Saygin Yalcin, Founder of Startup Hero’s YouTube channel, which has over 136,000 subscribers making it the largest business focused channel in the Middle East, gives us tips on how to be a budding entrepreneur and on how to devise a potential idea for a successful business.
1. When did the idea to start an entrepreneurial YouTube channel strike you? Why and how?
A: The idea came after I became a course lecturer at the Canadian University of Dubai. I felt the need to create an environment that fosters a can-do culture and belief that business and entrepreneurship is not something that one is born with, but can be learnt. I try to inspire entrepreneurship and a lot of the students are entrepreneurial. Through YouTube, I can reach a wider range of people and show them how to make their dreams come to fruition. My YouTube channel has over 25 videos that offer business tips; interviews and even taped sessions of answering business related questions from fans.
2. You are currently operating Startup Hero in UAE. Do you have plans to go international?
A: The immediate response of the market has been astounding. It takes me back because I was in their shoes not too long ago and for many of us, ideas are part of a dream of maybe, or one day, but at Startup Hero we can bring those ideas to life in the show and the UAE is the perfect place for fresh and ‘out of the box’ ideas. It is exciting to see that we had over 10,000 applications from over 33 nationalities for the first episode and have welcomed ideas from all industries. Within 20 days of launching we had over 100,000 likes, 150,000 comments and watch time minutes totalling over 5 million. The feedback, interaction and excitement of the public and participants have been very positive and for the future we might consider going global, but for the time being we are focusing on expanding our show locally.
3. What has been the best experience with this project and how has it worked financially and for you as an individual?
A: Startup Hero is the latest show in the Middle East to turn business ideas into reality by connecting young entrepreneurs with potential investors and the United Arab Emirates being home to the brightest and boldest ideas from entrepreneurs and investors from all corners of the globe makes it the perfect location for the show. Apart from pitching ideas, participants will receive exposure, advice from business professionals and potential investment opportunities from some of the brightest minds in the region eager to support and encourage entrepreneurship, creating long-term social impact in the market. It is very rewarding for myself to launch Startup Hero knowing that it’s for a great cause.
4. What are some of the best ideas that participants have pitched to the judges according to you? What has been their potential in the market?
A: The candidates which have presented to the judges throughout our episodes were chosen from amongst over 10,000 applicants. Each idea presented has a unique concept that we have not seen before in the market. One of the best ideas we received was from a Dutch candidate named Michael, he created a mobile application called “Anna” which reduces waste. Anna allows its end users to scan a paper grocery supermarket bill and turns the data to digital data for an alert of when, and which product item expires, or recommended period to consume (optimal food’s life span) via smart phone calendar and the app. Michael is yet to complete his business launch plan and work on the advice that our judges gave to him.
5. What do investors mainly look for in budding entrepreneurs and how do they know when an idea is strikingly good in the market?
A: When investors are looking to fund entrepreneurs they are very careful as it’s a risky procedure, they need to be confident in the entrepreneur and idea. The six questions below are significant to assess an entrepreneur’s business idea.
1. Are you solving a problem?
2. Are you passionate about your idea?
3. Is it the right timing?
4. Are there any regulatory showstoppers
5. Is it profitably scalable?
6. How is the monetization strength?
6. Finally, what are some of the best words of advice you’d like to pass onto our readers who are aspiring in a certain field of expertise?
A: Before any entrepreneur starts a business, they need to have a solid idea that they believe will result in a large amount of customers. After all an impressive idea will get the attention of potential investors who can support them in early stages. Before putting the idea through a set of questions to assess its feasibility, one should ask whether the idea solves a real problem. Are you launching a product or a service that people have longed for? Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of creating a solution for an imagined problem, therefore it’s important to run a case study, or even give out simple questionnaires to analyse the needs of your customers.