Hello friend --
November is entrepreneurship month!
Last year, President Obama proclaimed November as National Entrepreneurship Month. That means that during this time of year, we celebrate and support the next generation of dreamers and do-ers, including more than 300 of our own startup entrepreneurs at Bixel Exchange. To mark this occasion, each week throughout the month of November we will highlight one entrepreneur (via our social media accounts) that exemplifies the spirit and innovation of an entrepreneur. Follow along and get inspired!
Computer science students paid a visit from special guest lecturers
Students enrolled in a computer science course at Pierce College got a special treat last Monday when a small team of Snap software engineers played guest lecturers for the day. The students -- part of the Los Angeles High Impact Information Technology, Entertainment & Entrepreneurship, and Communications Hubs (LA HI-TECH) regional consortium -- were tested on their web development skills, having been tasked with creating a technically sound website, while employing their own self-created digital avatar (aka bitmoji). Students will present their final projects in December to a panel of Snap engineers.
The fablab of dreams opens at the La Kretz Innovation Campus
A digital prototyping lab, welding and finishing shop, electronics lab, 3D printers, a textile shop and more … these things would even make Tony Stark jealous. But now, anyone can access this inventory of $10 million state-of-the-art prototyping tools at the new Advanced Prototyping Center at downtown Los Angeles’ new La Kretz Innovation Campus. Through the end of November, APC is offering steep membership package discounts – up to 50 percent off regular rates. What will you make today?
Spotlight on …
... Sky Kelley, whose company Avisare, an online B2B marketplace, was just named as one of the newest portfolio companies at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator! Kelley talks about what core factors are essential to an entrepreneur's success.
How do you make your business a success? It’s a simple question with a loaded response. Entrepreneurs are a special breed of people. We’re risk-takers, innovators and people who have a dream that things can be done better, and have the drive to make it so. What I’ve found spending my adult life studying entrepreneurship (designing my own major in college to do so and working now on my second startup after having a successful exit with the first) is that there are really two factors that have the most impact on whether or not you will be successful.
First, create something that people actually want. After speaking with several venture capitalists, I know there are many entrepreneurs pitching products that don't solve a problem. No, I don’t hate it when I’m not the first to know how to get to the next level of Dungeons and Dragons, thankyouverymuch. For me (and the vast majority of the world), that’s not a real problem. Find real world problems that affect large quantities of people and come up with better ways to solve them. Being a black, female entrepreneur I know there is no shortage of real world problems. However, it takes diverse perspectives to intimately understand those problems and come up with solutions that would work. That is why diversity in entrepreneurship is so important.
The second most important factor is the extent and impact of your social network. You don’t have to have the best network starting out (although that definitely helps) but you do need to quickly establish a network of support that can provide access to: capital, clients, brand ambassadors, mentors, sponsors, etc. You need people who will vouch for you and buy into what you are selling, which -- at the start -- is your vision. Being part of an incubator/accelerator like Bixel Exchange helps broaden and deepen your network immediately and can provide that much-needed support to set your business on the right path at the onset. Diversity in Bixel Exchange entrepreneurs means that generally underrepresented groups are getting more access to these all-important networks to help their businesses succeed.
Being a part of a trusted network gives you something else that is invaluable: guidance. My Bixel advisor, Craig Wilson, has helped me in the area I needed help the most: start-up valuation and long-term cap table planning. Even second-time entrepreneurs need help, and without his guidance I could have made costly mistakes. Networking with other entrepreneurs also helps to avoid common pitfalls and collectively makes us all smarter. That’s what we provide at Avisare. At Avisare, we are focusing on the needs of the diverse business community and bringing large corporations together with diverse business owners to become a part of their supply chain. But we are using our network to create the Avisare network.
I'm proud to support and be a part of Bixel Exchange and wish all my fellow Bixel entrepreneurs success in their journey.
Until we sync again,