By Aparna Dua, Senior Manager, Asha Impact
Just as the buzz and excitement from my Hyderabad trip was settling, emails from entrepreneurs I had met at the summit started to trickle in, rekindling the whirlwind of energy I had experienced.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017, organized in Hyderabad last month was a brilliantly curated conference that brought together 1600 entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, business leaders and NGOs from 150+ countries — all under one roof for networking, mentorship, and workshops! Unlike the angst common towards the end of multi-day conferences, I shared the sentiments of other attendees in their yearning to be at the conference for 1–2 more days.
The theme this year was ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’, celebrating the global trend of increasing women entrepreneurs and their impact on the economic and social development of a nation. While the ecosystem has welcomed more women, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report highlights the long distance we still have to go to close the gender gap.
It was heartening to see more than 50% attendees at the conference were women — leading by example for the new normalcy that we need to create.
Through many engaging conversations with both seasoned and novice entrepreneurs at the conference, I took away some key learnings and bust some startup myths for myself.
Myth#1: An idea is enough
It’s been estimated that 60–70% of business strategies are not successfully implemented, as the path from idea to execution is not well defined. Execution is key — we’ve probably heard this plenty of times but there is a reason for that! The market only rewards those ideas that get implemented, thus, rather than setting large milestones and getting stuck in analysis paralysis and excessive strategizing, it is better to set smaller achievable targets and get things done. Its what sets apart the dreamers from the doers!
Myth#2: All money is good money
Many first time entrepreneurs may believe that. However, my conversations with a few founders revealed how critical it is to have every investor aligned with your values and vision. For example, for an entrepreneur trying to set up a small, stable company, an investor with an appetite for hyper-growth is not the best choice. Be thoughtful about the timing of the investment and every share of equity on your cap table.
Myth#3: Company culture is something soft and fuzzy that larger firms need to care about
Building the right company culture is important advice that is often glazed over. Yet, I heard many successful entrepreneurs echo its importance from the time of a company’s inception. Investors too chimed in saying that its not only about the quality of the product idea or even the founders, it’s about the team that grows with the company because if that’s not right, the nascent company probably won’t succeed. Founders need to be more intentional about creating and sustaining a culture that is focused around their values, which will allow the company to grow with that same spurt of founding energy.
I left GES with some good insights and relationships in the industry — investors, founders, incubators and policy advocates. For startups it meant a rolodex for follow ups and a fruitful exchange of ideas and for many others it was the start of a meaningful collaboration. I look forward to continuing the conservation and would love to hear about your startup experience and insights that you’ve developed along the way!
 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: Women’s Entrepreneurship 2016/17 Report