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‘Entrepreneurs have to push past inevitable failure and learn from mistakes’

From finding the right mentor to remaining resilient, China Soribe discusses what she has learned about entrepreneurship from her time at Wayflyer and starting her own business.

China Soribe is an operations manager at Wayflyer, Ireland’s latest tech unicorn that gives e-commerce companies the insights and funds they need for growth. She is also an e-commerce entrepreneur herself as co-founder and CEO of Umoja Linn, an online marketplace for Afrocentric fashion brands.

Soribe will be a mentor at the Techstars Startup Weekend Women Dublin, an online event taking place this weekend to help women turn start-up ideas into a reality. Over three days, participants will work together and hear from mentors, investors and sponsors including Wayflyer.

‘My advice for entrepreneurs is to find a committed mentor who will guide and challenge you’

What experience do you have with start-ups or entrepreneurship?

I’ve been very fortunate to not only gain hands-on experience in founding and building a business with Umoja Linn but to also work with a second start-up, Wayflyer.

My role at Umoja Linn is quite extensive. My responsibilities include monitoring of the market landscape and developments, strategic planning and implementation to meet both short- and long-term goals, and ensuring the business stays true to its vision and mission as we grow.

I initially joined Wayflyer as an investment risk analyst and progressed to my current role as an operations manager. As a risk analyst, I investigated e-commerce businesses seeking funding and decided whether or not to provide them with funding based on the level of risk. This entailed assessment of the businesses’ online presence, their management accounts and speaking to the founders and chief officers.

In my current role as operations manager, I am part of an amazing team that owns the process and operational strategy around Wayflyer’s core product.

In your opinion, which areas of science and technology hold the greatest scope for opportunities?

Top on my list has to be the life sciences industry in Ireland. As a biomedical engineering student in Galway, I became very aware of the strong and ever-growing presence of big corporations such as Pfizer, Allergan, Medtronic and many more. With sectors such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and diagnostics growing, Ireland is fast becoming a key player in this space and is already one of the largest exporters of pharmaceuticals globally.

It would be a crime not to also mention the remarkable opportunities in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

What are the qualities of a good founder? Are good entrepreneurs born or can they be made?

Ambition, confidence, positivity and resilience are essential qualities for a good founder.

To dream big and continuously work towards new goals and scale, one needs ambition and drive. Self-confidence and belief in your vision are also must-haves. A founder has to be confident and contagiously positive to sell her or his vision to potential teammates and stakeholders. Most important is the resilience to push past inevitable failure and learn from mistakes.

I believe good entrepreneurs can be made as they can develop the aforementioned qualities through certain life experiences.

What does a successful entrepreneur need to do every day? What tools and resources are a must?

A successful entrepreneur needs to have a checklist to help with organisation and maintaining focus. As you become more successful, you find that more distractions crop up. I find that writing out to-do lists help with prioritisation and making sure you are focused on the main goal – and not distracted by tasks that could be avoided or reassigned to other teammates.

You also need to maintain a strong network of support and mentors that you listen to, receive reliable feedback and learn from.

What is the critical ingredient to start-up success?

I believe a clear vision, a strong, multifaceted team, a quality product or service that solves a problem, and timing are critical ingredients to start-up success.

How can founders assemble a good team?

Assembling a great team is critical to start-up success and should never be compromised. The best way to build a team of aligned members is by actively expanding your network, talking passionately about your goals and winning the right people over with your love and believe in the vision.

What advice do you have for founders who are starting to look for investment?

Talk to your network, seek advice and attend events. Also make sure to explore your options, weighing out the pros and cons for each type of investment. Be it equity funding from angel investors or revenue-based financing from Wayflyer.

The head of funding at Wayflyer, Mark Corballis, gives invaluable advice in this article on equity funding dos and don’ts.

What are the biggest mistakes that founders make?

Trying to achieve too much at the same time and ending up achieving nothing due to split focus.

What are your views on mentorship and the qualities one should look for in a mentor?

The right mentor is an invaluable asset and accelerator of one’s success. This is why I absolutely adore the mentorship opportunity being provided in the Techstars Startup Weekend Women Dublin being organised by YourY Network.

When looking for a mentor, you should look for someone who will hold you accountable, has the time to commit to your mentorship, and has relevant experience you can learn from.

What’s the number-one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?

My advice for entrepreneurs is to find a committed mentor who will guide and challenge you, and also to maintain focus on the vision and remain resilient when faced with failure.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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