As an entrepreneur, one must take on responsibility of one’s own communities and become a role model for future entrepreneurs. For that purpose, the DigiCenter hosted a virtual meeting for interested community members to talk about failures and role models because these topics do often not get the necessary attention. However, every entrepreneur faces them at some point. So let’s talk about them!

With this in mind, the online event Key Elements of Entrepreneurship was born. The event was moderated by Alicia Mugabo from the DigiCenter and Mafer Betancourt from Impact Hub Kigali. This online session opened the discussion for Rwandan entrepreneurs about the importance of role models and success and failure stories. The panel consisted of different Rwandan entrepreneurs from different private sector companies like DMM.HeHe, Yummy n Fresh, BAG Innovation, Exuus and ISG Advisory.

Why role models are important

38 participants joined the Key Elements for Entrepreneurship online event. The session started with questions concerning role models and the impact these can have on an individual’s journey as an entrepreneur. Putting that into consideration, the panelists explained why role models are very important starting with Shema who mentioned that the idea of role models is overrated. He shared that when people try and mimic their role models, they lose their sense of originality and depth. He added, however, that having a role model is a good thing and helps people gain a sense of direction by following in an individual’s footsteps. Pearl and Yussouf then responded that it is important to have a role model in the form of a person or a business that one can look up to while running one’s own.
Additionally, the female panelists were asked if there were any differences in terms of accessing female and male role models. Pearl and Clarisse responded that there are indeed some differences because of the lower number of female entrepreneurs. This is especially true for the tech sector. Having said that, Clarisse mentioned that she hopes that she is one of the people paving the way and setting an example for other women.
In conclusion to this topic, Philip stated that entrepreneurs should know and understand what their role models have achieved. With this in mind, they are able to follow in their footsteps while being able to analyze past mistakes in order to not repeat them.

Understanding and embracing failures

On the topic of failure, all panelists agreed that failure is often swept under the rug. Moreover, it is very important not only for entrepreneurs but people in general to acknowledge their failures. Consequently, Pearl, Philip, and Clarisse spoke about how big businesses motivate entrepreneurs when they take the initiative to talk about the difficulties they have faced. Yussouf emphasized the point that failure is part of a company’s culture, and it is okay to make mistakes.

All panelists used the opportunity to share an experience of failure in their journey as an entrepreneur. They all concluded that they learned along the way that it is okay to fail; adding that one’s failure should teach and not discourage him/her. Philip even mentioned that one should start a business with the plan to fail, knowing that things will not always go as planned. However, he encouraged entrepreneurs that there is nothing wrong with failure, even when one has to go down the entire alphabet before achieving success.
In conclusion, the panelists agreed that it is very beneficial to be a mentor to employees and peers. They acknowledged that they would not be where they are if they did not have someone to help them. Furthermore, they agreed that they are satisfied with the amount of support and help from the ecosystem these days.

Motivating others to speak about role models and failures

To wrap it up, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to answer questions from the audience. In his closing statement, Shema encouraged entrepreneurs to do a better job at documenting their journeys to help new entrepreneurs. Additionally, Pearl and Philip emphasized that one should not rush into making big investments as a starting entrepreneur. Both encouraged entrepreneurs to pay attention to their targeted market and on how to engage with customers.
All of the panelists did a wonderful job and gave some very insightful information about the importance of having role models. In addition, they stated the importance of sharing stories of success and failure and how those elements can impact the journey of an entrepreneur.

The Key Elements of Entrepreneurship is only one of the many activities we do at the DigiCenter. If you would like to get to know more about our solutions or events, get in touch with us and follow us on Social Media.

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