The World Innovations Forum continues to evolve and is getting closer to its foundation’s purpose. Beginning with 2021, we no longer focus only on specific demographics, geographies, or other groups. Togetherness is our philosophy in so many aspects even in competing for the best Innovation – see at the bottom of this post.
Developed Countries at Risk of Decay
At the WIForum we see a need to ignite more innovative thinking even in some of the most developed nations. We see highly developed countries having a degree of digitally delivered education far below many emerging countries. We see nations being extremely captivated by security measures that they give their citizens no longer even the right to be not protected.
Moreover, protectionism has reached a degree that hinders the industry to get customer feedback, due to the lack of reaching out to them. Other countries make it very difficult to translate their content into English, the global language of communication, that it turns back on them and becomes a disadvantage in the global competition. Yet other developed nations propagate AI as a technology they want to become a world leader, yet putting roadblocks into every aspect of the technological development due to the lack of understanding and other political influences. At the same time, emerging countries put far more effort into the education and development of creativity, autonomy, self-development, the foundation of innovation that their progress is faster and will not only catch up with, what we call the developed world today, but completely pass by and dominate markets.
Protectionism in developed nations has reached a critical level
Developed countries have developed a new tendency to fight innovation not with better innovation but with law suites. Almost every innovation that arrived in their countries is banned at least in some regions. This was seen with the development of IKEA, Amazon, Uber, AirBnB, Tesla, and many others. The next wave entering the “old west” are brands like Geely, Alibaba, TicTok, Logan, Tencent, and more from the Asian Top 50.
Fighting Innovation by banning it may be easier at first sight but slows down any natural competitiveness, followed by an economic slowdown and its long tail effect that we will see only 10 or 20 years from now.
The Development Risk of being overrun
50 years ago the developed world was smiling about nations that rather fought than evolved. Today the west is confronted with highly agile, fast-moving, and eager societies who are not blocked by conventions rights, rules, regulations that bring them down any soon. Even discussing if a TikTok application should be banned is as bad as banning it because of fearing their superiority. The European Auto industry cannot test autonomous cars locally because it is considered dangerous, simply because nobody can even judge it. So tests are out of the country and bring important knowledge and most importantly experience outside the nation. Neuroscience taught us, that any innovative idea ever created in human history was done from past experiences. If we ban experiences we ban the very ability we need to innovate.
30 years ago a joke made the round in Corporate-Europe: If a company would be run like a government we would all be out of business. Over the past 30 years, we got ever closer to that “goal”. Today we have nations where a company has to be 50% controlled by unions. The board which essentially controls the CEO has to be composed of 50% by members of a union. In other words, the entrepreneurial drive, capital, innovation, and economic interests are represented only by 50% of the board. Employees and unions together represent the other 50%.
While creating awareness for the risk of degrading innovation power was thought to be of interest may be in 20+ years. However, we see the tendency already today. “East is the new West” in many ways. We see a rising number of European and US entrepreneurs moving to Singapore, Seol, Saigon, and other nations. Just imagine Carl Benz, Robert Bosch, Heinrich Krupp, and a few others would not have stayed in Germany but moved elsewhere. Back then nobody would have even noticed. If Steven Jobs, Gordon Moore, Bill Gates would have moved at the age of 25 to Mexico, just imagine how our world would look today. Yes, different. That bears the question: How important are entrepreneurs and their innovation to a country?
Today’s young generation is not the victim of development, they are the victim of not being educated about the complex web of innovation, economy, politics, and self-determination. They have three options: migrate, make a change or settle with less favorable education, less powerful Internet infrastructure, less convenient technology services, less developed mobility, and so forth.
We ask the young generation to carefully watch the global technological, social, economic, and ecologic development. Not all innovations are meaningful and not all banns are bad but banning and suppressing everything just because a politician’s cousin has a taxi business, a furniture store, a small shop, a little hotel, goes far too far. While many countries laugh about the corruption in developing nations, they may not even know how far it has regrown in their own country.
The single most important driver of economic development is innovation. Every economy on earth that did not have enormous natural resources is built on innovation. Humanity should not accept another meltdown like the Common Wealth, Roman Empire, Egypt, Mesopotamia. We should be smarter and maintain innovation as means of competitiveness and not fight innovation just because it comes from another nation. And those nations who built their economy on donations will also need to evolve and not settle as modern slaves, dependent and controlled by other nations.
It is far too easy to accuse other nations of cheap labor. The developed world has to respond with innovation – not with politics.
Togetherness in Innovation
The World Innovations Forum is not favoring any group, any nation, any continent. We are all one and we favor togetherness. Our first major initiative in 2021 is to celebrate World Innovations Day on April 21. Here we conduct a competition: “Ground-Breaking Innovation in 40 days” together with our main sponsor, BlueCallom we will accompany about 25 teams from around the world to build groundbreaking innovations in 40 days.
How will YOU help your nation to prosperity?
