Posted by Ingrid Riley on April 10th, 2013
While we work on gathering our Failure stories to share here on SiliconCaribe.com with you. Here’s a sweet article you can learn from also. It’s one of the things I feel passionately about – removing the stigma of failure in our Caribbean culture. Failure in my expeirence just means you’ve tried something and learnt something. Those who are successful, keep going.
Failure: it’s a common theme among start-up founders. In the Silicon Valley, it’s almost a badge of honor. But for all the dire statistics out there, what are the real reasons some start ups don’t make it? And what lessons can we learn from them?
We asked 8 (now) successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share why a prior start-up didn’t make it – and what they’re doing differently knowing what they know now.
1. We Did Not Have A Narrow Focus
My first start up team had a very big idea about encouraging sustainability. If we could get individuals to track how often they took small, sustainable actions – refilling water bottles, reusing paper bags, etc. – we could create a culture where reuse was prevalent. Not only were we trying to change behaviors – difficult! – but we assumed that gamification would be a critical element. And that education was a critical element. And that social sharing was critical. There was more, too.
If I were to restart that business, I would focus on the root issue of encouraging sustainable actions and tackle only one aspect of it. We have seen many companies pop up in this space, but each only focuses on one of the many complex ideas. At the start, be great at something small. Then expand. - Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
Posted by Ingrid Riley on April 2nd, 2013
I found this blog post a while back and I happened on it again on Twitter and I read it, was again inspired and so I had to share it. This is the kind of article very aspiring and current Caribbean tech entrepreneur, developer, designer, college student and college graduate should read and re-read. It’s written by Jason Baptiste. WHo is he? Jason L. Baptiste, is currently the CEO and co-founder of Onswipe, a platform for tablet publishing and advertising. In 2011 Jason was named to Forbes 30 Under 30, Businessweek’s Top 25 Under 25 entrepreneurs, INC. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, and the CEO of one of TIME Inc’s 10 Best Startups. Jason is currently a professional author of the upcoming book “The Ultralight Startup” being published by Penguin Books.
I’m going to go and replace 3 years with a “short time frame”. Some things to focus on:
Market opportunity- A million dollars is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly is a lot if the market opportunity is not large enough. Even if you put Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as founders in a new venture with a total market size of 10 million, there is no way they could become too wealthy without completely changing the business (ie- failing).
Inequality of information- Find a place where you know something that many undervalue. Having this inequality of information can give you, your first piece of leverage. More
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 28th, 2013
Paula Fierro | Garth Humpreys
CAYMAN (Tech Culture)- The Tech Culture is rising in the Cayman Islands thanks to a few forward thinkers. I remember meeting Garth Humphreys a Caymanian web designer and programmer with a serious passion for developing games. He later formed the Facebook Group Cayman Software developers. In fact I did a post on him back in 2011- “Wubble – the Cayman-made iPhone App and What’s next for the guy behind it” .
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 28th, 2013
FOR ENTREPRENEURS -Would you build a house without putting together a blueprint first? No. Similarly, an innovative idea needs a structured process to bring it to market. The business model is a blueprint for planning, and then building, an innovative enterprise. To assist professionals in creating new ventures, Stanford University will introduce a new online course, Building Business Models, in April. “What makes the difference between success in the lab and success in the marketplace is the business model which enables us to navigate the creative process in a structured way,” says faculty course director Haim Mendelson, professor of electronic business and commerce at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 26th, 2013
Kirk Lashley – Trinidadian Tech Entrepreneur
TRINIDAD-Though currently based in Chicago USA, working on this 5th startup WeDeliver.us, Kirk Lashley is always thinking about his home – Trinidad. In fact he plans to return there next year still running his startup and also there to help the Trinidadian and Caribbean Startup ecosystem to grow. It’s his passion. He has kicked off his road back home by being the lead organiser of Startup Weekend in Trinidad which takes place on May 22-24th, 2013 on the campus of the University of the West Indies.
