Entrepreneurship Ecosystem – Influencers

In this second article of the series, the role of various influencers in a startup ecosystem would be explored. These influencers are Leaders, Mentors, Angels, Family, Society, and Role models.

The role of community leaders has always been instrumental in bringing about positive changes for societal improvement. They usually know the pulse of the community, local opportunities, and the challenges. They command respect and people look to them for guidance and support. Usually, they are well-placed in society in terms of wealth, education, knowledge, and experience. It gives them a unique advantage to inspire young entrepreneurs to take that plunge. Their contributions have not received enough focus and should be leveraged.

Mentors will play a significant role in startup success and have been contributing to the development and nurturing of start-up ecosystems all around the world. They are usually successful entrepreneurs or business executives, willing to contribute to the next generation, using their time and knowledge. They fill the knowledge and experience in the founding teams and also, they will be a part of the advisory boards. They play the role of a sounding board and guide the entrepreneurs through turbulent waters, particularly at the early stage.

Angel investors are a great source of not only funding but an early validation of the business idea. They bring their knowledge and business experience to the table and help founding teams to finetune their ideas and business models. Their funds are usually spent on experimenting with the market and business model so that the idea becomes not only implementable but also profitable. The economy needs start-ups and start-ups need angels.

The role of the family as the support system is like the foundation of a building, hidden and yet irreplaceable. Without their initial backing of the decision to start a business, it would be unimaginable for any founder to take the plunge. Family not only provides moral courage but also contributes to the seed funds, so critical for the launch. They also bring in their collective risk appetite and sense of security, tempering the founder’s decisions.

Society becomes the critical stakeholder, holding the founding team accountable for delivering acceptable quality while doing things in the right way. They expect the startups to follow the regulations and avoid causing any harm to the public. They also represent the target customers, accepting and validating the products and services, as well as paying for them. A culture of entrepreneurship is nurtured and fostered by society, as a positive sentiment, sanctioning the adventures of the founding teams.

Role models are those successful first-generation founders who did well in their ventures and reflect the confidence of the market and the efficacy of the ecosystem. They ooze confidence and positive energy, by playing the roles of mentors and angels. All the young entrepreneurs look to them for inspiration and support. They have another critical role to play in shaping the market sentiment and confidence, bringing the much-needed success stories that enhance investors’ confidence. They can also influence government policies and help to fix the systemic gaps that can further improve the business environment.

All these influencers are part of the same large pool, a part of a parcel of the ecosystem. The missing aspect of any ecosystem that hampers the growth of startups is a lack of coordinated effort to bring all these influencers under one roof that could create great synergies and enhance the overall impact. Society would only reflect that positive synergy and sentiment. Who should create this synergy?

Some of the entrepreneurs have looked at this as a startup opportunity, building such platforms and smaller ecosystems, where they bring all these influencers together, positively influencing families and societies to adapt and support the culture of entrepreneurship. This work is being done by the angel investors and mentors as well. Angel investors would help them to identify investment opportunities in promising startups. Further, mentors create these platforms out of passion, using them as opportunities to share their knowledge and expertise. Role models are the star attractions of these platforms and events.

Identifying and bringing these influencers together is an entrepreneurial effort. Making that in a profitable way ensures its sustainability. However, there is always an expectation from society that anything beneficial for society should be free. This attitude needs to be changed. Even government institutions promoting such ecosystems must ensure that nominal charges should be collected from the founders using those services to reduce the entitlement mentality.

Banks and universities play a crucial role in bringing these influencers together to promote entrepreneurship. Such activities foster and nurture the spirit and culture of entrepreneurship in society.

Clicke here to read the first article of this series

About the Author

Flt.Lt. Sridhar Chakravarthi is an experienced organizational change coach and consultant with over 30 years of leadership experience in various industries. He believes in the possibility of exponential growth for individuals, start-ups, and mature organizations. He empowers them to achieve exponential growth by bringing agility into their mindset, processes, and behaviours. He is an authorized training partner for Enterprise Agility University, runs his company “Coach for Change” and lives in Bengaluru, India.

Add a comment & Rating

View Comments