On the 8th of November, I attended ‘get started’ which was a conference held in the helix from 2-6pm that involved successful men and woman giving their stories on how they turned failures into successes. They shared a range of ideas, knowledge and experience but they all had a common message. That failure is a key element in success. I learned a very inspiring quote from one of the business woman, Iseult Ward, that stuck with me. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”- Samuel Beckett. The failure stories inspired me and changed my thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur, therefore for this blog I will be focusing on this topic, I hope you enjoy.
Before going into this conference, I’m going to be brutally honest, I was dreading it. I was in a completely different mind set by the end of it though! I expected 4 hours of people repeating the same types of stories but I was completely wrong. Each business man and woman had their own background, inspiration and all with their own different get started concepts. I was immediately fascinated and drawn in by their success. Phillippe Brodeaur from OvercastHQ discussed the idea of differentiation being necessary to succeed, not only in setting up your own business but also in the world of business. By differentiating yourself, you are setting yourself apart from the crowd to stand out, because being different is important. He stated that the year I graduate there will be 10,000 business graduates, and what would make me more employable than the next person? And it dawned on me that he was right. To be successful, good grades alone does not cut it. He explained in detail traction and how we can use it to benefit us. His experience in the industry is shown through his knowledge which made his speech so fascinating and inspiring. Not only did this get me on the path to thinking about being an entrepreneur it also gave me a better understanding of the industry I am now apart.
The Cityswifters CEO, Brian O’Rourke and COO, Alan Farrelly are a good example of how they set themselves apart from the rest of their graduating year. Fresh out of college they used their intuitive and their resources to set up Busman.ie. Although this business was a fail it did however lead them to Cityswifters. They focused on their problems they faced and dedicated all their time into improving their ideas and their business. They spent all their time and efforts into this business and its why it is expanding in size and the number of investors. For them timing is the most important element to succeed. They set up during the time of the bus strikes that means instantly they went from 0 to 1000 passengers over a week. These two inspiring men thought me that set backs are all part of the process and not to fear failure. Failure is just a learning process and its then only reason why they are where they are now. Success is all about the ability to handle rejection. They left on a very positive note of “Just Do It”.
Having heard 3 men talk about their successes, there was a change of scene as then the first girl, Elva Carri, had her opportunity to tell her story. Elva, an enthusiastic entrepreneur, set up the company Girlcrew. Her story lightened the mood of such a serious topic. She set up her company through the dating app, tinder. She was tired of having to be alone on Saturday nights when all her friends were busy or didn’t have the same interest, so she decided to change her sex on tinder and put up a picture that stated she was looking for female friends to go dancing with. And within hours she had over 100 messages of girls asking her to hang and to be friends. She found a common objective between woman and used it to set up her business. She set up Facebook pages so that all these women could interact with woman their same age with the same interest in the same area. She found a demand for a product and took advantage of it. Once she started this up she then started networking to expand to get a better name for her business. It now has expanded to all over the world and girl crews are set up everywhere. Although her story is not a failure story it is inspiring as she put herself up for rejection and didn’t fear it all. Having taken that risk she now has a world class idea per Mark Zuckerberg. She stuck to her intuition and clearly it has paid off. Not only is her story inspiring but her business concept is very inspiring and admirable as she made a community for woman globally. Elva has built a pathway for woman and inspired me and many others that had the privilege of getting to listen to her story.
Gavan Walsh from iCabbi is very like Elva Carri, like her, he took many risks to make his business successful. He dropped out of college at the age of 19. Unfortunately, he dealt with setbacks and failures but finally came up with the successful concept of icabbi. This a unique business idea that has now become a national success and aiming to be globally available. iCabbi is a taxi service that people use from an app and can book taxis so that they can plan their timing and they will always have access to a nearby taxi. He admitted that his failures were the reasons for his successes and taking that next step is scary bus essential. Gavan stated a fascinating thing that impacted on me. He said “if not me who? If not now when?”. This again brings about the concept of failure and risk taking. This statement is very encouraging and it reminds me that taking risks is essential. Gavan also emphasised that networking is so important for making a name for themselves to attract investors and to expand. iCabbi has expanding organically into the uk, built their value and watched their revenue multiply. He has become a successful entrepreneur, and his story shows what it’s like to have to work from the bottom to the top. He thought me what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and how time consuming it can be but, how it is all worth it.
Most of the business concepts discussed were profitable business set up to provide a service for communities all over the world. However, Iseult Ward had a different idea. Having studied in trinity she saw poverty first hand in the city frequently. She wanted to do good for others and having researched may different concepts she came across the problem of food waste. I was astonished to hear some of these facts: that 30% of the worlds food is wasted yet 25% of people are suffering from malnutrition. So, Iseult decided to do something about it. She connected those who have so much food with those who have such little. She connected stores with charities by using an app that sent info to the charities about the leftover food that they have and that they want to donate. So far they have donated over 2,640,000 meals and are expanding into the UK with the help of Tesco. Not only does this system reduce the amount of food waste and the number of people suffering with malnutrition, it also creates communities. For example, the woman’s refuge centre received a donation of food and it encourage woman to come together to share their different receipts ad to make each other meals. By setting up this organisation she created links between business and charities and created hope and families within these charities. Iseult story is amazing how she saw this problem and used her intuition to do something about it. She had many a setback but didn’t let them hold her back. She saw an opportunity and took advantage of it to give back to the community. Personally, this had the most impact on me because it involved both failure and success, and even after the failure she experienced she still wanted to give back and do more for those who can’t afford food.
To finish up the day, Andrew Keogh gave a brief talk about being cheerful. He combined some cringey puns with helpful information about change, and the journey it takes to succeed, which made for a light-hearted conversation. He recognised that public speaking is essential for Start-ups, to attract people and to express their ideas. We are naturally good communicators, and people such as graham Norton and Liam Casey have used their skill of communication to make a business out of it. Not only did he talk about communication he also talked about change, and how change is the law of life. He stated that change and communication is the key method to success. He did not focus on failures on successes which made for an interesting ending. He then brought out a young woman who had gone up to him in the interval with her idea. She then gave us a talk about her up and coming business called Tronomo. She, like the other entrepreneurs mentioned above, took advantage of an opportunity to make her business successful. She differentiated herself and now after failures and persistence she is on the pathway to success. Not only is her story inspiring, but Andrew Keogh also inspired me. He gave her the opportunity to show us her business. He showed me that this conference wasn’t just a talk but it was so much more than that because they were real stories and that people can help your business to succeed if you put yourself out there.
By the end of the day it as clear that I had the completely wrong perspective of what ‘Get Started’ was all about. I learned some admiring stories and a lot about myself from it. I learned that I have the motivation and the persistence, like the entrepreneurs above, to get involved in start-ups and how important it is for me to put myself out there. I was so thankful for the opportunity to listen to these people and I am already looking forward to ‘Get Social’. I am delighted to pass on their wisdom and I hope you enjoyed my blog for the day. Can you overcome the fear? Can you be the next person that stands up on stage for Get started 2017? If so, I encourage anyone who is between minds to get active and just go for it, or even to attend a get started seminar as they are a learning curve. If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below or to contact me directly.
Kate Stafford xx