For many years, the West has been a good source of inspiration for Southeast Asia’s growing startups. But if this year’s Echelon proved something, it is that Southeast Asian entrepreneurs have amazing insights to share and they have begun earnestly telling them.
Here at e27, we are not simply just telling the Southeast Asian startup story. We have also given ourselves the responsibility of creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to have a story to tell.
Empowering entrepreneurs with the tools to build and grow their companies is both mission and ethos; the very reason that e27 exists. Everything we do, whether online or offline, goes back to this.
The mission is our boss, and on account of this, we bring you e27 Academy.
In a nutshell, e27 Academy is a three-day learning programme that is designed to help aspiring and early-stage startup founders solve the problems they are facing as they start building their companies and navigating the ecosystem.
This is not an article that would tell you WHAT will happen during e27 Academy. This is an article that will tell you WHY e27 Academy is something that we need to do.
Aspiring and early-stage startup founders need all the help they can get – and they could do with much more support
There is an abundance of learning materials for companies who are scaling; founders who have successfully regionalised their companies have become stellar examples for others to follow, and are generally asked to talk about their growth story in conferences and events.
What is remarkably scarce are learning resources that show aspiring and early-stage startup founders how to actually build their business properly during the early phases. Conferences rarely – if ever – talk about things like corporate taxes or hiring or good mental health or even what a CEO should focus on during the first year; knowledge that can only be accessed through intimate engagement with founders who had experienced it and going through the process of starting a company.
This missing layer of support is what e27 Academy aims to provide.
We are going back to our roots by creating an opportunity for aspiring and early-stage founders to get the help that they need, from the people best qualified to help them.
e27 Academy will not be about some Silicon Valley founder dispensing high-level advice. It will be about having access to mentors who have scaled all across Southeast Asia – a hyper localised programme that is highly relevant for founders who are still at the beginning of their journey.
We are focusing on regionally relevant content (Southeast Asia), tailored to the company-building challenges faced by early stage startups
A strong community makes better Founders
We strongly believe in Founders support Founders.
The startup founder life is not for everyone and most founders usually experience a disconnect from family and friends who cannot relate to their experiences. Founders need to connect with other founders to help them take comfort in the knowledge that their challenges are not unique to them – that there are people who understand what they are facing.
But the value of establishing a relationship with peers goes beyond the relief that there are people who understand. Shared experiences lead to shared knowledge, and a community of founders who learn from each other are better equipped to go through the hardest parts of their journey than those who go at it alone.
Yes, e27 Academy is a learning program. But it is not just about gaining new knowledge; it is also about contributing your own. It is about founders putting themselves in an environment where they are focussed on listening and learning from other people. It is about founders learning to step away from their companies and looking at what they do from a different lens.
More than anything, e27 Academy is a community that aspires to make the founder’s journey a little less lonely, to facilitate shared learning, and to ultimately lead to better founders.
For the region to succeed, no one should get left behind
A founder’s role in the ecosystem does not end when their company has achieved whichever marker for success they have chosen for it. It is important to give back – ecosystems thrive when there is a mutualistic relationship between its members.
We endeavour to help the ecosystem grow together as a whole. The more we help, the more we alleviate the pain points, the more we are able to help accelerate the growth of early-stage startups and the ecosystem as a whole.
e27 Academy is the holistic experience of learning and connecting, where founders learn from trial and error, where they work with their peers to address shared challenges, and where they share insights with mentors who are not only willing to share their experiences but, most importantly, to coach founders in solving their problems.
Because it is not enough for one or ten startups to be extraordinary. It is not enough for just several entrepreneurs to succeed. One exceptional founder does not change the world. A strong community of founders, on the other hand, have the power to break new ground.
At the end of the day, we believe that it is time for Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to take on the global stage and that, from the accomplished to the aspiring, it is the founders who will lead the charge. Best be equipped.
e27 Academy happens on 28-30 November 2018. RSVP today to get updates.