the time you were faced with an important decision, or a very difficult choice whose results would take you to uncharted territories so that you could adapt to a challenging situation. In our routine lives we are faced with such choices to handle the situations that life throws at us.
And how we deal with these choice and how we face the results determines who we are. This is a mindset. And normally we associate this mindset with entrepreneurs. But the truth is that there is an entrepreneur in all of us. In the morning, when we decide to take the road not taken, we are engaging in a small act of entrepreneurship. This journey or entrepreneurship is about choices – the right ones and the wrong ones. It’s about perspectives – optimistic and pessimistic. It’s about learning to fail and making failure an asset. And it’s also about leading without a title. So, this spirit and mindset needs to be recognizes, harnessed and developed.
So, when the going gets tough, you get going. I myself have failed many times, I am leaning every day. I have not yet started my own company, but today I like to call myself an entrepreneur. Thank you."
"I'm a firm believer that media can be a tool to change the perception that men have on women."
"A lot of programs that we [at the Womanity Foundation] are doing is, we start things and we collaborate with people. That's been the big frustration for me in philanthropy, there are not enough people collaborating together and too many people doing the same thing."
"We have a program to help social entrepreneurs scale their impact, with consulting firms although we initially started with pro bono."
"For girls' education we have two programs in two countries. First one is in Afghanistan, where we transform state schools into model schools. We don't do what the government should do, which is paying the teachers and the infrastructures. We train the teachers, we develop the curriculum with them and we bring other activities like introducing sports into women schools. [...] We believe in giving the same chances."
"One of the core principles of Empow’Her is to work really closely with local organization to transfer skills and to help them carry out their project."
"You may wonder what is a social enterprise, the model stands somewhere between the NGO model and traditional business model. (...) So we created San Jai, that is, San Jai in Thai means „weaving hurts“. Basically women who are in these shelters are being trained and then they produce handicrafts and then these handicrafts are being sold to customers."
„But it’s not only about handicraft“, it is about regaining self-confidence through the creative process to earn decent wage and work in a safe environment.“
“Instead of seeing challenges we saw a lot of incredible opportunities”
"(…)the women. Instead of seeing them as victims of violence, we saw them as incredibly talented professionals.”
What you give is what you get was our motto with Luisa during these six months, but actually we received way more than what we gave"
"We created two collections of products, and these are made from up-cycled material. This is from rice bags, and we believe that even though our main goal is a social goal we also have an environmental duty and we should be as ecofriendly as possible. Our biggest challenge but also achievement was definitely to train those women, and we’ve trained fifteen women, and we called the director of the center last week and she told us that many more women are coming to the training that are now very successful."
Talking about honesty, honestly.
What do you think are the key drivers of an entrepreneur to start a business ? Is it money? Wealth? Is it power? Is it changing the world? I'm pretty sure everyone has a rough idea, but I made my little inquiry about it, and believe me or not, it is about 80% of us, entrepreneurs, who's main goal when we start a business is to change the world.
Now the question is: How do we change the world ?
Well, until recently, those big tycoons of the traditional industry, those who made billions once they got 60, 70 years old, had some time to retire and then think: " Ok, how am I gonna give back?" "How am I gonna give back to the world what it gave me before?"
But in this stage of their life, I think when you are 70, 80 years old, you are more in a kind of passive attitude, where you are ready to invest as a philanthropist, but maybe you have a little bit less juice to get on.
Now we, social entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs from the IT industry, we had the chance to work in a industry where the velocity is amazing. And it gave us the opportunity, to get access to these... call it whatever you want: wealth, capital, access to network, strategic vision and experience, while we are still 30, 40 years old, I believe we still have juice.
Do I have juice here? Enough? Ok, good!
And until now, as I said, I think this give back situation was more in a passive way whereas us. When I say "us", this is not only me, but this is again, a vast majority of my friends who had the chance to succeed in business. They don't want to stop. Eventually, they want to go back to an ex-venture, but most of us, believe me or not, want to do it differently.
Most of us now, we want to change the world and use this access to capital, this access to strategic vision, this access to an amazing network of contacts we've made in our entrepreneur life, to do things differently.
Now... How to change the world ? There is a Chinese proverb, everyone knows it... Sorry to use that again, you've heard it so many times. " If you wan to feed a man, teach him how to fish." Right?
Ok, I am going to use this metaphor a little bit to explain what I believe social impact is.
Around the world, they are millions of people who are trying to fish everyday.
In a word, that need access to capital, that need access to advice, that need access to networking, and, well they need teachers. I think social entrepreneurs can be considered as teachers. Fishing teachers. And they are millions, maybe not millions, but thousands of social entrepreneurs in the world: Africa, Europe, US. These entrepreneurs who have as a goal to teach people how to fish.
Now, us, investors, those who have had a chance to get access to capital, our role is to identify those fish teachers, to give them access to capital, to grow faster, to get a better understanding and more advice, strategic advice, and get access to more network.
These 3 key elements in a growth of any project. The growth of any project, you need to get: money to found it, you need to get access to networking and you need to get access to strategic advice.
Until recently I believed these were exclusively reserved for the start-up world. IT start-ups? Yes they had access to that. Biotech start-ups ? Yes they had access to that. "Social" business and social NGOs ? Not really, I mean, in everyone's vision, there is still a vision like where social business is more like a kind of dusty NGO somewhere held around a nice table with old women drinking tea and coffee.
No, that's not it. Social entrepreneurs today are entrepreneurs who are moving ahead with a lot of energy and they want to use this energy and the capital we provide them, the advice we provide them, the strategical advice and the network to grow faster.
The fisherman story, I want to use it one more time.
You students, you in this room, just imagine: what do you want to do in your future ? Do you want to sail a big ship and with one single boat catch millions of fish every single day with one boat? Or, do you want to teach millions of people how to fish around the world ?
And I believe today the planet has no choice, I mean we're in danger, the planet is in danger because there are social problems around the world, there are biodiversity problems, and I think there is no choice. But you, you are young, I think you have a choice.
"An entrepreneur is a person who will create and innovate to build something by creating opportunities and making profits. A Veut-repreneur is a person who has always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never dared"
"When we talk about entrepreneurs, we always talk about people that believe in themselves and in their capabilities"
Everyone is always talking about growth; but really what is important to understand is what are the kernels of growth?
Growth is a multidirectionnal prospect that stems from an advantage; but how to define and characterize this advantage? Whether it is build around an asset or a service, the growth of a company must take into account various criteria regarding the market and its structure before implementing a good strategy.
"If you don't think what growth pathway you're going to take, your company is going to go nowhere fast."
"Strategy of zero and margins of nothing is zero."
"Building a company is done brick by brick."
"Being able to understand and to figure out how to use not only your assets but to combine that with growth dynamics is the key to building a good growth."