K.Fund SME Day: Growth and scalability: partnerships, networking and investments
Crisis 2020 has freed the hands of entrepreneurs in their innovative solutions. How to turn the crisis into opportunities, join powerful initiatives, programs, clubs, investors and organizations and gain new skills for professional and personal development — the market experts told at the online event “Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Day”. The event was organized within the framework of the European Entrepreneurship Week by Vasyl Khmelnytsky K.Fund.
During the event, three panel discussions and innovative online networking of entrepreneurs for limited offline conditions were held, where the event participants could present their own projects. The session was moderated by Lydia Pashchuk, President of the K.Fund.
Entrepreneurs who understand the importance of partnerships and the number of useful contacts are more likely to succeed. At the second session “Growth. Scaling Opportunities: Partnerships, Networking and Investments” CEOs and the owners of organizations specializing in the correct networking and resource search for entrepreneurs shared their observations and best practices. The speakers of the second session were:
- Natalia Kalinkina, CEO of the INDAX production accelerator;
- Vitaly Lubinets, CEO WIN WIN CLUB;
- Serhiy Poznyak, owner and CEO of the FGK Financial Group.
Natalia Kalinkina spoke about the main challenges of finding investment and the typical mistakes of those who seek to raise funds for their project.
- Our entrepreneurs are super-heroes who are frequently in a state of permanent struggle with the crisis. It makes Ukrainian business more adaptive and growth-conscious.
- Unfortunately, scaling during a crisis depends on the niche – it plays into the hands of some, it hinders others.
During quarantine, many manufacturers closed their business, others began to look for new niches, and still, others reconfigured the enterprise according to the Lean method.
- In 2020, INDAX received 687 applications for acceleration and investments. Only 12 received funds. Such a low conversion is due to the manufacturer’s false confidence in absorbing any amount of investment and the unwillingness to make the right offer to the investor.
- If the entrepreneur cannot explain the investor’s business model — how the flows will be higher than the costs — such spontaneous entrepreneurship is not a plus for obtaining funds.
- The lack of a financial model makes it challenging to understand where the business is now, and where it will end up later, and how to predict future results in the form of profit for investors.
- Even with a systematic approach, the lack of a strategy and vision does not allow an entrepreneur to understand what exactly he should receive funding for.
- Only those entrepreneurs who can work systematically and provide services better than their closest competitors can grow. In this way, in the era of localization, small and medium-sized businesses can use the chance to take their market share from corporations.
Serhiy Poznyak also shared his thoughts on small and medium-sized businesses as the foundation of the Ukrainian economy.
- For the sake of a growing investment culture, small and medium-sized businesses must become “transparent” to accelerate the speed of decision-making on financing — for both public and private institutions.
- The need for a financial “injection” is experienced by SMEs precisely at a time of stability — and this ensures a transition to a new higher level and overcoming stagnation.
- 71% of SMEs do not use the available funds of financial institutions and investors, like developing an athlete who goes to a record but eats only cabbage and drinks only water.
- During a time of fundamental change, there is a risk of slowing growth. To not lose speed and the main goal, it is necessary to set sub-goals to achieve them in a short time.
Vitaliy Lubinets spoke about partnership and networking to develop his own business and Ukraine’s economy as a whole using the example of a business club.
- Entrepreneurs try to unite and stick together because they understand that together they can achieve higher goals.
- Success in business and life depends not only on the level of IQ and depth of knowledge but also on communication skills.
- A true entrepreneur thinks as much as he reads books with other authors’ thoughts, looks for at least five ways to solve a problem, and never takes the time to complain about difficulties to others.
- The main thing for an entrepreneur is to be “out of your box” and be open to knowledge from other areas.
- Networking, through a new valuable environment, makes it clear to the entrepreneur that he is not the smartest in the room.
- The relationship between business partners is built on the desire to do more together than separately. When two strong players team up, they definitely move faster.
A full retrospective of the online SME Day event with K.Fund as part of European SME Week 2020 can be viewed here. A report with the main insights of the first session is available on the website. The main theses from the third session can be viewed here.