From the first day of the World Innovations Forum’s inception, we were thinking about financing groundbreaking innovation. Today we are proud to introduce the Innovation Capital Network. It consists of roughly 900 investors, including individual Business Angels, Angel Networks, VCs, Private Equity investors/firms. The combined investment power is approximately $1 Billion.
As we get ever more global and innovative pop up all over the globe, Investors not only see more innovation but also more attractive opportunities and markets. Capital available for innovative ideas is not only growing but is becoming a huge focus for many ideas. Investors in our network are interested in fast growing product companies with a potential to international growth. The ICN would not be a good partner for local focused businesses or service businesses. Investors want to see a deck, a one pager and when interested a video presentation. For international investors, we require the investees having already a local investor who is interested in further co-investments.
Innovators such as fast-growing innovative startups, Mid Market businesses, or global enterprises are all struggling with funding their projects. A startup typically needs growth-stage capital to get their innovation into the market. Mid Market companies have proven their ability to execute but not their ability to innovate. Global enterprises may have the money but many of the departments struggle to get an innovation approved to execute and try to spin-off with their idea that has been rejected. Some of the most successful innovations actually came out of enterprises but have been rejected to realize such as the Mouse, Graphical Use Interface (Windows), Software as a Service, Local Area Networks, the Jet engine, and countless other innovations.
Financial Structure of Investees
In order to attract investors, businesses must offer a highly robust legal and financial structure and jurisdiction. The ability to provide that has been by far the biggest hurdle for most smaller companies. To solve that problem, we help young businesses to create a legal and financial headquarter in Singapore where all the IP and ownership of the local company is hold. Investors then invest in the Singaporean company which is considered the legally and financially safest corporate infrastructures. Singapore is also one of the best gateways to the Asian market as a whole and provides an added advantage to having a safe Headquarters there.
Introducing top-notch Innovators to the network
The World Innovations Forum is neither a broker or recommending any investments. But we connect members with members. In other words Companies who are looking for capital and fulfill the requirements of being investable, will be shared with accredited investors for a possible investment. We are sharing such companies on bi-monthly base or when they approved immediately with our investor members. We are currently seeing investment opportunities from Cambodia, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Singapore, Switzerland, UK, US, and Vietnam.
We consider companies investment ready when the have at least two founders, a registered company an innovative solution (see definition of innovative below) are eager to grow at maximum speed, have a prototype in the market and feedback from at least 42 potential customers as market validation. They are also required to have the due diligence information in accordance to our guide lines ready to share. For those companies who are not feeling investment ready, we are offering guidance in form of a respective guideline document or respective workshops.
Turning down other investment Barriers
Investing in foreign countries has been in most of the times an enormous.
No More Language Barriers
All our investees must speak, present and report everything in English. The HQ being in Singapore, having English as the official language makes contract work easier than most other jurisdictions.
Instead of negotiating contracts over and over again from scratch, we decided to offer a universally applicable investment contract on all deals. In particular if you are investing in multiple companies from multiple different countries, the unifies contracts reduce uncertainties, increase deal negotiation and make it easier to mange multiple investments.
We provide a platform where international investors can conduct an exchange in the same way like Silicon Valley investors used to learn from each other and thrive beyond most other investors in the world. We are igniting those exchanges by conducting quarterly investor meetings with the sole purpose of exchange.
Professional investors from around the world have a wide spread of experience from never invested in businesses before to having well over 100 investments. Sharing the collective knowledge helps companies to get better investors and investors to have a better ROI.
For more information, we are inviting you to join our Introductory ICN Online Seminar on Dec 10.
It’s the most often asked entrepreneurship question I can remember. For Quora, I had a few text blocks depending on the question. Today I put all the answer variations into one piece of blog post :)
If you want to start but don’t have a good idea:
Look for a problem you want to solve. You don’t need to have higher education and you don’t need to carry heavy rocks all day long to do that. You don’t even need any money for it. Just carefully observe how “hard” people work, very carefully listen to what they have to say, and begin to develop a solution. So that’s it at this stage. You don’t need money for that.
If you have an idea or just found out how to find one, here is what you may want to consider:
1) The Idea
Don’t overestimate the value of your idea. It is exactly zero. And therefore no need to fear your idea gets copied. Humans create on average 20,000 ideas in their lifetime. 99.999% get never executed. With over 7 Billion people that are 14 Trillen ideas to copy. Passion? It is for pussy cats. Value is created by **obsessive** and **relentless** execution – nothing else. As such share it with as many people as you can – every single day. You need that feedback more than anything else right now. And to amplify, use your social network. That doesn’t cost you anything.
Develop the best possible solution concept and presentation. Dream it in your head, spin it around. Don’t let you distract from thinking about what it cost, what resources you would need, how much time you would need, and what problems could occur. Always remember: If you can imagine it in your brain – you can build it with what you have and some other people’s help. So this was not that hard either? Right? You don’t need money for that.
