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Why Supporting Entrepreneurs Matters

Shayaan March 16, 2021

Mary Grove, the Managing Partner at Bread and Butter Ventures, has a family background of hard-working entrepreneurs. Speaking at 021Disrupt 2020, she spoke of her parents, immigrants from Thailand, who moved to the United States in the hopes of achieving the quintessential American dream, running small scale businesses over a period of 30 years. This experience allowed Mary to witness both the successes and failures that are part of the entrepreneurial world from an early age.

Her career began at Google, where she remained for the next 15 years. She worked in various different departments, finally getting the opportunity to launch Google for Startups, where she was the Founding Director. She worked with startups of every stage for 6 years, before launching her own business, Bread and Butter Ventures, which invests in early-stage startups.

During her talk, she covered 2 core topics. The first is the idea that the best founders are people who are solving a problem that they personally have because if it’s personal, they’re going to go to any length to fix it. 

The second core topic is based on the thought that the biggest challenges that we currently face are going to be fixed by entrepreneurs, startups and tech-driven companies.

So the question is, what can you or I do to support the entrepreneurs in our ecosystem and beyond?

  • For successful entrepreneurs, the best thing to do is pay it forward. Offer advice to your peers, to your juniors, and think sincerely about how you can help other companies.
  • As a venture capitalist, don’t hesitate to write those cheques. Go the extra mile, and help in building the pipeline for the next stage for startups and entrepreneurs.
  • For large corporations and organizations, partner with startups! Always take an early bet on local startups. If you can, try to finance an accelerator program or create your very one! Help in bridging the gap between small startups and the big, scary, large industry so that it’s easier for them to reach you.
  • If you’re in government, think about how you can create a regulatory environment that will help start or sunset a business venture.
  • As an ecosystem builder, what are the various ways you make the ecosystem more accessible and inclusive that you haven’t tapped into yet?
  • Finally, as an entrepreneur, lean into your place. Don’t always try to replicate others, and ignore the problems you can solve in your own backyard. Launch quickly; don’t spend years in stealth mode, because that’s not how you’ll be able to get feedback. The quicker you get feedback, the easier it is to pivot your strategy to what works better for your stakeholders and customers. And most importantly, prioritize team building and culture from the get-go.

Mary ended her talk with 5 important takeaways for entrepreneurs and founders, which she believes should be the foundation of any good business

  • Be bold
  • Find mentors
  • Dont be afraid to ask for help
  • Be authentic and vulnerable
  • Nurture relationships and partnerships long-term.

For access to Mary’s full talk, go here.

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