... it's who I know.
Creating a Network
'It's not where you go, its who you know'; this saying has resonated with me ever since I heard it. I soon realised that I am only as strong as my network and that being an entrepreneur can be lonely. I have been lucky a few times as a result of the 'right time, right place and right person' phenomenon. Below are some of the amazing projects I have been involved in that have allowed me to create a global network.
A World Economic Forum Initiative
The Global Shapers community is a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. It is an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
The projects range from an election awareness campaign to influencing policy for entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Google Campus, Spain
An Analysis of the Spanish Startup Ecosystem
As part of the build up to Google Campus opening in Madrid, I was part of the team researching the Spanish entrepreneurship ecosystem. We analysed Spain as a startup destination to ascertain the gaps that Google Campus could fill prior to its opening in Madrid.
The research was done via a survey, semi-structured interviews with the stakeholders within the ecosystem, international entrepreneurs who have built a company in Spain and a focus group of startups at IE Business School's incubator, Area 31.
Here is the report on the Spanish Startup Ecosystem.
The project was done by Startups Made in Spain.
Power of Youth, South Africa
Creating a Global Network of Entrepreneurs
Power of Youth focuses on 'building a better world through beautiful business'. They do this by creating a community of entrepreneurs who are able to use their businesses to positively impact the world.
There have been summits in China, India, South Africa and Scotland. I was responsible for bringing the summit in South Africa.
(Video by Josh Hayman of Manincape)
The Perfect Startup Offer
Startup Chile is one of the few accelerators simply getting it right. They are backed by the Chilean Government and provide the three basic needs for any startup:
- equity-free seed capital ($40 000)
- office space
- six-month accelerator programme
The former Chilean Minister of Economy said: 'Instead of changing the world through revolution, we can change the world through innovation'.
I was fortunate to be a judge for a few intakes and loved the opportunity.
Startup Bus Africa
Connecting African Tech Entrepreneurs
Startup Bus Africa is a hackathon on wheels. Over five days, 30 entrepreneurs travel 2500 km from Harare, Zimbabwe to Cape Town, South Africa. The idea is to build and launch a startup along the way. At the end of the road trip, each team has to pitch their startup idea to a panel of judges and investors. The main focus is on e-health, mobile and education.
I was part of the team that brought Startup Bus Europe to Africa in 2013, we made it onto national television in South Africa (see video from 24min).
A South Africa–Holland Collaboration
Brains Xchange has challenged more than 6,000 students from all parts of the Netherlands to come up with entrepreneurial solutions for unemployment, housing, water and waste issues in Cape Town.
The selected finalists went to Cape Town to better understand the local context and to further develop implementation of the ideas.
I was the South African partner to the project and a judge at the pitching event.
Design for Change
Enabling Children to Create Change
Design for Change is the largest global movement designed to give children an opportunity to express their own ideas for a better world and put them into action.
For one week a year (the week of Mahatma Ghandi's birthday) 170,000 school students are able to 'be the change they want to see'.
For the first 2 years, Brenda Goldblatt and I formed the South African team and worked with schools in Khayelitsha (a township in Cape Town).