Find your co-founders. Very smart people that compliment you. Look for people that hate to do what you love doing and love to do what you hate doing. Put all your savings into this new company and request (insist) your co-founders do the same. Again no hard work at all. You don’t need money from others for that – but risk everything you have. If you don’t – why should others.
4) Idea Validation
Together with your co-founder(s) validate your concept with 42 people you think would have a huge benefit from your product or service. If you can’t find them, find out if you are skilled enough to look for them or if the market doesn’t exist. Decide if you want to continue and build it up. It’s that easy. You don’t need money for that.
5) Prototyping & Crowdfunding
Together with your co-founder(s) build your first prototype and show it to everybody and their dog and get feedback. This is where you use the money you invested. Let people pre-order products (crowdfunding) so you get the liquidity and cash flow to build your first production batch. Start a social media campaign and get more feedback. If this was successful, you know you are able to create demand, whether there is already a market or not. Now you have already customers and revenue before you even talked to any investor. If not successful it’s either because you did not learn how to crowdfund (Search on google) or there is no interest for your product.
6) Growth Capital
Now is the time you may look for investors and funding to grow. As you have already pre-orders and good feedback, you validated your idea, funding is not a problem. And that was not hard either. When getting capital use it EXCLUSIVELY to grow your business don’t waste it for technology upgrades. Keep running with your weak product (and it is weak) for the next few months and grow revenue. Get at least 1,000 feedbacks from your users and improve rapidly. Offer to upgrade for free.
This is more or less how the top startups in the world did it. and so did we.
The most important keys:
A) Entrepreneurial mindset to solve a problem that many other people have.
10 most relevant founders traits
B) Never do it alone – always run with a co-founder that is NOT your best friend.
Best founders are co-founders
C) Forget the money part, if you need money to make money – you are an investor but not an entrepreneur.
Building a startup is relatively easy and you will find incubators, mentors, business angels, and other helping hands in your vicinity. All the above steps you and your co-founder(s) can do on your own.
Hope that help
Growth & Scale
The first real challenge for young entrepreneurs: Grow and scale an innovative business. You will find many good posts for this next phase in your life as an entrepreneur.
You may want to consider joining the World Innovations Forum, the global exchange for innovative minds, as a 007 entrepreneur to grow and scale your company.
Two hundred years ago, Europe was the dominant innovation hotspot in the world. Machines, automobiles, trains, airplanes, architecture innovation… almost everything came from Europe. That changed about 60 years ago.
Innovation shift to the US, then China
John F. Kennedy gave the change signal. “We take a man to the moon and bring him safely back by the end of the decade.” The United States had a vision bigger than life. In the ’80s, the democratization of computing power was yet another significant shift. The Internet in the mid-’90s, Social Media around 2005, and everything digital in the early 2010s. Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Visa, MasterCard, Cisco, Oracle, Google, Netflix, Salesforce, Paypal, LinkedIn, Facebook, Uber, Tesla, YouTube, AirBnB, Space-X, Stripe, Y-Combinator, 23andMe, GenTech… The digital world – the technology for our future – is now driven by US firms. SAP, founded in April 1972, was the last European innovator that made it to a global leader.
In the early 2000s, another innovation driver was rising: Asia. Mainly China, Singapore, and South Korea became not just fast producers, efficient builders and inexpensive labor but full of innovative minds. While dealers and retailers in Europe had been arguing about Amazon’s disruptive power, there was nobody who tried to compete. Zalando in Germany stood up, but instead of triumph and support, they have been beaten down for all kinds of nitty-gritty details. Eventually, Alibaba of China attacked Amazon at their own game. Today super successful with a new and disruptive business model. Another notable Chinese company, Tencent, grew out of nothing as a rising star. A tech company that sees opportunities and fulfills them. TikTok, for instance, a Tencent company, is growing faster in the video space than any other company ever did. Megvii, a powerful AI company, Baidu, Ecovacs Robotics, Huawei, BOE, ByteDance, Byton (EVs), Geeli (EVs), Pony.AI, UCloud, Xiaomi, and so forth. Most of them have not been noticed in Europe. The market size, with a population of 3.8 Billion in Asian plus 1.4 Billion in Africa is so much more attractive and more open to innovation than the European market with a population of just 500 Million.
What’s the problem in Europe
Schools are great. People are smart, hard-working, intelligent, creative, innovative thinkers, good business people, good engineers and good scientists. Europeans practice a “problem solver” culture, can collaborate very well, have centuries of innovation history and build some of the finest products. They seem to be the top predator in the global economy. Yet zero notable innovation. Europeans can’t get traction, scale, growth and eventually get bypassed by foreign competition. What’s wrong with the old continent? Top people who would have left for Silicon Valley 10 years ago can now be found in Shenzhen, Singapore, Seoul, and many other cities. Byton, a fast-growing electric car company – a real competition to Tesla by the way – is not only one of many Chinese car manufacturers – its a German startup in China. Former BMW managers started Byton. Within three years, they designed, tested, produce a complete, fully electric car and built the manufacturing plant – all at the same time. Impossible to do that in Germany.
