Where did your personal inspiration, entrepreneurial/leadership purpose come from – what shaped your views?
I always struggled to fund my education. When I was 19, I was accepted in university but lacked the money to go. So I fundraised my way in. After a few years I scrambled to fund my MBA. So I combined my background in microfinance with a bit of technology to help others in similar situations.
What’s the purpose of your organisation?
StudentFunder began its journey a year ago with a crowdfunding campaign. I dressed up in an elephant costume, crossed the Alps and offered a movie of the journey as a reward in exchange for funding. This year, we have done it again! This time, there were 5 others and a 6th elephant even crossed the Andes!
StudentFunder.com has the ambition of becoming the place to fund education. The mission is to remove financial barriers to education and simply put, if education is funded more efficiently, talented people from a wider range of backgrounds can have access to it.
What have been your critical lessons learnt along your entrepreneurial journey?
You need to balance discipline and focus with creativity and an open mind. It is truly an art and if raising a child takes a village, building a social business may take a few villages.
What are the characteristics that in your experience entrepreneurs require now and in the future?
- The ability to work alone when necessary.
- The ability to build the right team around a dream as soon as possible.
- To ensure each team-member is building their dream too.
- To nourish people but not be afraid to make tough decisions
What would be your 5 top tips for purposeful entrepreneurs?
- Save up as much as possible before taking the plunge and even if you have money, avoid paying for stuff like the plague in the first year.
- In that first year, don’t leave a stone unturned.
- Build a product that sells itself as soon as possible.
- Nail the sales and the fundraising games.
- Empower and delegate.