Startup Business: Not For The Youth Only

Thảo luận trong 'Brands and Start-up' bắt đầu bởi Administrator, 29/3/17.

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    Administrator Administrator Thành viên BQT Thay đổi để phát triển!

    “Startup” and “entrepreneurship” can be understood in different ways in Vietnamese language. All are correct. In the most popular understanding, “startup” is perceived as an effort to define and validate product, service, and business model for innovation. In light of this, startup business is often considered the game for young people those have just been at the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey. Indeed, most, if not all, images of and stories about entrepreneurs featured in recent media are young faces. The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Vietnam is, however, recognizing more and more engagement of veteran business people and champions.

    Obviously, there are more renowned business owners and high-profile executives playing the role of guest speakers at startup events to share their experience in decades of building the business empires and inspire innovators to join the next generation of entrepreneurs with appropriate visions. Previously, early successful entrepreneurs – who are still very close to or a part of the startup community – often played the role. Tight schedule is perhaps the main reason that prevents business figures from interacting with the youth.

    Fortunately, owning a business empire is not a requirement for supporting startup people. Wisdom and business networks of veteran business people are always valuable resources to the next generation of entrepreneurs. The founders of rising businesses, corporate executives and managers are actively contributing their values to startup community, indeed. They involve to the entrepreneurial ecosystem as mentors, angel investors, and even co-founders and venture builders. The roles may have appeared in the Vietnamese economy for a long period of time but just start getting popular in the last couple of years. Seeking advice from previous generations is certainly not a new practice. However, working on voluntary-basis to help young entrepreneurs develop capabilities of problem solving and leadership by raising questions is really strange to most, if not all, business people. In addition, many are surprised at introducing young entrepreneurs to their business networks and even more surprised at investing in strangers those are struggling with introducing their unconventional, sometimes weird, services and products to markets.

    What are motivations of busy business people those are willing to spend their time, resource, business connection, and cash on supporting entrepreneurial efforts of others? (We call them the mentors.) Traditional answer is: social responsibility. It is correct but not that all. In a business culture promoting entrepreneurship – which is spiritual energy of individuals those (i) desire to create new value, (ii) are ready to accept market uncertainties, and (iii) are able to improve their capability of transferring awareness of market opportunity into marketable services and products – engagement, even being a part of, to the entrepreneurial ecosystem is becoming a business function.

    Mentors are often business champions, corporate executives and managers, and investors who are willing to work with startup founders in different stages of business development – from ideation to build minimum viable products, to market entry, to scale-up and growth. Mentors are different from coaches, trainers, advisors, and consultants. Mentors do not provide entrepreneurs with answers and solutions to their specific problems. By making questions to, encouraging and pushing the entrepreneurs, mentors build the entrepreneurs’ capabilities of dealing with various challenges in operating business and leading company to sustainable growth.

    A small survey conducted by the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (SwissEP) on 24 mentors in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, and Da Nang in April 2016 acknowledges that giving back to the next generation of entrepreneurs and first learning about innovative business ideas and models are major motivations. Based on their personal experience in doing business, the mentors very much appreciate impact of a right question to address business challenges. To this end, there is a consensus that the earlier the new entrepreneurs receive supports from previous generation the more success stories the ecosystem will have and the better resource allocation the economy will do.

    It is noteworthy that not only the entrepreneurs but also the mentors benefit from mentoring relations.

    First, working closely with innovative and energized entrepreneurs refuels entrepreneurial spirit of the mentors. After years of building successful businesses, the champions may see their capabilities of responding to market changes are amortizing. Meanwhile, governance policies and disciplines in well-organized and hierarchical corporations consume the energy of entrepreneurship.

    Second, mentoring startup businesses provides the mentors with opportunity to enrich their knowledge about new technologies and business models at their very beginning. A wise business person will not miss the chance of being part of such future successes. Building capacity of the startup founders is also a process of doing due diligence. The mentors can understand well the startup businesses based on both their business wisdom and cool heads. Then it is not a surprise to see mentors become angel investors and business partners.

    Third, dealing with business challenges together with the entrepreneurs helps mentors know exactly if the entrepreneurs fit to their corporate cultures of innovation. Then getting the entrepreneurs on their team may be a great investment in human resource. The entrepreneurs are not necessary to become a personnel of the mentors’ corporations. The entrepreneurs can keep running their startups or are assigned to manage affiliate companies. Startup founders will create the most value when their benefits positively correlate with the performance of the businesses they are in charge of. There is quite a trend that business champions recruit young talents, feed them with ideas about innovation-based ventures, provide them with basic conditions to develop the venture, give them motivation by owning reasonable equity stake of the ventures, and allow them to access to the business ecosystems which the champions have been built in many years.

    It takes decades to develop an entrepreneurship and innovation enabling ecosystem. The fact that the engagement between veteran business people and young entrepreneurs is tightening promises a bright future of the Vietnamese economy./.
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