Regulated to death
Regulations, administration, bureaucracy and security thinking is one thing; labor costs another item, space yet another one. But all that is not the real bummer – and no – not even capital as most would immediately point out. It is a terrible cultural development from the past 50 years. Europeans have a protectionist and safety-oriented mindset like no other society on earth. Insurances, social security, data privacy and numerous other topics literally dominate European culture. Whether you look at Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Hungary, or any other country, companies who innovate and disrupt get banned – preservers are in power. Uber is banned in most Swiss cantons. Amazon can’t do business in Switzerland directly. AirBnB, Paypal, and many others have a hard time to get “approved”. And it’s not just US or Chinese companies. Even European innovators have the most challenging time in their home mainland. IKEA wanted to open a shop in Nice/France – it endures forever. And on and on it goes. The protection of the dying local shops is more important than innovation. Why? Because the local shop lobby is bigger and connection to community authority stronger than the interest in standing up and competing. And in Europe, protecting means avoidance of change. Autonomous cars can’t be tested because it is considered not safe enough. Well, then all European car maker march one more time to Silicon Valley, let their cars test there and – ooops also the entire experience moves there. Most car manufacturers hold a potent board – but no experience in the digital world. As a result: some 100 LEDs are the innovation of the day. Few have experience with modern business models. As a result: Accessory manufacturers dictate pricing structures that create a car’s configuration merely a joke – but nobody is noticing. Those add ons are as old as it can be. But European car manufacturers don’t even know what their customers want; “Vive la GDPR”
Privacy protection and innovation
What has one to do with the other? Again nobody notices. Every innovative idea ever created comes from the brain. Our neurons compose new ideas from past experiences. If you never had any experience with Lexicrypt, you won’t be able to innovate around Lexicrypt. And if you don’t know what your customers really want – you cannot innovate for them. The Vendor-Customer communication is so isolated from each other, it’s stronger than an iron curtain – more potent than the Berlin Wall – more protected than China from Facebook, harder to crack than any business secret from the closest competitor. Whoever suggested this massive data protection mechanism to the European Commission did the perfect job that even the best spy movie author could not come up No cyberwar author could have done a better job than that: Eliminate an entire continent by cutting their communication off and making them do it themselves. And the security play was so easy in the most fearful culture on earth.
Lack of courage
Moreover, in most European countries, top US consulting companies run governments, military, corporations, leading universities – everything. Why? because somebody needs to take the risk of making a mistake. “We spend billions in the best consulting firms; they confirmed that it’s a great job. I’m not guilty”. COURAGE has become an unknown word in Europe’s C-Level, University leaders, and military generals. If a nation is mostly busy protecting what they achieved and avoiding risks, they build a massive framework of rules and regulations. And if protection and regulation become the standard, courage is not a need. And even worse. Those who would have the courage get blocked by those who don’t and move on to nations where they can flourish. Europe’s brain drain is in full swing. And maybe the same is on the rise in the US. A problem that modern political systems have never faced and, therefore, no concept to even deal with it – let alone solve it. Even worse, it is not even seen as a challenge. What can be wrong with order? Order is good. Yes, and the requirement of order is no change, and that means banning innovation. There is no bad guy and nobody really guilty. We are living in a continuously evolving organism that simply could not see it coming. But today, we see that the tech world in Europe has nearly no way to catch up, the automobile world lost its edge and there is only a strategy to copy the new market leaders. Europe must crack this enormous nut. Innovate or get disrupted
Innovating the societal system
The list of nations that did not make it, is long: Egypt, the Roman Empire, British Empire and many in between. No society could ever escape that cycle. But no society has ever had such a deep understanding of human organization power, political systems, innovative behavior then we have today. Comparing it with a natural life and death cycle is not appropriate – no country actually died, the people stood alive, nothing broke – but the economy. And since we can fix smaller economic meltdowns, why not a big one? Maybe there is a chance to make a change; no society has ever been able to make “Disrupting itself”.
We are working with the BlueCallum team on structural innovation models that helps super enterprises, those with more than 25,000 employees, to change towards innovation. Maybe the collective intellect of the World Innovations Forum can help empowering nations. A good start could be working with jeopardized industries, like the Tourist industry hit hard by Covid19. Losing an old industry is not just making way for new industry players, it is also a loss of resources, experience, knowledge and more. I’m not talking about old and worthless knowledge but the ability to build knowledge, experience to find solutions and culture that cannot be transferred in another country but values that could help rebuild an innovative spirit that passed away.
Our world is shaping itself in an all new way.
Startups on Decline
We are seeing a general decline of “startups” mainly those who were just jumping on the bandwagon without any serious concept, more importantly without any real entrepreneurial DNA. It actually feels like a positive self cleanup across the globe. And the old saying “the best startups come out of a crisis” continues to be of value.
