Can Anyone Be an Entrepreneur? (NEF Speaker Event #1)

On reflection, I didn’t come away with a definitive answer to this. But that’s no bad thing I think, as it was nonetheless an intellectually stimulating few hours.

The panelists at Wayra

The panelists at Wayra


I was chatting to some people about the advice that is often given at panel events like these. And there definitely seems to be some common threads that come out from the answers.

Maybe this is because after attending a few, there are only certain points that can be made, and so naturally there becomes repetition. The best events are those that give you something you weren’t expecting, or rather simply something that didn’t know.

It is testament to the panel and (see previous post) the astuteness of the audience that meant Thursday evening yielded some noteworthy answers.


Those that stand out from my Evernote entry are:

  • If you’re doing something new in an industry; embrace competition. A lot of the early work is done on convincing the customers to change their behaviour. This can be difficult when riding solo, and so if other companies can be doing the same, don’t get too defensive.
  • Actively hire entrepreneurs, and be open that they will leave in a year or so. Having that impetus and attitude is important beyond just the Founding Team.
  • Once you’ve taken the plunge, you might well get very passionate about what you do. Brett Akker talked of in depth discussions about cardboard boxes…


The other messages that came from the talk were by no means irrelevant nor unimportant, but I feel I have covered them in previous posts. I’d like to save you the repetition.

It seems that the more you hear a message (stay close to your customers, trust your gut, it needs to be fun…), the more it becomes solidified, and eventually settles in your bank of “common knowledge”.

It’s therefore particularly interesting when some piece of advice/ information pierces through this bank of information.

Have you recently heard some advice that you weren’t expecting?



Here are the panelists in case you’re interested

Simon Devonshire, Director new business ventures, WAYRA Europe
Brett Akker, co-founder and Chairman, LoveSpace
Demetrios Zoppos, co-founder, onefinestay
Giles Brook, Founding Partner, BEAR & CEO Vita Coco – Europe
Sahar Hashemi OBE, co-founder, Coffee Republic & Skinny Candy