We, the BrighTap team, were very proud to have been on stage at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Congress as a champion of the Startup Open competition, and as a presenter during the Startup Huddle demonstration. Receiving the award was a wonderful moment of significance for us. That excitement, the moments of glory, pride and serenity we experienced at the GEC are not always what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.
For us at BrighTap, being an entrepreneur means giving up a corporate paycheck, and taking a risk to implement our dreams. It is never easy – and always challenging – but it is an opportunity for us to change and improve the world.
For me, the GEC was the first time I have been to Johannesburg and to Africa. It is amazing to see a mass of people that are involved in entrepreneurship. They want to change and want to improve, and it doesn’t matter what region, what color of skin you have, or your religion – DNA for all entrepreneurs are the same.
At the GEC, we didn’t only have the opportunity to discuss entrepreneurship on stage, but we were also at the event to learn and to improve our network. Before leaving our country, BrighTap had announced its investment round, and we decided a goal was to participate and meet investors at the Congress.
So, we tried to pitch every opportunity we had, and the GEC team was very cooperative and supportive in helping facilitate those meetings. However, simply meeting investors is never enough. I think it was beneficial to begin connecting with others in advance – reaching out online to connect prior to the event and schedule meetings during the GEC.
During the event, myself and my co-founder participated in a variety of sessions and panel discussions that included valuable speakers. The schedule was very intensive. We found these sessions to be extremely interesting and relevant. One speaker, Daniel Isenberg, spoke about growth for entrepreneurs, and conditions for environments and ecosystems where entrepreneurs can thrive. From my point of view, it takes mentors, investors, collaborators and even corporate partners – or a combination of all of them – to see growth.
To conclude, the GEC was amazing experience – to be on the same stage with Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Jeff Hoffman, GEN board member, and Christopher Schroeder, author of “Startup Rising” – and to be interviewed in front of more than 2,500 people was scary, but was a truly wonderful experience.
There are two ways I think the Global Entrepreneurship Network and its community can further help entrepreneurs and continue to support the entrepreneurship community.
The first is through mentorship, and to bring more mentors into action before the Congress to provide entrepreneurs the chance to choose and engage with mentors and to ask relevant advice, as well to engage during and after the event through one-on-one discussions and a monthly review. The end of the conference should be only the beginning of the journey.
The second is to provide more opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet investors and to listen to their advice and pave the way for potential future opportunities.
Konstantin Berezin is co-founder of BrighTap, and the winner of the 2016 Startup Open competition, and a member of the GEN Starters Club.