The world will experience another $5 Trillion or more in economic losses in the next 6-9 months. There is no change in sight right now. 2021/22 and maybe 23 will stay as is. Digital is the new social and endangered industries like Tourism, Hospitality, Air Travel, Trade, Shopping, Luxury Products and Automobile, have no where to go in the next three years. In particular democracies are hit hard and ultra easy to stimulate groups to protest and those minorities can bring an entire nation including their economy to a halt.
Innovation needs to be financed. No matter if it is a startup, a mid-market business, an enterprise, an educational institute or a government. Non profit businesses will be hit the hardest – by order of magnitude. NGOs cannot deliver a financial return on investment. But in times when cash is king, the ROI counts. On the other hand profitable businesses who deliver a value, people pay for have it rather easy. Innovative businesses will remain to be the focus point of investors around the world.
In order to make innovation fundable, the innovation must attract investors and must match the interests of investors. In a 10 month long “Innovation Acceleration Program” we are helping teams to fully understand modern innovation methods and processes, understand the full innovation life cycle from start to re-innovation.
Moving Fast Forward
In order to keep moving forward, we initiated the following activities simultaneously:
- AUDIENCE: We expanded the audience we want to support to include SMEs.
- CONTENT: We always combine events with “Knowledge Transfer”. Moving forward we are relaying on our partners to organize events and we simply support, provide content, speak, are available for chats and networking. That way we can support more and reduce the organization overhead.
- INNOVATION: There is probably no business that has a fully functional innovation strategy. We put all our efforts into helping businesses become truly innovative – not just improve.
WIForum Business Model
As an organization we shifted to a new hybrid business model: Memberships and making services only available to memberships. Services income for resource intensive services and sponsorship for industry relevant activities.
We built up the 2021 strategy for World Innovations Forum very early this year and introduced it a few days ago to our Ambassadors in Europe, Asia, Africa and the US. The core aspects include:
- “From donations to equity funding” for all emerging nations.
- “Digital is the new social” for developed countries.
The overarching direction: Innovation is the single biggest driver for economic freedom and prosperity – which is relevant for all nations no matter where they are.
Looking for more information on becoming an Entrepreneur or running a successful startup? Well we are hosting monthly webinars to answer your burning questions. Entrepreneurs talk about their experience and will answer often asked questions. This journey that you are on is not an easy one, with many ups and downs, but it does not mean you have to do it alone. Our webinar series starts from the very beginning and walks you through the innovation process, finding funding, building a team and customer acquisition. So what are the benefits for you?
- Insights from Entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes before;
- Formulas, checklists and tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur;
- Opportunity to directly ask those burning questions.
Our knowledge transfer webinar series has already started but you can watch all previous episodes on our website or check out the summaries below. Also, mark your calendars for the upcoming webinars so you do not miss anything. More details below.
Summary of the Past Three Webinars
Our first webinar is a great starting point for anyone considering becoming an entrepreneur, as it walks you through what it really takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The main takeaways answer the question, what are traits of an entrepreneur? These are not skills, nothing inherited, no expertise, no training …
- Fearless/ Risk Takers*
- Curious/ Open*
- Creative/ Compositive*
*Must have to be a founders. Cofounders can offset 40% of the missing traits.
You want to be an entrepreneur. You have the important traits addressed in our first webinar, Entrepreneurs DNA but you don’t have an idea? In our next webinar, Idea Seeker, we showed you where the best ideas in the world come from. You might be surprised; it is easier than you may think.
Where are great ideas coming from?
- From your own experiences (problems)
- From careful market observation & listening
- From taking many perspectives (see opportunities)
- Crafting a concept (initial value of an idea is zero)
- Get ready to execute – the path to value and prosperity
- Why even looking for an idea? It’s the ignition.
Now you have your idea but how good is that idea really? Do you know? Our next webinar, Idea Validation, showed you how to get that answer and even how to make a so-so-idea into a really great idea. We cannot stress enough, build what customers want – not what you think they should get! Here is some top client feedback to consider:
- What problem would you solve?
- What value would it be? How much?
- What happens if we take it away?
Where to Watch
You can watch all of our Knowledge Transfer webinars, including are SPECIAL EDITION sessions here: https://wiforum.org/webinar-recordings/ If you enjoyed the content please let us know by commenting, subscribing or liking our videos on YouTube. We are welcome to any feedback and are happy to answer any additional questions you might have. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join our Next Session
We are hosting our next session, Innovative Thinking on Monday, August 3 at 10:00 AM WAT | 12:00 PM EAT | 4:00 PM ICT. Want to become really innovative with ground breaking concepts? You can actually learn this. Don’t miss out on anymore of our webinars, find all upcoming events and registration links here: https://wiforum.org/online-events/.
Yet another amazing World Innovations Forum Conference, all online. Attendees from 59 countries and speakers from 22 countries made it a great event.
