#376: Insights on Entrepreneurship in Egypt
Read the full Your Mark on the World article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/1KKzh5o. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher. Venture capitalist Steve Grizzell, founder of InnoVentures Capital, recently returned from a trip to Cairo where he advised the government on the formation of a stronger ecosystem for entrepreneurs. We profiled Steve and his thoughts before the trip and have asked him back to report on the trip. Steve made three key observations: Start with the entrepreneurs! During my recent trip to Egypt I looked at the components of an entrepreneurial ecosystem: venture capital, government regulators, experienced service providers and entrepreneurs who know how to start a great business. I asked myself where to start when all of the components of the ecosystem were weak. After I interviewed several entrepreneurs at Startup Grind Cairo the answer became very clear. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs will be able to solve the problems they face in creating a business and the other components are secondary. Screen for real entrepreneurs to help! I would guess that 90% of the people that I met at the Startup Grind event would never actually try and start a business. Most of the audience were looking for someone to take away all of the risk for starting a business. They wanted the government to provide the business training to help them figure out what kind of business to start. They wanted experienced investors to provide low-cost capital and for the investors to help run the business. Most of the audience were afraid to take the risk and just start their business. Collaborate and Educate! Bring government, investors, universities, service providers and entrepreneurs together in structured networking events so that they can educate each other. The relationships that are built during networking events are critical in order to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Government officials, university faculty and service providers are best educated from direct interaction with entrepreneurs. All three of these sectors can be very helpful to entrepreneurs but not until they actually understand what the issues are from entrepreneur. The venture capital community also needs to be educated by entrepreneurs. Building venture capital professionals is a slow and expensive process. It is important to create a process so that entrepreneurs and investors can learn from each other how to grow successful businesses in an economic environment that is not very supportive. Read the full Your Mark on the World article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/1KKzh5o. Please consider whether a friend or colleague might benefit from this piece and, if so, share it.