It seems that entrepreneurialism is in the air. Hot off the heels of the launch of our Entrepreneurial Britain research last week, which delves into the motivations and challenges of small business owners, we heard about the Evening Standard’s Young Progress Maker event so Dani Murphy and Lisa Johnson went along to check it out.
Yesterday, hundreds of Londoners looking to make their mark on the city’s future ascended on the Roundhouse to find out what it means to be a Young Progress Maker.
The Evening Standard gathered idea makers, creative & tech entrepreneurs and influencers to help each one start their own journey, through keynotes, panel discussions and one-on-one speed mentoring sessions.
From founders of start-ups to builders of little empires, the afternoon’s speakers covered what it takes to get a business going from the ground up, discussing the importance of collaboration and the dangers and opportunities of a rapid technological evolution.
We listened to each one and brought the best bits together!
Here’s what they had to say…
“Don’t jump on a trend, create a new one” was the first piece of advice from YouTube comedian Humza Arshad. He may have been talking specifically about creating vlogs people want to watch, but it’s a good lesson for brands. Don’t do what everyone else is doing if you want to get noticed.
Alex Klein, creator of Kano computers, called for everyone to “get inside” technology. Even if you have no intention of becoming a coder, for example, understanding a little bit of how the future world works is the only way to stay ahead of the machines. But that’s not to say they’ll take over the human race. Although 80 per cent of jobs will be lost to machines in the next ten years, Klein insisted this will only mean that creativity and “higher level” cognitive function-based work is valued more dearly.
Deepmind genius – Demis Hassabis was similarly positive about the future of man and machine. Using the example of AlphaGo, the AI machine that defeated Go World Champion Lee Sodol while unlocking a better understanding of human behaviour, he assured the audience that it is not about pitting AI and humans against each other, but rather looking at the things they can discover with their combined knowledge. Man and machine will evolve together.
London Mayor Saddiq Khan brought things back to the immediate future by rallying young Londoners to chase their entrepreneurial dreams. “With hard work and a helping hand, you can achieve anything,” he promised (quoting Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind for a bit of American Dream-type flavour).
Hard work was a common theme for the business leaders, who all proved that entrepreneurism isn’t about laziness. Brent Hoberman, the founder of lastminute.com, talked reassuringly about putting the graft in to reap rewards: his fortune certainly wasn’t made from handouts. And equally humble Young Music Boss Jusnah Gadi, insists she has to work tirelessly to stay on top of her game. There was no complacency here.
Really, the business game is hard: 21-year-old entrepreneur and founder of Supa Academy, Bejay Mulenga, reminded the crowd that seeing your own business become a success is precisely why it’s worth it. “You get direct results and it’s the only place you can’t coast. That’s why I love business!”
These Young Progress Makers have paved their way by finding creative ways to get the results they need. They understand that by embracing and adapting to the rules that keep changing around us, they can make the world work to their advantage. If we bring these principles into our work and encourage our clients to be more open to big ideas, we can keep up and even get ahead of the competition, leading the way for future progress makers.