The conference started with the 10-year agenda of the World Innovations Forum Foundation. Our Chairman talked about the time it takes to make startups into big companies and how many are needed to turn a developing country into a prosper economy. The aim of the forum and its members from over 20 countries is to double the number of developed countries by the end of this decade – 2030. Later on he spoke about the Innovations age where currently 30 patents are registered every minute. By inspiring more innovation this number will grow exponentially in the next ten years.
A WHOLE GROUP OF ORGANIZATIONS ALIGNED
The World Innovations Forum is not the only organization with big ambitions. Another organization in our ecosystem are helping entrepreneurs to thrive, create large number of jobs and get their country to prosperity is the Jacobs Foundation. Their contribution to 2030 is to help with education and embracing learning variability. From a one fits all education system to learner adjusted education.
In the following entrepreneurs round table, representatives from Tech in Africa, Axel Peyrier, the Happel foundation, Alexander Lanz and SwissContact, Teresa Widmer spoke about what it takes to actually inspire entrepreneurs, not telling them what to do. Great discussions and a variety of perspectives.
AMAZINGLY INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS
We saw a total of 9 amazing startups and scaleups that only proves, that there are extraordinary and innovative startups in any country on Earth.
Owen Sakawa from RepairNet, Kenya, is building a platform for a roughly billion people market and their repair needs in Africa. And Eddy Richauvet from ShopRunBack in Cambodia is building possibly the most powerful addon to the e-commerce world, a complete “Return-Platform” including the logistics network for the 65% of the eCommerce market not covered by Amazon.
Lin Hwang from Damogo, Indonesia is fighting food waste and how they turned on the heat in just a few months. Tobias Gunzenhauser, from Yamo, another Accelerator graduate, shared how he and his co-founders built Yamo into a super fast growing baby-food powerhouse.
Agudor Agabas from AppCycle in Ghana presented their idea and how they transform waste to new products and use almost exclusively waste to produce everything from clothes to accessories in a very innovative way. A different innovator was Ibrahim Abdulmalik from Farmula in Kenya, he shared how they help revitalize the supply chain of farmers’ businesses, as it is to a large degree destroyed from western food business. Expired food from the developed nations are brought into Africa as “development aid” but ruins in some sections the entire local food chain. How can a chicken farmer compete with their free range chicken against chicken for free, even if it is already a bit rotten.
Moving virtually back to Asia, Phi Nguyen from sPhoton presented a new Artificial Intelligence based Corporate Communication System, taking modern voice interaction aka Alexa into the corporate world. It may not apply in the West, but the 6 billion Asian market with managers half the average age and hungry for digital experiences, is certainly a pristine market for it. Africa is seeking talents very much like Asia. Emmanuel Leslie, from TalentsInAfrica in Ghana presented another AI based solution for talent development and talent match. With a number of startups that exceed the number of Silicon Valley startups, Africa is moving extremely fast and talent acquisition is one of the limiting factors.
Two more innovators presented, Mutembei Kariuk from Fastagger in Kenya and Peter Muchemi from Megashift, also in Kenya. Last and definitely not least was a special highlight. Binay Raut, from Paaila in Nepal presented the first Artificial intelligence based Robot from Nepal. In less than a year, the team built a first greeting robot, then a more sophisticated robot for banks and was even able to export their robots to the US. During the pandemic, Paaila was the first to build a robot for hospitals, serving patience and reducing the risks for the care personnel. Just a few years ago, it was unthinkable to create AI based robots made in Nepal.
FINANCIAL COMPANY VALUATIONS
The most challenging finance question for startups is to create a meaningful and defensible company valuation. This challenge is the same, all over the planet. Karim Raffa, a finance expert, former entrepreneur and investor himself is educating startups to create valuations that attract investors but not ruining their capital. Karim is also helping investors to make meaningful offers, because asking for too much equity in the beginning may change the discussion quickly against both, investor and entrepreneur.
INVESTOR ROUND TABLE
With investors from Cambodia [Christophe Forsinetti], Switzerland [Thomas Kern], and Vietnam [Duc Viet Nguyen], we had a great mix of representation from developing, fast emerging and developed nations. Investors from around the world look for gold nuggets. Average quality startups are nearing a million and have the highest risk. Lack of well structured FDI policies for equity foreign direct investments however still prohibit deep pocket investors to invest in these new countries. In Asia most startups move their HQs to Singapore and African companies to the UK, Singapore or Switzerland.
INNOVATION OF NATIONS
We heard an intellectually demanding but to the point speech from Ndubuisi Ekekwe, about the importance of innovation for each nation as a key to competitiveness and prosperity. He talked about how good policies can unleash the power of innovation or limit them, and what economic frameworks can do to empower entrepreneurship to thrive and create jobs or disable their abilities and make them possibly leave their countries. He essentially delivered the recipe for politicians to make their countries thrive.
DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
Emmanuel Ndonga spoke about the unique opportunities for Africa. Almost 60% of the African population is under the age of 25 with untapped opportunities for growth and development. But Africa is not a country with a culture, it is continent 54 sovereign countries and a total population of 1.3 Billion with a fast growing number of university graduates. Emmanuel presented an amazing list of activities for governments and the population to get up and get autonomous, reducing external influence and becoming innovative – because they can. Similarly a great presentation from Ashwin Ravichandran who spent many years in Africa, and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build their businesses and thrive. Africa has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and the biggest shift is yet to come.
THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATION
Education, in particular education for innovative thinking, like it is practices in Switzerland, was addressed by Dr. Ram Shrestha Ph.D., Vice Chancellor of the Kathmandu University. He gave insights into how and why Nepal should accelerate their motivation to more entrepreneurship in Nepal. Later on Dr. Matthes Fleck, Ph.D. from the University for Science and Arts in Lucerne spoke about the talent development of entrepreneurs from western universities and the importance for startups to get access to those talents early on.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP GENDER NEUTRAL
WIForum Chair and co-founder Marita Schultze organized a round table where female entrepreneurs including Clarisse Iribagiza from Rwanda, Sophie Meas from Cambodia and Prativa Pandey, Ph.D. from Nepal had a partly controversial discussion about the role women in entrepreneurship. In some countries it is not even a discussion about the gender sensitivity, yet in others societies, women are still discriminated in so many ways, like in Nepal, so that the entrepreneurship aspect is just a side effect.
The most advanced technique to create innovative and disruptive ideas and turn them into reality is Neuro Ideation. Attendees learned how the brain actually composes ideas and how they are processed so that innovation can happen. The concept of Neuro Ideation is brand new and puts emerging countries and developed countries on a even playing level. Rapid idea development, accompanied by a disruptive business model can happen as quickly as 3 weeks but no longer than 6 months. The Deep Innovation Design method, with neuro ideation at its core fundamentally changes the act of innovation and disrupts innovation itself. The world Innovations Forum, together with the Society3 Group will be empowering entrepreneurs independent of which country they are from.
INNOVATION FIGHTING PANDEMICS
Another highly innovation related topic, that is very timely as well, was presented by Cafer Tosun, an SAP executive and Advisory Board Member to the WIForum. Innovation Fighting Pandemic, is an initiative, led by Cafer Tosun, leveraging the innovative spirit to fight covid-19. After a short but intense campaign to wear a mask, the campaign was reduced in intensity after 62 countries announced masks are mandatory or at least highly recommended. He shared some details about a new project where innovative thinking was applied in its truest sense. A concept to eradicate covid-19 neither by vaccines or treatment but by mass testing and stopping the transfer of the virus. The method and concept to do so came neither from the technology sector nor from the medical sector, but from the genetics space. There is a good chance to test millions of people per day and up to 5 billion in a week. We will be providing updates after the next tests in a few days.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE VISION IN EACH COUNTRY
During the three days we also heard from our Country Ambassadors: Dung Trung Nguyen [Vietnam], Khem Lakai [Nepal], Christella Uwamahoro [Rwanda], Eunice Nyandat [Kenya] and MacCarthy Mac-Gbathy [Ghana]. With each of them we discussed what is attractive in their country for those seeking entrepreneurship opportunities, how fast they develop and what the possibilities are for foreigner who may help build their respecting nations. History has shown that there have been many “Lands of Opportunity” in the past: Egypt, Greece, Rome, the UK, the US to name just a few. All have been nearly world dominating – none have ever seen true world domination. Now, there are many different lands of opportunities popping up almost at the same time. Maybe it is the time humankind realizes that we can only reach our best potential when all other nations reach their best potential as well.
THE FUTURE OF NATIONS
It is no longer a futuristic vision, that emerging countries will become a significant contributor to our global economy. Well aware of what worked and what didn’t in the past, most entrepreneurs of the future are very well aware that companies with 100,000+ employees are most likely not the future of the global economy but highly agile specialists connecting and collaborating with each other. The makers movement in China has already proven that millions of people are producing a small number of unique components faster, better and less expensive than any other nation. The advantage is not the cheap labor as labor cost rises in Shenzhen very quickly as well – the advantage is an unparalleled agility. The other mega challenge is global energy consumption. As more and more emerging countries are rising, so is their energy hunger. Also here, ingenuity and unique entrepreneurs working on various energy related projects such as geothermal energy development in Kenya, where 40% of Kenya’s energy consumption is generated by that technology. Geothermal development in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda will provide much-needed environmentally sustainable energy, maybe one day for all of us. Similarly is the development in South East Asia rapidly moving towards better technology, far more automation than in any other area in the World. Singapore can be called the most advanced nation in the world with an unseen before balance between human development, nature protection, sustainable planning for the future and a nowhere else achieved lifestyle. The 4.4 Billion Asians plus 1.4 billion Africans represent not only by far the largest markets on earth but also the most agile development and most innovation hungry young generation. The biggest advantage of this 5.8 billion population (75% of all people) is their low level of protectionism, bureaucracy and innovation blocking interest groups.
By 2030 we can expect developed nations will be doubling and by 2040 doubling again, which means more than half of the nations are having a status of developed country.
