In a 2013 study published by the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) they estimate that there are over 7000 business incubators around the world. The benefits of a traditional business incubator may not seem obvious at first to most individuals; since most individuals are not trying to launch a large scalable business but rather small to medium sized businesses. In fact, a 2016 study by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada found that of the more than 1.17 million employers in Canada, 97.9% are small and medium sized businesses. So who is trying to ensure that the small guys succeed?
When I first heard the term business incubator it conjured images of a research laboratory that you would find Tony Stark working in. When I first experienced a business incubator, I found that the reality of a business incubator felt different. A business incubator is nothing more than a group of hard working individuals who gathered together to support each other as they individually start a successful business. The more I interacted with business incubators, the more I liked the idea. I mean, according to Forbes, 80% of businesses fail. Yet, as we compare that to the astronomical success rate of businesses that go through business incubators (87%), it is hard to dispute that with the right tools and knowledge almost anyone can build a successful business.
I have met all sorts of people who attend business incubators; I met a woman who wants to reduce waste in the fashion industry by creating a fashion library for people to share clothes; I met a young man who loves astronomy and wants to take high resolution pictures of the sky and sell them to people; I met someone that wants to open a food truck; I met a woman who wants to open a beauty salon; I met a woman who wants to reduce the pollution in the ocean by opening up an entire chain of zero waste supermarkets across all of North America; all of these entrepreneurs share one thing in common; they are all hardworking passionate individuals who want to build something of their own for themselves and they have all sought out professional help to ensure that they do things the right way from the start.
For the past 3 years, since I started my own entrepreneurial journey, I have had the pleasure of observing, communicating and learning from people who themselves are going through this process. These engagements, with professional entrepreneurs, has sparked a passion for entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurs, within me.
During the past three years, the one thing that has bothered me this entire time, has been that the best entrepreneurial education that is currently available has mostly been marketed and designed for entrepreneurs that have a high growth potential. This very specialized focus within the industry has left 85% of the world’s population under-served when it comes to quality entrepreneurial education.
This is not to say that entrepreneurial education does not exist outside of business incubators. Take for example my family. About 50% of my entire family are multi-generational entrepreneurs. I remember when I was like 7 and my grandmother would call me into her garage storefront and would sit there explaining to me how to help customers when they came in. Then she would sit down, reach into the cupboard where the cash register was and would then pull out a Dirty Harry type looking gun and go right on showing me the business end of the apparatus.
All of civilization has been carved into existence by entrepreneurs, we are the only ones that tackle the nonsense that no-one else wants to put up with, and we have the privilege of charging them serving them!
I grew up with my uncles and my grand parents telling me exactly how to serve customers, how to understand what they wanted, how to match our value propositions to their needs. I come from a long line of tremendous entrepreneurs! Do you want to know what I kept asking myself as I engaged with these amazing entrepreneurs over the past three years? Why has no one ever taken the time to teach my uncles, aunties, cousins and grand parents how to scale?
I want to teach everyone’s uncles and grand parents how to scale their businesses. I want to show them that their families can have a future in the family business that they have carved out with their own hands. I want to #DemocratizeEntrepreneurship!
Unfortunately, as things stand, I cannot reach my dreams, because the technology to achieve these dreams does not currently exist.
So, the question that I have began to wrestle with is, what would the technology required to make this happen look and feel like?
Well, as it happens, I figured out where to begin. It turns out that business boils down to three activities. The first essential activity in entrepreneurship is to figure out which are the experiences, within the specific tasks that people must get done, that are causing friction in people’s ability to fully enjoy their activities. Second, we must figure out what are the experiences that they would rather feel while engaging in those activities. Finally, entrepreneurs must design a product or service that can help those individuals experience those improved circumstances.
This brings us to Wizzdom, by Ignis Studio. Wizzdom is an online Generative Design Research tool whose only purpose is to help designers within all industries engage their key target demographic and learn from them what are the specific experiences that they want to have as they undertake the endeavors they wish to accomplish. The designer would then use this data to interpret the right product for the job.
Wizzdom on its own is not enough to allow my cousins in South America to custom design their product offerings for people in Europe and help them launch a successful business there, or any other part of the world for that matter. However, Wizzdom on it’s own is enough for them to custom design products for any audience almost anywhere in the world without actually having to be there to do so. Wizzdom will allow your uncle, and my uncle and their uncle, where ever they may be, to build a human centered solution for any problem that they may wish to solve. Wizzdom alone is not the end solution needed to #DemocratizeEntrepreneurship, but it can get us one step closer to that end goal.
#DemocratizingEntrepreneurship is not about helping more people make more money by making better products cheaper and selling them to more people faster. #DemocratizingEntrepreneurhsip is about giving everyone on the planet access to the tools that they will need to make their communities better and impact the lives of their loved ones.
What can Wizzdom help us do now? Wizzdom can help us democratize and #MonetizeImpact by helping us design human centered experiences that can enrich our lives, and the lives of our loved ones. It’s not about the money, its about love and passion!
By Jose Pinzon