Gamble, but don’t bet against yourself
Risk and failure are a vital part of developing businesses, but how can we help the chips fall in the favour of Underestimated Founders™?
“Failure is fabulous. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. And there’s nothing better than learning powerful lessons from failure.” — Julie Angus, Open Ocean Robotics Founder
I had my opening exposition to this article planned. On why failing is an important part of any person’s journey, let alone our Underestimated Founders™, but then I thought – this has been said before and more succinctly. You can read Julie Angus’ full spotlight on meeting the moment here, but stay with me for a moment.
There are many different ways to view failure. I truly believe that falling and getting back up again, and again, and again; the learning that comes from failure outweighs the immediate pain is worth it. And at the same time, in the UK alone, it’s estimated 20% of businesses fail within their first year, and 60% in the first three. There are quite literally millions of articles on the stats and reasons for this, but being able to fail should be key to any developing business – yet how can founders avoid the expectations of failure that are already set for them?
Let’s switch this around. Underestimated Founders™ have already met with situations where there has been no choice to get back up when you fall at the first or fiftieth hurdle. And almost all will come up against the lack of funding. In my last article I spoke of the industrial gaslighting that is constantly faced, and this subject came up again in our second newsletter where I shared a guide for Underestimated Founders on the signs to look out for. We need to keep highlighting the fact that there isn’t an issue with the pipeline of opportunities for VCs – it’s just a problem with where and how funds are allocated.
As much as I could share all the facts and figures on what funding looks like from the inside/out, who is behind the decisions and where the chips fall, I’ll stick to one example instead. Last week saw yet another report come out but this time it’s shining a light on how the UK economy can expand by supporting ethnic minority businesses to tackle the barriers they face – particularly in accessing finance, markets and quality business support. The bottom line of this report is this action could increase their GVA contribution from the current £25 billion a year to £100 billion.
Every decision we make, as business leaders, founders, investors, has some inherent risk attached to it. But by not taking the leap of faith with Underestimated Founders™, we are gambling against ourselves as much as them.
Yesterday saw our first virtual pitch event, the incredible culmination of the first cohort of the “100 second pitch” class we have run with the education arm of Diversity X - Pitch Dojo. A partnership formed with Ilaria Vilkelis and Robert Vilkelis of Masters of Impact, has made this four-week series possible, and I’m so proud of the nine founders who took part. I’ll be sharing more news on the successes from this event in my next article.
This is just the first step in the long road towards breaking down barriers and creating access to capital opportunities for Underestimated Founders™, so what action needs to be applied now you’ve read this?
If you are a founder who identifies as underestimated, I’d love you to join our community. Until the Diversity X vision is achieved, the mission is to have the world’s biggest community of Underestimated Founders™. Just another founder group? Nope - this is a community first - a safe place where we celebrate and support each other.
If you are an angel from an underrepresented background, then let’s chat about how we can work together. If you run a syndicate or group and are focused on building networks of angel investors who are women, people of colour, or LGBTQ, then let’s collaborate - we need to work in unison because together we are stronger.
If you are a UHNWI, HNWI, or family office, then I’d love to share more colour about how Diversity X intends to support Underestimated Founders™.
You can follow the Diversity X journey via Substack here, and please reach out with any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published on Medium by Diversity X