By Bienja Kaya and Laurent Basset
With WeAreStartup we want to bring entrepreneurs and startups together. Our vision is to make startup support easily accessible from anywhere in the world. We are creating a community in which entrepreneurs, startup professionals and startup enthusiasts are connected and can help each other to develop successful businesses.
Having been delegates at the AFI Changemakers Right to Development Summit in 2014, we wanted to share with Changemakers global youth network our WeAreStartup platform. Having both just finished a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation we know about the difficulties of business development and how challenging entrepreneurship is in these competitive times. We know how important the team and timing is for a successful idea. Time and time again entrepreneurs face the same problems as they begin to make their business ideas a reality. First of all startups want to know if their idea is good enough for further development, therefore proper testing and feedback is needed; this can be difficult to access because startups need the right contacts, which most of them do not have in the beginning. Startups also need funding and therefore need the right information about investors and entrepreneurs, which is not so easy depending on their country of origin. Crucial from the start is the team. Most founders need cofounders, partners and bright heads that fit in their team, and to find them can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. And if you want to internationalize your startup from the very beginning, international partners that know their market are needed. In terms of marketing and communication, finding early adopters and the right target group is more difficult and you may be in the wrong city or country to start. There are many more problems when creating a successful startup, but we believe that with WeAreStartup we can build a digital workplace where collaborative help brings entrepreneurs forward.
As two Changemakers, WeAreStartup was developed because we wanted to enlarge our international network and connect with entrepreneurs all over the world, including developing countries. After attending several startup weekends in different countries, we realized that ideas that startups work on are repetitive, and that people are developing businesses to solve the same kind of problems without knowing of each other until the solution is offered online. So we asked ourselves, what can be done to bring people with the same ideas together and to find the network and support they need to successfully start a business? Accelerator and incubator programmes answer some of these problems but the application process is highly competitive with a selection rate of less than 5%, and this is always done by taking equity and thus expecting a strong ROI. We wanted to give the chance to those 95% startups that get rejected to succeed!
We want to help entrepreneurs; people that are willing to invest their time and money to make a change in society by providing a business solution but who don’t have access to the required resources. We want to protect them from the hassle of starting up without having the right people to talk to and support them.
With WeAreStartup we want to offer a digital solution to solve this problem for entrepreneurs, startups and entrepreneurship passionates. WeAreStartup is designed to be a digital workplace where one can challenge their ideas, find people with the same mindset and idea anywhere in the world, where entrepreneurs can interact, discuss and share knowledge to enhance their solutions. And we think an international platform is needed, so that those from developing countries can benefit from the expertise of entrepreneurs worldwide. We plan to add a collaborative tool, to make it easier to find the right team and contacts.
When WeAreStartup came up in our discussions we were both willing to invest our time in the creation of this business. To embark on this journey was what we wanted before even starting our MSc. As we went through the programme we realized that there is a strong trend towards creating and innovating startups but also that the problems most startups face are mutual with other startups worldwide. We hope that WeAreStartup can provide a space in which thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world can discuss, participate and learn so that they can succeed.
To find out more about WeAreStartup and to join the network, follow these links:
Bienja has an MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from SKEMA Business School and several years of work experience in Human Resource Management and Marketing and Communications. Her passions include social entrepreneurship, innovation, and intercultural understanding. Living and working in South-East Asia and Europe have grown her international network. She is a creative head that loves to travel and build long-lasting friendships and business connections all over the world while supporting startups. Laurent has an MSc in Software Engineering from Polytech Nice and a MSc in Entrepreneurship & Innovation from SKEMA Business School. He has 15 years of experience in the IT industry in the US and in France. He is passionate about international cooperation, environmental issues and startups.