Reflecting on the key themes from Global Entrepreneurship Week
Last week (18 – 22 November) was Global Entrepreneurship Week, a collection of tens of thousands of events, activities and competitions held across the world to inspire millions to explore their potential as an entrepreneur, while fostering connections and increasing collaboration within their ecosystems.
This year there were four key themes to Global Entrepreneurship Week: education, ecosystems, inclusion and policy. Over the course of the week, these themes were the focus of discussions around how we can foster greater entrepreneurial spirit and support people in starting their own businesses.
We at Tide have seen first hand how important these factors are in helping small businesses in the UK to thrive, and so we asked our members and partners, who are experts in these areas, to reflect on each of the themes and talk about how taking action on each can help give small business owners a helping hand.
Ceri Gillett, Tide member and founder of Business Mother Club, a network that gives women the skills and support they need to grow a brilliant business, said:
“A lot of the time the one thing that holds us back in business is our confidence in what we can achieve. One way to build that confidence is to arm yourself with education, to learn more about the things you feel less confident in and then build on that education with experience. And there are some brilliant resources out there to help you.
“Many of the women who come to Business Mother Club meetings will have previously gone through our free business start-up course ‘Build Your Brilliant Business’; it’s a great way to learn about some of the key processes you need to go through to get your business ready to launch. Courses such as this hold people’s hands as they take in the complex material, and many women have told us they feel better armed for their business journey at the end of it.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you learn the skills you need
- Podcasts – I love listening to podcasts. I can listen as I get on with my day and there is a podcast for literally every topic you can think of. If something really catches my interest a free podcast is a great way of identifying a subject I want to learn more about
- Youtube – I have taught myself so many skills by using tutorial videos on Youtube. Never be afraid to learn. These videos taught me how to build my first website, start my first email list and even step into the world of social media advertising
- Network – Networking groups often have great speakers who are teaching a very quick dive into their area of expertise. It’s a great way of getting questions answered.
- Online learning – It often feels like every entrepreneur has their own course but it’s actually a really great way of learning from someone who has been there before. Don’t be afraid to ask for other people’s opinions on the course materials and ask if they have a money-back guarantee if it’s not for you
- Accelerators & Co-working spaces – Use a search engine to seek out any local opportunities. These spaces often run low-cost workshops and courses that can help you build up the skills you need to learn. It also helps build your confidence by surrounding you with other entrepreneurs with their own knowledge banks and skill sets
“Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, but being part of the right ecosystems can massively enhance the chances of success. This is because it allows you to meet other like-minded founders, potential investors, mentors, as well as suppliers and partners. I see serendipitous encounters happening all the time in the Blooming Founders co-working space and at our events, and some of the connections blossom over several years.
Here are my top 5 tips on how you can benefit from ecosystems:
- Network, network, network. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will create for yourself
- Joining a co-working space can help with loneliness, but make sure to pick one where people actually talk to each other!
- Research accelerator programmes or pitch competitions. There are plenty of support programmes out there that don’t take equity.
- Subscribe to startup media sites to find inspiration and keep up to date with who is doing what.
- Whenever you’re stuck, ask for help. Don’t be afraid to use connections, no matter how new they are”
Jen Scott and Jay Tav, Tide partners, co-founders of Hustle & Heels, a social enterprise that fosters entrepreneurial excellence among ambitious millennials, transitioning career professionals and early stage start-ups said:
“Hustle & Heels has supported thousands of ambitious women to start, improve and grow their businesses over the years. The support network is more than just a business platform: it’s a place where ambitious people socialise their way to success and support each other through the ups and downs of business.
“Hustle & Heels works to create equal opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs by improving access and relatability to products and services such as business banking from Tide, online marketing platforms and tools and resources from tech companies. Inclusion is a huge part of Hustle & Heels and giving everyone a voice and platform to propel their businesses from is key.
“What is also key is ensuring that business services such a Tide are relatable to underserved communities and Hustle & Heels works with corporations to bridge that gap. From being able to access business tools and resources, to being given the opportunity to sell at a pop-up shops, the Hustle & Heels network provides underrepresented business founders with the chance to build and grow sustainable and successful businesses which contribute to the UK economy and have an impact within society.
Jen & Jay, founders of Hustle & Heels, have provided some tips highlighting the ways in which the world of entrepreneurship can become more diverse.
- Network outside of your comfort zone. Regardless of what level you are at, or what you do, choose 4 networking events to go next year (one each quarter) which are completely out of your comfort zone and business sector. The events should aimed at groups which you wouldn’t otherwise engage with or encounter in your everyday life.
- Collaborate with others. Collaborating with brands that mirror your business’s core values, but are an unlikely partner can make you stand out from the crowd and will help you to leverage off of the other brand’s platform. Think Ikea and D Double E (Swedish furniture store with a UK grime artist); or OPI and Converse (an American nail polish manufacturer and an American footwear company).
- Be aware of the issues and problems others face. As entrepreneurs it is key to remain aware of the needs of others. This will help to ensure brands are inclusive and promote diversity at all levels, for customers, partners and stakeholders.
- To intentionally collaborate with people that don’t look like us. Whether from the opposite sex or another culture, we should go out of our way to connect with and learn something interesting from someone we normally wouldn’t.
- To ensure business events and panel discussions feature experts and professionals from diverse backgrounds. Representation is essential to ensure that everyone feels included and empowered to succeed.
- Many underrepresented entrepreneurs won’t use a product or service if it is not relatable or relevant to them. It is therefore important to strive for inclusivity in marketing and advertising campaigns to ensure information, tools and resources are accessible to all entrepreneurs.
Charlotte Minvielle, Head of Development at The Human Dignity Trust, an organisation that uses the law to defend the human rights of LGBT people globally said:
“Businesses and entrepreneurs succeed in diverse, inclusive economies. Laws and policies that discriminate LGBT people run counter to business interests and economic growth. Discriminatory laws and policies around the world which unfairly target LGBT people harm not only marginalised groups but the whole of society.
“My tips to entrepreneurs:
- Ensure you surround yourself with a diverse team to ensure you have a range of ideas and perspectives.
- Keep up to date with the news in the area that you’re working in through social media, newsletters, subscriptions, and use those nuggets of information to connect with the right people.
- Do at least 3 things a day that are external facing with clients, your community, or key stakeholders.
- Make sure you take some time for yourself at some point during the day: it could be a yoga or exercise class, taking a lunch break, or going for a walk. It’s important to clear your mind.
- Believe in yourself!”
We hope you find some value in the wisdom of our members and partners, and the discussions held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, and that it will help propel your business.