I’ve just come back from the launch of a really exciting new venture, Entrepreneurial Spark ! Its going to be great, because an amazing community of people will make it great, catalysed by the enthusiasm and tenacity of Jim Duffy.
Since taking over the role of CEO of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) last year, I’ve been discovering a whole new community of people involved in the Scottish entrepreneurial landscape. At the beginning, I wondered where to start. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know what organisations were out there, and it felt strange walking into rooms full of faces I didn’t recognise. I discovered very quickly that it didn’t matter who I spoke to, however, as long as I spoke to someone. As soon as I explained who I was, and what SIE were trying to do (turn students into entrepreneurs and support them), I got the same response; “How can I help?” and “You should also speak to xyz (naming people & organisations); let me introduce you“.
18 months ago, I had around 400 LinkedIn contacts, from a decade in the global life sciences industry. Now I have nearly 800 connections, thanks to all the new people I have met and who want to help and support me and SIE. These people include young student entrepreneurs, university teaching staff, people from great not-for-profit organisations and many successful business people.
When I need help, I know I can talk to any one of these people; they may not be able to help me solve a particular problem, but they will tell me someone who can! This is the power of a great community. They are willing and able to help, but sometimes a little Entrepreneurial Spark is needed to provide ignition.