Once again, we attended the 4YFN, the start-up fair from the Mobile World Congress. Last year, we won the Hack D Gap Global Challenge (4YFN & GSMA Women4Tech) award. This year, our CEO Sandra Arévalo served on the Women4Tech panel at the 4YFN: Scaling your Business for Success–a keynote bursting with talent, highlighting the key elements to successful business scaling.
Kimberly King, CEO of HumanTec & One Island Institute, led the panel and Princess Beatrice York, granddaughter of the Queen of England and Vice-President of Partnerships and Strategy in Afiniti, opened the discussion with an inspiring speech that touched upon the importance of upholding values, diversity and mission in any company.
She began her speech with what many women have come to experience:
“It wasn’t until I stepped into the labour market that I suddenly realised the role that women undertake in companies.”
Lastly, the princess ended by stating the key factors for successfully scaling a business:
- To have it clear that success not only lies in money, but also in building and upholding a company’s values and work culture throughout its growth
- We all have the opportunity to be the agent of change and we have to support one another in such endeavour.
- There still await much work to do, and that in and of itself is inspiring.
Afterwards, Mitra Best, Lead Lead, Strategic Innovation & Technology at PWC, spoke, explaining that her role is based on building the necessary technology to transform her company’s future. A leader with the soul of a businesswoman who strives to innovate every day within a large company. She also remarked about the difference between growth and scaling.
On one hand, growth concerns increasing invoicing whilst also expanding your expenses. On the other hand, scaling refers to increasing invoicing but without experiencing a rise in expenses, by which the margin thereby increases enormously. Within the last 10 years, we have witnessed the power of technology to scale the business, ie. robots in the industry or services which invoke a digital transformation.
During the panel, Sandra Arévalo recounted her experience not only as CEO of Wisar, but also as an angel investor. She stressed the importance of scalability in the eyes of an investor and how that potentially translates into reaping high profitability.
Next, the audience heard from Roberto Ascione, CEO of Healthware International; Betelhem Dessie, founder of iCog-Anyone Can Code; and Ute Konig-Stemmler, head of Business Development, Central Europe at Visa.
Roberto commented about how technology has changed, and will continue changing to offer a path towards scalability, with the caveat that a company uphold diversity and adhere to certain values.
Betelhem Dessie spoke about how she has been able to scale her business in Ethiopia. Her method has included creating an ideal environment for scalability, building up talent to favour such. Finally, Ute Konig-Stemmler commented upon the importance of creating partnerships to promote scalability.
To scale or not? Should all companies do it?
All of the panelists were in agreement that not all businesses needed to scale or be always prepared to do so, given that the product might not call for it. In fact, it is extremely important to find the best moment to scale. As Mitra Best stated:
“Remember that 75% of companies failed because they scaled their business models when they were still not ready to do so,”
Sandra Arévalo added that scaling is not necessary and there are 3 critical components that must be at hand in order for it to be successful:
- Money, which depends on entrepreneurs’ skill sets to attract investments
- Team, with talent, focus and expertise to meet the demand of a business specialised in high growth
- Speed, which allows for technology to give the needed push in a market
Furthermore, all the panelists agreed that diversity is fundamental in reaching the most expansive market possible, as well as that a company’s values and mission should breathe fully in an organisation–from its birth and during the stages of growth and scalability.
In closing, the panelists were in favour of integrating more flexible ways of working, including remote teams and external collaborators. All of this would be to both accompany growth with a cost-efficient structure, and assure access to the best talent pool, overcoming geographic obstacles which favour diversity.
Would you like to hear more about the benefits of flexible working to succesfully scale your startup? Feel free to contact us.
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