I had the pleasure and honour of being part of the jury panel at TiE Nagpur Chapter Finale of the TiE Nagpur & TiE Global Women Pitch Competition 2020. TiE Nagpur is a part of the TiE Global Network, a worldwide network for entrepreneurs. I am an Associate Member of the TiE UK North network. Here are three things I observed that fascinated me and made me proud:
- Quality of Ideas
The sheer quality of ideas that were presented was a revelation. For me the quality of an idea is about how well it addresses these questions:
Firstly, the clarity displayed by the finalists in identifying the problems and explaining why they were problems was combined with their articulation of their solution and how it would solve the said problem. Secondly, the depth of their technical capability was well evidenced, showing how they would solve the problems.
Often, when the innovation journey is in progress, the problems for which solutions are developed are often restricted to geography, demography or sector. This was not the case with these entrepreneurs. The problems and solutions presented catered to a wider reach of audience.
Now, why is this important, you may ask. The reason this is important is that when you focus on problems of a wider reach and provide solutions, you are displaying agility, flexibility and projecting a universal appeal.
Items 1 and 2 above present the value you and your enterprise being to your customers. However, there is one more thing.
- Commercial Awareness
A common complaint about founders and entrepreneurs is that they are too focused on their product and its technical capabilities that they overlook the commercials such as market size, sales, revenue, profits and return on investment. Not in this case. There was sufficient clarity about the commercial aspect of their enterprises.
Commercial awareness is an important ability to have, as a founder and entrepreneur. It is the commercialisation potential and the opportunity that convert your invention into an innovation. Your commercial awareness displays your ability to demonstrate the value your customers bring to your company.
To summarise what I saw, here are three points:
- Quality of Idea: This is about answering the ‘what-why-what-why-how’ chain of questions
- Reach: Having a wide reach is a demonstration of agility and flexibility
- Commercial Awareness: Good commercial awareness will highlight the value your customers bring to your enterprise.