By Abdul Rawuf
Hello Badr, My start-up is a consultancy that offers innovative learning journeys to entrepreneurs, leaders at all levels with a specific focus on female talent leadership. We even created a mentoring platform for ladies as our “community engagement” initiative and do lot of work promoting micro enterprise which is neglected in this market. Although we have robust learning and capacity building journeys, and entrepreneurial programmes that could help create that real “eco-system” that I feel up to now is just a nice line on all start-up magazines, we find that it is still about “who you know” to “crack the market”. What do you advise when the exposure is a real problem, how do we get potential partners (private and non-for-profit) to even reply to our emails, let alone give us a chance to pitch. Thanks a lot. Hanane
It sounds like you are doing really interesting work that is very much needed. Although building the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a topic that is regularly making business news headlines these days, we are still at the beginning of the journey to becoming a truly entrepreneur-friendly environment. However, I genuinely believe that we’re heading in the right direction, and as long as we have more and more people like you helping to build that road, we’re sure to get there.
It’s always challenging to take a great idea and see it through to fruition. A key success factor is the right sort of exposure, and connecting with your potential market in order to achieve your business targets. The fact that the entrepreneurship topic is always in the news can play to your benefit. Take advantage of the fact that you’re working in that space and use the media for low cost or free exposure by participating in industry events, getting yourself into radio interviews, magazines (such as Arabian Business StartUp magazine), or even publish your own articles on business platforms such as LinkedIn. You’re in the business education space and can really benefit from and give your services credibility by becoming a thought leader on that topic.
In terms of getting responses from potential partners, of course, it’s always preferable to be referred by someone in common rather than cold-call. Again, it is a relatively small community we work in and you’re bound to find someone that can connect you to the person or business you’re targeting. This is also a function of the network you build and maintain by always attending the relevant events and making sure to rub shoulders with the right people.
Please continue doing what you’re doing in helping develop the start-up ecosystem.