Top 10 facts about running a start-up: MEST guest lecture seriesEach year at MEST, 4 times in a year, guest lecturers (mostly global entrepreneurs and business executives) fly to Ghana to share their experiences - both successes and failures with the MEST community. Last weekend (2nd & 3rd March 2012) we were privileged to have had 3 entrepreneurs in the persons of:
- Mr Ravi Agarwal - Founder of 2 multi million dollar software companies
- John Hoffmire, Director of Säid Global Entrepreneurship Network, Oxford University
- Jorn Lyseggen, CEO & founder, Meltwater Group
In no particular order, this post is a collection of some of the most tweeted about 'tips & lessons learned' shared by our speakers from the MEST community during last weekend's guest lecture... I hope you enjoy them and let's know what you think :)
1. Resource management: Founding members may have to go without salaries for sometime, with or without funding – managing resources is critical.
2. Idea execution: Ideas are not worth much, EXECUTION is everything!
3. Sales: Get beta customers! and find out if you can use them as references for real customers later on.
4. Sales: All founders need to sell - no sales person may have as much passion as the founders would for their product.
5. Staffing: If you have to ‘let people go’, do it early, don’t wait too long. By letting people go early, you save each person the time and resources.
6. Staffing: You shouldn't fire somebody until you make him or her feel there's a possibility for him or her to be fired.
7. Value proposition: Have a very clear value proposition. What problem are you solving? Painkiller vrs Vitamins, which of the 2 describes your product best?
8. Team: Have a contingency plan if things do not work out between co-founders.
9. Culture: With the right culture, you can tap into other people’s capabilities.
10. Experience: Worthwhile things (such as starting a company) are never easy to do.
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Due to COVID-19, MEST postpones training program to next year and doubles down on growing portfolio companies
At MEST, we continue to be deeply concerned about COVID-19 and have been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our community and we will continue to follow local authority and health official guidelines.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty that the future of travel holds, we have been unable to conduct in-person interviews and host recruitment around Africa for our next cohort. For this reason, we have taken the decision to postpone the Training Program to next year.
While these circumstances are indeed unfortunate, we see this as an exciting opportunity at MEST to double down on providing support and mentorship to our existing portfolio companies and the African ecosystem.
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