Disruption. We are weary of the term. But that hasn’t by any means diminished its potency when wielded by scrappy entrepreneurs in their pitch decks, or the dread of it when encountered by corporate strategists in their forecasts.
Somehow we’ve come to accept that in this brave new world, the old will get slaughtered by the young, the old swallowed up by the new. Goliath gets slaughtered by David. But Entrepreneur Country Global’s version of how the popular Bible tale ends is different. “David and Goliath must dance”, says Julie Meyer, the founder of the U.K based network.
Like a religious mantra, this quirky phrase is one you’ll encounter a lot in Entrepreneur Country events and literature. The network’s main premise is that the synergies of the future will come from great entrepreneur-led startups interfacing with large, established enterprises, providing greater distribution to the former, and increased revenues plus enhanced strategic positions to the latter.
Launched in the U.K, Entrepreneur Country’s ambitions are global, and the network has established chapters in more than 20 countries. The idea is to get the entrepreneurs in each locale to become “citizens”. The benefits? They get to plug into EC’s global network of investors and corporate behemoths looking for interesting opportunities to back and strategic partnerships. Entrepreneur Country itself is tightly affiliated to Ariadne Capital, a venture capital firm Julie Meyer founded in 2000.
The Entrepreneur Country network launched officially in Nigeria last week Friday. Prior to the launch, I had an email chat with Nkiru Asika, EC’s regional partner in Nigeria, and Amit Pau, Director EntrepreneurCountry and Ariadne Capital, to discuss their Nigerian plans.
TechCabal: Why Lagos/Nigeria? Why now?
EC: Corporates in Nigeria have realised the value of innovation and its importance to their growth. We have been championing this for years, and with our knowledge and expertise want to connect them to the worlds best digital companies who would help them lead the next wave of advancement.
Equally the Entrepreneur Country community is very vibrant, and we are convinced – just as we have in the past – that we will continue to identify and nurture great game changers and help accelerate their growth.
At what stage would you say the interest is currently at? Initial reconnaissance or is there active investment intent at play?
Our community consists of venture capitalists, ultra high net-worth individuals, family offices, leading corporate brands, and serial entrepreneurs who back upcoming entrepreneurs and mentor them, and all these are ready to invest. To give you an idea, here is a list of investor members in our Ariadne Capital fund.
What kinds of startups and entrepreneurs are you looking to attract / invest in?
We are focused on digital game-changers who would redefine the ecosystem and economics of the business. As we have seen from our local chapters in South Africa, Poland and others, each country has it’s own set of challenges which define the products coming out of the ecosystem tailored to benefit the local populace and beyond. We would like to work with and help such startups/entrepreneurs attain new heights of success.
Could you describe what form the engagement and local presence of Entrepreneur Country Nigeria will take?
Entrepreneur Country Nigeria will engage entrepreneurs, investors and corporates through thought-leadership, networking opportunities, a global discovery platform and strategic advisory to corporates on how to leverage digital technology and applications to enhance their competitive growth. For entrepreneurs and investors keen to keep up with global and local trends and to read top analysis of the global digital ecosystem, we encourage them to become part of the Entrepreneur Country community. This is simply registering as a citizen on the Entrepreneur Country Nigeria website, which is the first step to us getting to know you.
Members of our community will receive: insightful email digests, invitations to exclusive Entrepreneur Country events, the opportunity to participate in upcoming global discovery initiatives and other benefits of being part of this fast-growing global entrepreneurial community.
Entrepreneur Country emphasizes the value of networks. How will you bring this to bear in practical terms, in Nigeria?
Our vision is supported by various high profile events which connects entrepreneurs to corporates, venture capitalists and fellow entrepreneurs including the Entrepreneur Country Forum in which will be a biannual gathering of the entrepreneurial community, David and Goliath Dinners four times a year and more.
More information is available on the Entrepreneur Country Nigeria website.