“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” – Chinese proverb
What is “entrepreneurship”? Wikipedia says, among other things:
“Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is often initially a small business. The people who create these businesses are called entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship has been described as the ‘capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit’.”
Innovation and entrepreneurship tend to benefit from a diverse environment. In these environments, people meet and ideas are conceived, shaped and transformed. In the book “The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights and the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts and Cultures”, Frans Johansson describes this idea and shows examples of how The Renaissance came about, in part through this effect – leading to major changes in art, architecture, politics, science and literature throughout Europe during the 14th to 17th centuries.
So, the entrepreneur is a little bit like a spider working on his web – because an entrepreneur needs his or her own network in order to be successful. This network includes such things as access to infrastructure, organisation, manpower, skills and more – but when it comes down to it, the most important network in entrepreneurship is the network of people. Through contact with others, that is usually both how innovation comes about and how entrepreneurial endeavours succeed. The lack of a good network can likewise lead to failure – despite a good product – because there is a lack of support in vital parts of the process of bringing innovations to market.
In order to support entrepreneurship, many countries and regions will provide things such as:
- Government programs and services that promote entrepreneurship and support entrepreneurs and start-ups
- Non-governmental organisations such as small-business associations and organisations that offer advice and mentoring to entrepreneurs
- Advocacy organisations that lobby governments for increased support for entrepreneurship programs and more small business-friendly laws and regulations
- Business incubators and seed accelerators
- Entrepreneurship education and training programs
- Financing for innovations, new ventures and small businesses
The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace in 2014 to create this type of platform for entrepreneurs. Here, entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses can get the support and guidance from CEOs, influencers, business angels, mentors and business partners.
The aim of the organisation is to create introductions to mentors and advisors, provide access to distribution systems and supply chains and to make connections and give help with investments.
I was asked to become a mentor in this programme, helping start-ups that are pitching for support. It costs nothing to apply to take part of the programme. 42 entrepreneurs are chosen for each event and these will then remain within the Pitch@Palace constellation for future support and development.
Currently, Pitch@Palace holds events in 53 countries, includes almost 700 entrepreneurs and has created almost 3 000 jobs.
You can read more about this initiative, on how to apply and what is currently happening in the programme here.