Entrepreneurship is defined as “The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit.”Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/entrepreneurship.html
At our recent seminar, Get Started, it became abundantly clear to me that there is a lot more to being an entrepreneur than developing, organizing and managing a business while facing the odd risk along the way. From the presentations given at this conference I can tell you it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Get Started is a free seminar for people who are looking to start their own business and need advice from entrepreneurs on the dos and don’ts of business start-ups. At the seminar, entrepreneurs who have found success told their stories and gave advice on starting up a business based on the experiences they have had in the past. Some of the guest speakers who attended were Phillipe Bordeur, CEO of Overcast HQ, Brian O’Rourke, CEO of CitySwifter, Elva Carri, founder of Girlcrew, Gavan Walsh, CEO of iCabbi and Iseult Ward, CEO of FoodCloud.
“Helping teams manage video files as easily as word documents”.
Overcast is a platform that allows companies to easily share archive and edit videos and ensuring that all files are under constant protection. This means that if a company like amazon wanted to produce a video for their customers or shareholders, the video file could be transferred onto Overcast HQs cloud based storage system so that it can be accessed by editors who need to work on it and managers who need to approve it without downloading it and resending it, thus saving time and storage space. As one hour of 4K video can take up as much memory as 200 GB it is a very useful tool for any company who wises to us evades as a form of information transfer.
A brief summary of Overcast HQ in their own words:
However, CEO Philippe Bordeur had a lot more to say than just a summary of his business. According to him, one of the most important part of any business is differentiating yourself from your competitors, giving yourself an edge on everyone else. You need that something special that sets you apart from the rest of the pack or else you’ll never get traction, The traction necessary for your businesses growth and development.
Here’s an article from Entrepreneur.com on how to identify your businesses USP (Unique Selling Point), the key to differentiation: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/190942.
“CitySwifter is a crowd-sourced commuter shuttle bus that picks you up near your home and drops you off at work”-CitySwifter
In essence, CitySwifter is designed for people who need cheap transport when public transport isn’t a viable option. You can find people in your area who are doing similar journeys and book a shuttle bus to pick you up and take you to your desired location. CitySwifter is excellent for people who are looking for affordable, comfortable and quick transport around the city.
CEO Brian O’Rourke also had advice for any future entrepreneurs. He told us that the key to success in business is networking and having the courage to make an effort. Networking is incredibly important part of success in business. It is an essential skill to have in order to find people with different skill sets who can help you to develop your business and open new doors which were previously unavailable to you. In the case of CitySwifter, CEO Brian O’Rourke was able to find someone with experience in software development through his networking skills who could help him in designing an app which will be available soon.
For more information on networking, here’s an article by localenterprise.ie on a guide to networking in business: https://www.localenterprise.ie/Fingal/Start-or-Grow-your-Business/Start-a-Business/Business-Networking-Guide/
Courage to pursue your business idea was another big part of Brian’s presentation. He said that if he hadn’t of put the pressure on himself to make CitySwifter an operational business during the recent bus strikes, he may have never launched CitySwifter. Just going for it and figuring out the kinks along the way was what made his business possible. His experiences from mistakes in the past he had made with previous business ventures and his belief in his business model were the two keys in his current success with CitySwifter.
“Don’t just share experiences, create them.”-Girlcrew
Girlcrew is a company set up by Elva Carri where women can find other women who are looking to make friends and attend events that they would have otherwise had to go to alone. The business was founded by Elva when she was feeling lonely and needed someone to go dancing with. The business idea is incredibly practical, thousands of people who live their lives on “social” media suffer from loneliness. Elva suffered from the same problem and after talking to hundreds of other girls who felt as she did it soon became apparent to her that she had an opportunity to turn this into a profitable business.
Elva explained that her business was perfect for four main reasons. Firstly there was a need for it, Elva saw that other girls needed a platform where they could meet new people and experience new things. This need is what made it possible for Elvas idea to become a profitable business. Secondly it appeared to be scalable, meaning that Elva knew that she would be able to expand her business in the future and that she could pursue this as a career, dedicating her full time to her new business.
