Attending technology innovation and start-up events is always a great opportunity to stay abreast of what is coming up in technology, new products and ideas. As a corporate director, it is one of the ways I use to stay informed about the industry. I always leave these events with enthusiasm about the state of entrepreneurship in Canada having witnessed the passion of these individuals in starting technology-related businesses. It’s exciting to witness founders plunging into a start-up without all the answers.
Recently, I was fortunate to be a jury member for Devtech BIO’s life science entrepreneurship contest. The 11 contestants had to demonstrate that their business would benefit from attending the BIO convention in Philadelphia. The 5 winners, selected by the jury, received coaching on how to successfully attend the BIO convention and what to expect from BIO partnering, plus their registration fee will also be covered.
These entrepreneurs demonstrated a healthy appetite for taking risks and a tolerance for the unknown. They were passionate about starting their tech businesses and were plunging in without knowing all the answers. What they did not realize is that one of their biggest risks will come from sales and marketing and not from technology. They maybe didn’t know that a good mitigation plan should include coaching, mentoring, networking or an advisory board with complementary skills to their own.
Only one of the 11 candidates shook our hands before he began his presentation, only three left business cards, none asked for our own business card and I do not think anyone had looked at the jury’s LinkedIn profiles before the presentation. Remember that we had to evaluate their readiness to attend a marketing event. If I was their mentor, I would have told them how important these things are - to concentrate on the person as much as the business. I would also have recommended that they dress the part. Bring extra shoes for your suit so that you look professional and people focus on your pitch and not your winter boots!
To comment, go to LinkedIn - published March 8, 2015