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Dive into the unknown

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Meet some of the speakers who’ll share their wisdom at #LEAP23, and delve into the insights behind keynotes from #LEAP22.

Here’s our weekly pick of inspiring quotes from LEAP contributors. Meet some of the speakers who’ll share their wisdom at #LEAP23, and delve into the insights behind keynotes from #LEAP22.

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This week we’re quoting…

Laurie Fuller (Venture Partner at Raiven Capital)

What Fuller said:

“As women we have to remind ourselves that we’re in a continual state of learning throughout our entire lives. So we should really embrace the idea that we will be working on something where we won’t know everything at the start.” 

Context, please?

Sure. Fuller was talking about how female entrepreneurs can overcome the barriers they face in getting startups off the ground. 

One such barrier, she said, is that women are less likely to take an opportunity if they don’t have 100% of the knowledge or experience required to make it work. 

Fuller cited research by Hewlett Packard that found men will apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications for that role, but women will often only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications for a role. 

“Why is that?” Fuller asked; “One of the findings is that men will look at a role and think, what is the minimal amount that I need to know and be capable of – realising that once they start the job they can learn as they do it. And women obviously aren’t thinking the same way.” 

So, when approaching a job role or a startup idea (or any opportunity really), Fuller urged women to ask themselves what’s the minimum they need to know. Give yourself permission to learn as you go and dive into things you haven’t done before, and to make mistakes – because at the end of the day, that’s how you’ll gain that knowledge and experience. And if you wait, you’ll miss the opportunity. 

What’ve you got to lose?

Here are a few numbers for you:

  • In the US, 31% of small business or franchise owners are women, and the female entrepreneurial activity rate is 13.6%
  • Women make up 50% of entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • In South Asia, less than 20% of entrepreneurs are female. 
  • Businesses that are owned and/or run by women create direct employment for around 27 million people in India. 

And…

  • In 2019, the percentage of VC deals that went to female-led startups in the US was just 3%. In some sectors it’s even lower – women have raised just 1% of fintech investment, for example, in the decade up to 2021. 
  • In the Middle East in 2021, female-founded enterprises won only 1.2% of total VC funding. 

Women do a lot. Have a lot of brilliant ideas, start a lot of impactful businesses, and work really (incredibly) hard. But there’s still a huge gender gap when it comes to investment and startup success. 

So, as Fuller put it in an interview for the LEAP:IN podcast:  

“Always ask for the opportunity. Always ask if you want something. And when you’re offered an opportunity, always say yes. And then lastly, practise a growth mindset.” 

A what, now?

A growth mindset. 

It’s a concept developed by American psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Dweck described two states of mind from which people approach the world. The first is a fixed mindset, in which the person assumes that they are unable to learn more, grow more, or change their way of being/thinking/doing things. They believe they’re not capable of development, and so their lives stagnate. 

The second is a growth mindset, in which the person takes the attitude that they can always change. They can always learn, find new ways of doing things, solve problems, and become an ever-evolving version of themselves. 

The growth mindset makes your potential for success limitless. And the good news is that even if you’re in a fixed mindset now, you can shift into a growth mindset in the future. 

One of the key ways to build a growth mindset is to embrace the power of ‘yet’. Instead of telling yourself I can’t do that or I can’t solve this problem, you start to tell yourself I can’t do that yet; or I can’t solve this problem yet

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This week we’re also quoting…

Abdulla Alkanhl (Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, stc)

What Alkanhl said:

“The beauty of the digital transformation is hitting on the three verticals of sustainability: the environment, the society, and the government.”

Digitisation = a clearer view

The more you digitise things, the easier it is to see what’s happening. And when you can see what’s happening, you can manage it all more effectively – with sustainability as a key objective. 

So let’s take a quick look at those three verticals Alkanhl mentioned, and touch on some of the ways digital transformation is driving them forwards. 

Environment

One of the major ways that digital tech is reducing carbon emissions is through increased supply chain efficiency in the private sector. Because it provides supply chain managers with visibility of their entire inventory, at every location and at every stage of movement along the chain – and this means companies can avoid over-ordering

Tools like digital twin supply chains enable a complete, constantly updating, real-time overview of a supply chain; and also allow for transparent sharing of information between every enterprise involved in keeping that chain moving. So a digital twin can optimise efficiency and improve decision-making (good for the company), while simultaneously minimising waste of raw materials, spare parts, and finished products. 

Scientists are even working on a digital twin of the entire Earth (we wrote about that here). 

Society

Digitisation is creating connection and opportunity across global societies in a myriad of ways. One of the exciting things we’ve seen happening since the start of the pandemic is an uptick in collaboration between different countries, organisations, scientists, and between individual citizens – because people are able to share data and ideas more easily. 

The development of effective vaccines for COVID-19 is an obvious example of collaboration at work through digital infrastructure. For the first time, faced with a global challenge, the world pooled resources and knowledge to speed up the timeline of vaccine creation. 

A 2021 study called Collaboration in times of crisis: A study on COVID-19 vaccine R&D partnerships identified 93 partnerships formed within about a year, all with the goal of vaccine development. Compare that with 2011, when the World Health Organisation identified only 101 cases of material or knowledge transfer for vaccine tech development in the prior two decades, and the acceleration of collaboration is pretty impressive. 

Government

Saudi’s Arabia’s Vision 2030 is a prime example of how digital tech can facilitate a government-level push to set (and meet) ambitious sustainability targets. 

Both digital tech and sustainability are building blocks of the Saudi vision, which will drive economic growth and improve the government at the same time as improving citizen life, reducing emissions, and driving the development of sustainability-focused technology. 

It’s a big picture view. And both that big picture and the efforts to make it a reality are only possible because of digitisation.  

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