Axel Schultze, the World Innovations Forum chairman closes by saying “Even the world’s strongest nation will unfold it’s biggest potential, at the day every other country has reached theirs”.
The next World Innovations Forum Global Conference is scheduled to be held in June 2022.
The whole WIForum Team in Switzerland as well as all our national teams in the respective countries like to thank everybody for their amazing contribution and participation in this years event.
The world needs more 007s
When you look for successful companies who have somewhere more than 25-50 employees, you will find about 400,000 companies. And when we assume about 6 billion adults you will come to 0.007% of people founding, co-founding and running those companies. Entrepreneurs are clearly a extremely rare minority. Now – the number is obviously dominated by the developed nations who have a culture of business builders. One may think also a much better education system. But the argument of education is not quite holding. Most of the successful entrepreneurs actually quit school before graduation and just started their company. Many of today’s or even yesterday’s entrepreneurs did not come from a wealthy family or from a family with entrepreneurial background or had a great education. Researching the background of hundreds of entrepreneurs we worked with made it pretty clear: The only pattern is no pattern.
How Many More Hidden Gems are there?
Now the most interesting question arises: How many of those hidden gems do we have all over Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the rest of the world?
At the World Innovations Forum we are looking especially for that minority of often laughed at, crazy people with amazing ideas that seem to be completely unrealistic. We are not necessarily looking for people who want to start a company but also those who would love to become a co-founder or work in a startup like environment in a corporate innovation lab.
Test Your Entrepreneurial DNA
If you like to know whether you maybe a good entrepreneur or a good co-founder or somebody living your entrepreneurial dream in a corporate innovation lab, do your your test. This project is not funded by any corporation. Therefor we need to fund it ourselves and ask for $2.50 to contribute to the WIForum organization. You will win regardless. If you know you are an entrepreneur, great, if you know you are probably not, you can safe time and money from trying and if you still want to try – you actually should anyway.
After you completed the test we will review it and let you know. Those who appear to be especially talented will be invited to an interview to possibly join the WIForum Entrepreneurum, a special entrepreneurship preparation program that may lead to an entry into the Innopreneurs Academy.
Join the Innopreneurs Academy
The Innopreneurs Academy will work with participants deeply on innovation design, creating ground breaking innovation and building their company within a six month period. The developed world was built on the shoulders of a handful of amazing entrepreneurs. We see no reason to experience the same in all nations. The only difference we are looking at: Don’t make the same mistakes the old world did and grow monster companies that can no longer innovate. Instead build highly specialized highly connected enterprises where many other enterprises deliver specialized parts or services. Economies with a small number of monster organizations are doomed to fail, while highly agile economies with lots of innovative companies collaborating show the most stable societies.
NOTE: this concept may look completely contradicting the idea of inclusion. But in the case of entrepreneurship we cannot circumvent mother nature. There are only so many talents on earth – but we want to include all of them. Democratizing entrepreneurship.
June 23-25, the second World Innovations Forum Conference, will be held online. Broadcasted from our innovation studios in Lucerne Switzerland, attendees will meet innovative minds from fast-emerging countries discussing needs and dreams, plans and programs to bring the “New World” on eye-level with the “Old World.” Ingenuity, curiosity, determination, networking power, unbreakable will-power, and top education, all of the necessities of top-level entrepreneurs are seen in the fearless and risk-taking entrepreneurs in South East Asia and Africa. Many of those countries are on the verge of profound change. Let’s be straight forward; self-confidence and eagerness unfolds ingenuity.
The same determination drives the WIForum Foundation members such as country ambassadors, champions, partners, volunteers from Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Vietnam, as well as industry partners from developed nations. The goal is to elevate the economic level of those nations to become autonomous and able to compete in global markets – but more importantly, contribute to human progress. The fact of life: 1 billion people can only feed the other 6 billion people if that is their sole focus. But, 7 billion people together are able to solve most of the biggest problems we see today in the near future and can truly be considered equal. Togetherness empowers us to get to sustainable innovation in our industry, energy needs, care and social development while building out our comfortable lives – without sacrificing our planet.
WORLDS LARGEST INNOVATION POTENTIAL
The two largest continents by size, Asia and Africa, and also by population, with 6 of the 7.7 billion people, represent the most substantial innovation potential on earth. The WIForum Digital 2020 Conference offers an insight into what to expect from the most significant parts of our planet and where it may take us. You will get a glimpse into the world of top-notch startups from Africa and Asia and how they shape to win the world. By the end of this decade we will see a boost of innovation of seismic proportion.
If you are looking for the globally well known speakers – we will need to disappoint you. The innovative minds from tomorrow are not the heroes from yesterday. We also don’t want to list the same problems that one always hears and the same successes that we already know. We decided to give you insights from what is actually happening today and where it must lead to tomorrow. Join us on the ground and draw your own trajectory for the real tomorrow.
Startups from Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Vietnam are still invited to apply to present