I attended the TechCrunch Disrupt event in London last month and was particularly struck by one talk from a guy called Morten Lund. He was an investor in Skype and then went on to make millions and became bankrupt a short while after.
What I found particularly interesting was around his views on what the skills are for being an entrepreneur and what the keys to success are for those looking to start their own business. In his talk he spoke about what we need to do to get better in Europe, stating that we don't need to get better at entrepreneurism, we just have to stimulate the good ones in a better way. Promoting entrepreneurism to everyone is like promoting an undertakers business because 9 out of 10 companies will die. Don't promote it too broadly - someone has to really want it, only then it should be pushed and financed properly.
Entrepreneurism is hard work. It's certainly not the faint-hearted. More like the half lunatics, people with extreme self-confidence and those really, deeply into something boring. It takes all sorts. You have to be slightly crazy to start and grow a business. Maybe investments shouldn't be about offering funds to everyone and making them more accessible but they should be more about finding that spark within people and once you find that spark, nurture that talent and then finance that in a better way.
It made me question my thoughts, especially some of my previous Huffington Post blogs - maybe funding in the UK for start-ups/entrepreneurs isn't about making funding more accessible to all, because actually most start-ups fail but it is about finding the right people with the right personality traits and nurturing those through mentoring and guidance and then once you have those skills, funding can be better spent.
It takes a certain type of person to make a business successful, not everyone is cut out to start a business. The harsh reality is that the vast majority of businesses will fail, one in three start-ups collapse within the first three years, which is often down to having an insufficient support and expertise network.
Of course, funding is crucial to start-ups but perhaps it is not the thing that these companies and individuals need the most. Money is too often viewed as the answer for fledgling businesses and as a consequence, blind investment can be thrown in their direction with very little else. If you look at incubators such as Y Combinator and 500 Start-Ups the companies that work with these people are great, they have nurtured the talent well. It is great that investors are more willing to back start-ups but more can be done to help business owners in their quest to turn their idea into something substantial. Advice and guidance should be essential to any entrepreneur embarking on their first venture but there is little evidence of this currently being in place.
There is the capability for truly mutually beneficial relationships to be established between investors and investees. Discovering the right idea to invest in can be extremely rewarding and developing the people behind it should be a part of the process. With investors contributing time and guidance as well as money, the chances of a young business succeeding become far improved.