Entrepreneurship advice from Virgin StartUp -- Think globally, deploy locally

As a global agricultural investment firm with a focus on raising capital to support agtech companies, TerraProtein Equity Partners interacts with many entrepreneurs in various corners of the world. At an event hosted by the University of New England's Smart Regional Incubator, we heard from Ian Mason, a co-founder of Virgin StartUp, Richard Branson’s social enterprise developed to support entrepreneurs. Here's what we learnt.

An entrepreneur and economist, Ian Mason recently embarked on his eleventh startup journey as CEO of Rainbow Bridge Education, a company he founded to create accessible resources for parents across the world to use in the home learning environment. From his childhood business of marketing broken dog toys in his grandmother’s shop, to supporting more than 11,000 entrepreneurs with over £35 million during his time at Virgin StartUp, Mason understands the world of entrepreneurship.

At an event held recently in Armidale, Australia, Mason encouraged all entrepreneurs to search for the commonalities across the globe, to digest their findings and focus on local operations with an international mindset, whilst reminding the audience to not see borders as barriers, rather opportunities to find these commonalities.

In the Q&A portion of the evening, Mason discussed some key ingredients for fundraising and offered four items to remember.

  • If you want cash tomorrow, it's probably not going to happen. The search for funding should begin six months before you require it.
  • When you raise cash, have cash. Investors want to know your focus is on meeting your vision, not making ends meet.
  • Know your financial needs and key timelines. You need to have a strong grasp of when you want the cash and how much you need.
  • Ability to articulate is vital. Securing funding is less about having a perfect financial model and more about outlining how the funding will allow you to reach your vision.

As the evening wrapped up with networking, the room buzzed with discussion on how to synthesise and incorporate Mason’s business theory into their own businesses.

TerraProtein encourages current and future operators in the agtech field to think globally about the future of their enterprises and investment sources, and to take those thoughts into daily operations. And, as Mason reiterates, we too believe that adopting a global mindset from the outset can help drive entrepreneurs to successfully scale a business venture internationally.

Article by TerraProtein Equity Partners analyst, Luke Stark.

Pictured: Ian Mason speaking at University of New England’s Smart Regional Incubator


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