Not enough young people believe they can change the world on a global scale. The problem is a mindset problem, and one I believe is more dire than some might think. Too many young entrepreneurs think they're rock stars by launching another social network, or naming themselves the CEO of the world's 498th messaging app. Honestly, they're probably wasting their time.
One can easily see the allure of focusing on millennial entrepreneurs. Their youth and inexperience allows them develop innovative solutions and ideas and their low overhead enables to them to work on what Y Combinator's Paul Graham famously called the "ramen diet" where the only food entrepreneurs can afford is ramen noodles.
I was raised in Silicon Valley before moving to Vancouver and I love to see entrepreneurs with big dreams. But what concerns me is when people build a business with a focus on trying to get big simply based on the belief that "bigger is better" or when those involved with the company view anything other than a multimillion dollar acquisition as a failure.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and construction was my family's mainstay. I have been around it my whole life and truth be told, my happiest place on earth is on a roadbuilding site with machines pushing and swinging dirt and people all working hard. Sure, being a girl in construction came with the standard issue nuisances you would expect -- naked pin-up girl pictures in the tool trailers, having to use disgusting man outhouses, getting hit on steadily, getting tolerated and not taken seriously -- but I just kept my head down and got to work. This got the people who make decisions to know that I was not just a little blonde token strutting around the job site but that I was watching and thinking and had value.
There is a clear difference between successful entrepreneurs and those that struggle. Successful entrepreneurs focus almost exclusively on efforts that will make the biggest impact on their business. Considering most entrepreneurs have new ideas popping into their heads constantly throughout the day, maintaining laser-like focus is harder than it sounds.
Last week, "Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy," an article written on the Huffington Post went viral. ERRRR it made me angry. Here's a quick summary: "When the reality of someone's life is better than they had expected, they're happy. When reality turns out to be worse than expectations, they're unhappy." If you believe in this then you are settling for less in life.
About 1.5 years ago I underwent a 6 hour surgery to remove a few cancer-inflicted organs. I was guaranteed to be a goner prior to that surgery. Before that, I thought I had it all figured out. I took serious pride in the statement "I am so busy." I was productive and important. I was burning the candle at both ends, and society loved me for it. But what did that get me?
My life has been "busy" and a lot of work for quite some time now, and that's something I don't want to change. I still take the necessary time to unplug and fill myself and my family up, but cannot deny that I also thrive off of creating and growing in business. That will likely always be part of me, even with a new baby at my side. My work is very much tied into what I want to create for my family to benefit from. I have complete respect for the women who grow up with a complete focus on wanting to stay home and raise a family... but for me, part of what I want to represent to my children is showing them that they have the ability to "have it all."
But it's not enough to have an amazing idea or technology, you have to be able to develop a business. And that's a far different skill than creating cool new cleantech solutions in the research lab. That's where Rand and MaRS come in. Rand has a checklist for what's he looking for when cleantech companies come to him, looking for an investment to scale up.
Anyone can pull an all nighter. What student hasn't done this and produced some whiz bang of a term paper the next morning. No big deal right? So this Elon Musk guy works all night and whacks out a 57-page report detailing the Hyperloop, a souped up hovercraft in a tube allowing the great unwashed to travel at the speed of sound from one city to the next, powered by the sun, all for $20 a shot. Big whoop.
Today, our company - Buytopia.ca - Is one of the largest Canadian competitors in the daily deal space. But when we started two years ago, we only had $45,000 of start-up capital. So how did we pull it off? Over the past year, we've bought six smaller daily deal companies These are seven steps we took to make it happen.
For as long as she could remember, Naomi wanted to run her own business. Inspired by a lack of good gluten-free food, she began to operate a small gluten-free bakery, CeleeakNak. After unsuccessful attempts to secure a small business loan, Naomi found Rise Asset Development who offered her financing based on the strength of her character, her work ethic and her business plan.
The first time feels like a big deal. People want to associate with the guy who did it first, find out all about it. No one pays attention to the fact that it is the guy who works at it, paying attention to his own attempts and adjusting. This is the person who will be the best. The guy who allowed himself a do-over, tried a few things, failed, tried again.
I believe that women entrepreneurship will not only give a boost to the economy by increasing the number of employed people and leading towards a more gender-equal growth. Not being financially independent is one of the main factors that prove as a hindrance in self-empowerment of women, especially in patriarchal societies like India.