Thirdly, Elva was not required to organise each event. Users were able to organise events amongst themselves without Elva. This made the business very easy to run for Elva as she was then able to focus on the larger sponsored events where she was able to make the majority of her profit. Finally, the business would scale for free. Elva didnt have to invest large quantities of money to expand her business. Word of mouth and a software developer to improve the user interface were all that would be required in order to expand her business. These ingredients are the keys at Elvas success and can be used by other entrepreneurs to develop their ow business ideas.
“Customer-driven innovation in Dispatch Technology”-iCabbi
iCabbi, founded by Gavan Walsh, is a cloud based dispatch system that allows companies with a fleet of vehicles to track the whereabouts of their driers eat all times. This means companies like taxi companies or delivery companies can track their drivers and let their customers know how long until arrival. This creates a more reliable service and cuts costs across the board. Gavin hopes to expand his cloud based tracking system into amazon, food delivery and truck delivery companies across Europe. He believes that his system will dramatically reduce the delivery time and increase the consistency of their deliveries.
Gavan Walsh has had many attempts at running his own business in the past, some attempts more successful than others. Gavan stressed the importance of learning from mistakes in business. He says that literally every mistake has made in the past has helped him to develop iCabbi into a successful business. His message to us and any other potential entrepreneurs was that when you fail in business you must learn from it and don’t be afraid to try. Believe in your business and if it does fail, figure out what went wrong and you can avoid it the next time.
Here’s another article from entrepreneur.com on 10 things to learn from failing startups:https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235250
FoodCloud is a company, co-founded by Iseult Ward, which aims to reduce food waste by food companies and also tries to combat the problem of poverty in Ireland. FoodCloud links supermarkets to local charities, the supermarket posts their leftover food on the FooCloud app, the app then notifies the local charity who can then collect the food and redistribute it to the people who need it. This reduces food waste on the part of the supermarket which otherwise would be 30% of all food stock. It also means that the charities can provide food for local families who otherwise would have to go another night without food.
FoodCloud Hubs work with food companies such as farms, suppliers and manufacturers to store exceed food that the companies may have. The Hubs then log all their stored food on their IT system, take orders from local charities and then deliver it to the charities for a nominal contribution to help with storage and transport. Heres a video explaining the FoodCloud Hubs in more detail: https://vimeo.com/188539918
FoodCloud is a company that has had to overcome many difficulties. In the beginning supermarkets would not even allow them access to their premises to evaluate their food wastage. It took a lot of time and persuasion in order to develop FoodCloud into a charity that would be able to help people and still function in a financial sense. That is the message that Iseult had for us, determination and a will to go on is vital in business. Iseult said that when trying to develop FoodCloud she kept in mind a famous quote from Samuel Beckett.
I believe that this seminar was highly beneficial to all who attended. We were able to hear stories of both success and failure from entrepreneurs who even today are working hard to make their businesses succeed. We were taught that you must differentiate yourself from your competitors if you want to find any kind of success. This differentiation is what will help us to be seen by investors, its what give us the edge over everyone else, its the traction that we need to move forward as a business.
We learnt the importance of networking in order to meet new people. These are the people that will help our business when we need it. They have skills and knowledge that we may not have, but need in order to succeed. People with experience in software design or accountancy skills can be very resourceful for any business and networking is the key to finding these people with skills that differ from your own.
We found out that making mistakes isn’t something to be ashamed of. As proven by Gavan Walsh, mistakes can be used as learning experiences. Every time you make a mistake you can analyse it, see what went wrong and avoid it in the future. It also means that you don’t have to fear making mistakes in business. Entrepreneurs are so afraid of making any kind of mistake that they stop taking risks, but if you know that making mistakes can actually help you in the long run then you can have the courage to take a few risks with your business venture.
Finally we learnt that with just pure determination you can make anything happen. Any difficulty that you may have to face in business can be overcome if you just keep trying to overcome it. In the car of FoodCloud no supermarket chain would even listen to their idea, but after many attempts they finally listened. Now FoodCloud is liked with many supermarkets and other food companies across the country. This is the determination that lets businesses move forward.
Overall this seminar provided us with the knowledge and tools necessary to develop our business ideas int reality. The stories told and messages delivered were all key in informing us on how businesses function in their early stages and the pitfalls to avoid along the way. We are now fully equipped to Get Started.