The people behind The Big Start
UthMag goes behind the scenes in order to get into the action and understand; who are the people responsible for “The Big Start”. Over the next few weeks, UthMag will be interviewing all the panelists, that are responsible for mentoring the contestants; so that you know what’s in store. Before you make your decision to enter your “Big Idea” into “The Big Start”, have a quick read!
This week we present Rachael Wunsh, the woman that is incharge at Al Tamimi Investments. We sat down with C.E.O to understand exactly what’s in store.
Name: Rachael Wunsch
As private equity investors our analysts are in the business of assessing the feasibility of business plans. In our experience we have seen that the personal skills of an entrepreneur are as important as the business idea itself. For a start-up, the business landscape is extremely competitive and it is not enough to just have a great business idea.
The most significant attribute is the passion of the individual. One can’t become an entrepreneur if they’re not passionate about their idea. This genuine enthusiasm should be evident in all the presentations that an aspiring entrepreneur makes – whether it is sharing the idea informally, or doing a formal presentation to a panel of potential investors.
Confidence is another trait that we look for. An entrepreneurial journey is not without its ups and downs and an individual must be able to withstand criticism, skepticism and opposition from various people along the way; potentially even failure. If you are someone who loses confidence quickly, it will be very difficult to get through the challenging start-up phase.
Focus, diligence and perseverance are also very important for an entrepreneur. It is not enough to have a brilliant idea if you cannot apply yourself to deliver it. We look for all of these qualities in the students that undertake our Big Start competition as they help every entrepreneur to persevere through their start-up years.
2- Where do you see The Big Start headed in the next five years?
In the next five years, we definitely aim to work more closely with universities to incorporate the Big Start into their curriculums and enable an even larger audience to access the skills and value that the initiative offers. The Big Start provides an invaluable framework for the establishment of start-up businesses and we believe it has the potential to be included in final year university studies to prepare entrepreneurs of the future.
We are also aim to extend this initiative to the wider Middle East region and expand the board of final judges by some of the most respected businessmen and entrepreneurs in the region.
3- What according to you primarily determines why so many startups fail, and why some succeed?
Start-ups can succeed or fail for numerous reasons. Some could be beyond the entrepreneur’s control and some can be well within their control. One of the most common reasons why start-ups fail soon after launching is because they have not fully or correctly estimated the various aspects of their business at the beginning. This is why we take students through a business plan phase where they are trained and mentored to create effective business plans, understand their financials and be prepared for the business to take off.
4- What is the biggest risk you’ve had to take in your career?
Moving and working in Taiwan. It was extremely challenging but rewarding working in an environment where you do not speak the business language. Learning to manage and motivate a team with varying communication style.
5- How many years have you been in the industry for?
6 years Private equity/ Venture capital and 15 years corporate experience
6- Can you tell us about your educational qualifications? Any vocational/other training you undertook?
Business degree from a college in Australia.
7- Who has been the most influential person/mentor to have played a role in the shaping of your career?
Essam Al Tamimi, Hard-working, focused individual who does not accept no for an answer. The secret of success.
8- What is the most important advice you would give a young entrepreneur?
Find yourself a business mentor or coach – someone that you trust will give you an honest and unbiased view of your business. You can expect to be working on your new venture day and night in the start-up years, so having an independent go-to person that understands your business can provide you with a much needed sanity check along the way.
9- If one were faced with the dilemma of need-of-the-hour vs. ethics in business, how would you (personally, OR) advise them tackle them.
The growth of a business is driven by its core values. It is extremely important for any business, regardless of its size, to have these defined right at the inception of the company. These values influence and should determine all other procedures and business practices of the company and ultimately, define a company’s culture and business ethics. So when faced with a dilemma, an entrepreneur should not make an exception to the ethics that lay the foundation of the business. It may be a tough choice but it is one that will work in the long run and help him or her to make many difficult decisions in the future.
So what do you think?? Enough to make your mind?? No?? We thought so.. Be sure to come back next week for another interview with a panelist that tells all..
Until then, get back to that drawing board!
For now, check out this video that explains exactly what “The Big Deal” about “The Big Start” is..