In the second webinar of the StartSmart Webinar Series, Alexandre (Alex) Lazarow, a global investor and author of “Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs from Delhi to Detroit Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley,” and Saleh Abbas, Flat6Labs Bahrain’s Marketing & Outreach Manager, discussed how entrepreneurs in the MENA region are implementing innovative approaches to running a successful startup.
The challenges that startups face in emerging markets are normally comprised of a mix of lack of access to capital, availability of highly skilled talent, and inability to create a structure for the startups, Alex said. Whereas, in Silicon Valley, startups enjoy access to multiple sources for capital growth. This is exactly why Silicon Valley startups scale and grow much faster than their counterparts in MENA, Asia, etc…
“Entrepreneurs around the world have to do more with less”
However, Alex believes, entrepreneurs around the world have more in common than any one would think, but the startup ecosystem, the economy, and the laws and regulations that a startup is bound by is what changes the story.
“Silicon Valley must learn from other centers of innovation”
In the times of the COVID-19, nevertheless, Alex said that Silicon Valley startups who have been privileged with access to growth resources, should take a look at how startups in the MENA are utilising limited resources to grow. Startups in general need to focus on what can be learnt from the pandemic and re-think their business model; focus on what they provide, and focus on sustainability.
“Use the pandemic to hire remote talents”
The pandemic is a great opportunity for startups to realise the potential of hiring remote talents to grow and expand their business operations. As Alex put it, “if you are capable of building your business remotely, you are also building the muscle that will support your local, regional, or global expansion.” Hiring remote talents also gives you access to areas of expertise that might not be available in your ecosystem at a lower cost even.
“Startups in the frontier ecosystems need to think globally”
Alex elaborated that startups in growing economies need to think of how their startup can expand globally or regionally when they are just starting out. It is important to create a solution that could be adapted to different cultures and economies because it will facilitate your growth. He highlighted that most of today’s unicorns had going global at their core from the very beginning. Entrepreneurs need to think about how you can build teams that communicate efficiently across the world, and how they can build that global muscle from day one. Also, the pandemic is enabling entrepreneurs to reach out to global investors without the need to travel. This is a chance for them to raise money and approach remote investors.
We highly recommend Out-Innovate as one of the top reads in the VC/Startup genre , you can get yours… here.
Don’t miss our upcoming Webinar on April 21st with Amira Yahyaoui founder of MOS, a Silicon Valley based startup. For more information and to register click here.