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5 Key Takeaways from #Founderfest2018 + the road to #Startup54

Founderfest 2018

#Founderfest2018 was a whirlwind of inspiration, lightbulb moments and high energy.

Around 120 of London’s young entrepreneurs, business leaders and the brightest start-ups joined us at KPMG’s Headquarters in Canary Wharf for what was our biggest start up festival of the year. What were your best bits? Here are a few of mine:

Bayo Adelaja Founder of Do It Now Now Africa, a social enterprise that is helping businesses grow, began with her session entitled ‘Turning your passion into action’. With an infectious energy and notable enthusiasm, Bayo set the tone for the rest of the day.

“Lean into what you love.”


Next, Junior Ogunyemi Speaker and serial entrepreneur took to the stage to deliver ‘How to pitch your business idea with style’.

It was clear that his message for the entrepreneurs in the audience didn’t fall on hard ears as his offer for a personal one-on-one session ended with a bidding war amongst the audience. Junior left £50 richer but were sure our audience left with their own gems…

“To do something new, you must become someone new.”


Here at Foundervine, we don’t believe in just talking at you but in providing the space to put your skills and/or ideas to the test.

And that's what we did - in between our sessions some of our entrepreneurs signed up to pitch their ideas to the rest of the audience who provided on the spot feedback.

Moreover, whilst our sessions and panel discussions were underway, attendees had the opportunity to receive one on one advice from Gary McPherson and Laith Wallace from Digitive. These private sessions gave our entrepreneurs an opportunity to bounce their ideas off experts in a relaxed and informal setting.

“I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the 'Startup Soapbox’ and pitching the @YoungandGiving_ vision to the audience.” - Adeseye Lawal-Solarin, Founder of Young and Giving.

Young & Giving is a social enterprise that connects young adults aged 18-25 from underrepresented backgrounds with mentors in competitive industries.

In case you missed it I’ve summarised the many highlights of the day into just 5 key takeaways:

5 Key Takeaways from Foundervine 2018

1. "Who are you talking to?"

This was a point that was mentioned by a few of our speakers throughout the day.

Knowing and understanding your target audience will enable you to deliver your product/ service in the most appropriate way and avoid unnecessary misjudgements.

Brand Marketing Consultant, Naomi Olueye noted that knowing your target audience was “key to building a cohesive online brand image” as an early stage business, whilst David Fisayo Manager at KPMG urged entrepreneurs to “get feedback from the RIGHT audience!”

2. "What is your problem?"

Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems. However, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day of running a business and forget about its very core. Therefore it remains important to consider this question throughout your business journey. At the early stage of app development David reminded us that “Technology is just an enabler - a means to an end. How is it solving a problem?”

“Think: is this a problem that the world has or is this just a problem that I want to solve?” Gary McPherson, Co-Founder of Digitive

“You need to have a STRONG and FOCUSED customer profile. This will allow people to buy in to you.” Bayo Adelaja, Founder of Do It Now Now

3. "There is value in the grind"

It's easy to get lost in the glitz and glam of running your own business or even feel the pressure of being be at a place you are not just yet. Whilst many of our speakers and panelists had success stories to share, there was a focus on the ‘grind’ and lows that we don't usually see or hear about! Our keynote speaker Ronke Lawal, Founder of Ariatu PR put it perfectly when she said

“You have to be ready to deal with the ORDINARY every single day in your business - everyone wants to see the EXTRAordinary results and not the ordinary work that goes into it!”

“As an entrepreneur you’re designed to do something that is inconvenient - you’ve got to have a backbone - be persistent” Rodney Appiah, Early Stage Investor at Foresight Group

4. "What is your story?"

Part of building your brand on and offline is about sharing your story. Who are you? How did you get here? Why are you here? The importance of telling your story was reiterated throughout the course of the day starting with Bayo who urged entrepreneurs to know their ‘sob story’ “you need to tell your story - this will allow you to begin to build a relationship with your potential audience.”

5. "Community is key"

You’ll need to take others on your journey with you. Ensure you are taking the right people - at the right time. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place so seeking complimentary and beneficial partners, mentors and communities is key to a successful journey.

“Think about the nature of your team. Investors want to see a broad base of talent.”

“Understand what season of your journey you are - act accordingly and get the right people around you” Dirk Bischof (@_startupninja_)

The road to Startup 54

So whats next? We are taking our community to the next step.

On 25th May - 27th May we will be launching Startup 54 – an inclusive 3 day start up hackathon taking your idea to reality. Startup 54 will provide the ideal environment to build an idea into a successful social enterprise or digital start up.

You will be given the tools: expert mentoring, keynote addresses, team building to create and build your business in just 54 hours!

First up it’s our social enterprise hackathon. Are you a change maker? An aspiring social entrepreneur with a cause? Apply here:

See you there!

Annette is a financial consultant by day and blogger by night. On her blog she focuses on African business, entrepreneurship and development

and regularly interviews young African entrepreneurs about their ventures relating to the continent. She is passionate about diversity in the start up space and building communities to support this.


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