The second webinar of USPAACC’s Business Leadership Series (BLS) addressed the Entrepreneurial Mind-Set of the Asian American and the Minority Business Communities. The goal of the discussion was to gain a deeper understanding of the mindset, leadership philosophies, and attributes of successful entrepreneurs.
Our first speaker, Mr. Kishore Khandavalli (CEO of SevenTablets), shared some of his personal experiences and lessons learned in running his own business for the past twenty (20) years. At each stage – Start-up, Growth and Transitioning into a Larger Company – Kishore discussed the different challenges entrepreneurs must encounter and overcome to be successful. First, be mindful of blind spots – often times an owner is too emotionally invested to see problems objectively. Second, the leadership model is a critical shift – complexity drives growth. Third, set up systems, processes and structures as you try to overcome barriers to growth. Set the vision and let the team run with it.
The second speaker, Mr. Jim Chung (Executive Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at GWU), talked more about the entrepreneurial theories that have had an impact on him throughout his career. He talked about how mindset is critical for success - it’s not about how smart you are, or where you went to school or who you know. Especially for Asian American cultures, thinking about success as a mindset is a difficult shift. Jim presented the stories of five (5) different Asian American entrepreneurs and shared his experiences working with them to grow their businesses. His insights and recommendations connect to the idea of mindset & culture and the impact of communities and the lean start-up methodology of business growth.
The webinar ended with a lively question and answer period, where both Jim and Kishore talked about the younger generation of Asian Americans and if they see a cultural shift occurring in terms of how young people are expected to progress in their careers.