Trinidad and Tobago Startup Weekend is the latest addition to the rash of Startup Weekend franchises that have emerged in the Caribbean over the past two years. Startup Weekend fever has so far caught on with Jamaica, Martinique, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and also Haiti.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 25th, 2013
BAHAMAS - Bahamalive.com the less than a year old Bahamian based startup that provides the service of live reporting Caribbean events by live blogging and live tweeting in addition to photographing Caribbean event lives online landed the gig of being the only official live blogging service for Carifita Games which will be help on March 29-April 1, in the Bahamas. Bahamalive.com is founded by Bahamian female tech entrepreneur Noelle Khalila Nicolls.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 21st, 2013
BARBADOS- Spearheaded by Shannon Clarke, Bajan Developer, the developer/tech meetup culture kicks off with a passionate start. He announced the third in the series of the developer/tech meetup date is set for March 25th & 26th, 2013.
Posted by Michele Marius on March 21st, 2013
The challenges of financing a start-up, and a tech start-up in particular, is a common lament across the Caribbean. Frequently this claim has also been a deterrent to many to develop their ideas and start a business. This post outlines six reasons why access to funding can be difficult in the region.
1. Not much funding is available
This is a cold hard fact. In addition to limited Venture Capital and few Angel Investors being available in the region, conventional financial institutions consider most tech operations as risky ventures. Start-ups might have a better chance of securing funding if they are working with more tangible products, than trading in services. Nevertheless, commercial lending rates, which tend to be exhorbitant, are normally applied, along with considerable collateral provisions, which a young entrepreneur might not readily have at his/her disposal.
2. The business model is not viable
Many tech businesses, especially those based on mobile applications, social media, or on developing a following, have been finding it challenging to develop viable business models. Traditionally, tech businesses built around websites generated revenue from advertisements (ads) placed on their sites.
However, based on the experience of wildly popular sites, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, profitability through advertising is not as easy as it seems. Hence, start-ups owners in particular, cannot afford to be naïve or complacent, believing that revenues from ads alone will be sufficient to cover their expenses. More rigorous thinking is necessary, which it is advised should be captured in a business plan, especially since preospective financiers – even Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists – would be more inclined to support a start-up that is likely to succeed.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 21st, 2013
ST KITTS - Fitzroy Edinborough is a lecturer at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFB) in St Kitts, and CEO of Muscovado. He has been trying to make a difference in the class room and I’m inclined to let him tell his story.
In the words of Mr. Fitzroy Edinborough: First things first, this is not a post about how much our education system needs to change; the speech by SVGCC’s Dr Warrican already spoke to that. Rather, this is a post about how much CAN be done within the existing system. Our students, given the little resources we have and the right amount of encouragement can produce great things. Keep reading to see how.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 20th, 2013
BARBADOS: A Barbadian software developer believes Government should pay more attention to mobile application development which is emerging as one of the strongest growth areas in information and communications technology (ICT) globally. Curtis Padmore, the chief executive officer and founder of West Apps (International) Inc., said Barbados’ ICT policy should be focusing much more on mobile development with incentives for software engineers.
“I think what’s really good and advantageous about Barbados . . . is that we are very well placed geographically and we’ve got a good infrastructure to help build upon to really become a tech hub. More
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 12th, 2013
Startup fever is beginning to make the Caribbean even hotter. First there was Martinique, now Jamaica and Trinidad is launching their Startup weekends in 2013. What is Startup Weekend? Startup Weekends are 54 hour events where developer, designers, marketers, product and business heads and aspiring entrepreneurs- come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. Yes all in a weekend!
Startup Weekend is an ideal space to find out if ideas are viable. By moving beyond having “great ideas”, participants are expected to create, craft and test a business strategy. Further, the “fail fast, succeed faster” mantra of Startup Weekend makes clear the critical role of agility to aspiring entrepreneurs.