Yup, I just needed to post this. It was worth altering sleep cycles! After learning, reviewing and taking tests pertaining to modules on: Establishing Successful Entrepreneurship Programs, Guiding Companies: Leveraging Resources and Strategies, Finance and Operations for Sustainable Entrepreneurship Programs, and Design and Management of Facilities that Serve Entrepreneurs, I finally have my certificate! More than just getting the certificate itself, it was wonderful to gain first-hand insight from different incubation managers and pick their brains in the flesh. This process also served as good validation of the programs and ways to help entrepreneurs. Thank you IdeaSpace for supporting me in this effort.
When I was in Orlando 3 weeks ago to join the training sessions, I had the opportunity to meet different incubation managers fom all over the world (folks from the east coast to west coast to Egypt, Gibraltar, Korea and Madagascar!). Indeed, unique challenges are defined for every region in this world. I noticed that many of the US practitioners did not necessarily have a sustainability problem since there is substantial government support for incubators, whereas most of the international practitioners present there were either still running alpha versions of incubators, or are significantly thinking of ways and means to sustain the initiative.
My conversations with the people I have met in the conference definitely warrant another post. We had conversations about things like incorporating transcendental meditation as a way of supporting entrepreneurs, all the way to things like managing entrepreneurs who get defensive during the coaching process and would challenge us managers by saying things like, “if you’re so good at running a company, why don’t you do it yourself?”. Incubator folks: sounds familiar? Ha! But more on that later.
Out of the various discussions and sharings on best practice, challenges, and the like, one thing is definitely shared among all of us: that is, keeping the entrepreneur at the core and center of everything we do.
From Theory to Practice
One of the key takeaways I brought with me was that I learned about how incubator managers, with all the work needed on functions like admin, linkages, lead gen, etc., statistically only 30% time is spent with entrepreneurs. There was emphasis on having to conscientiously move the needle to a bigger percentage.
Since last week was my 1st full week back in the office after that lengthy (and super meaningful!) trip in the US, I decided to join most of the check-up meetings with the startups. I learned so much! It was amazing to see once-upon-a-time fledgling teams with only a startup idea months ago evolve into building a legit mechanism of helping its target addressable market. It was also gut-wrenching to see the teams that focused on form and pitching fall desperately behind on product building that is conscientiously based on market validation sprints. Such is life.
So IdeaSpace has this internal tradition that we have in the acceleration program called TalkSpace. During TalkSpace nights, our founders (and IdeaSpace staff) share about their life stories. It is our way to understand and appreciate one another better. The team that shared last week was just hilarious – and equally inspiring! I was also called to share my story. And not preparing made me blurt out streams of consciousness that lasted for an hour (wtf, an hour?! IKR. Damn, unprepared millenial!). And yes, not much was new – at the end of it, I cried.
Without sharing something here that will last for an hour’s read – the gist of my why is the stimulation that I get whenever I am able to witness first-hand the evolution of a team as they progress through the technopreneurial process. Connecting the dots, it must probably be why I was born into a couple who became entrepreneurs. And it must probably be why I was subconsciously attracted to have a relationship with an entrepreneur. Supporting entrepreneurs indeed takes many shapes and forms (both carrot and stick!).
And so, in the spirit of continuous, startup supporting, I’m looking forward to our Week 42 goals (it’s my birthweek this week!). I’m attending my 1st QBO event tomorrow, preparing for our Mentor Matching night this week, brainstorming with a YSEALI friend on a potential ASEAN-level startup support program, as well as prepping for another Startup Weekend in Dumaguete next month! But of course, apart from these, I need to remind myself to spend well over 30% of my time with our entrepreneurs!
I guess I already am considering my social life outside of work seems to be revolving more around them too.
Onwards, Startups! I’m cheering for you!
Love – StartupGirlie Goldy