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Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015: How To ‘Fail Forward’ [Recap]

Failing Forward

An essential element to entrepreneurship is embracing the risk of failure and learning from past mistakes. Failure comes with the territory. So, anyone who intends to pursue an entrepreneurial carrier must know that the road is not going to be easy one. However, there is stigma in the society while it comes to seeing failure as an essential part of our journey. We consider failure as something evil. Fear of failure paralyzes us, real failure kills our spirit. But the truth is all successful entrepreneurs failed more than once and they stood up every time they failed and tried again.

During second day of Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015, three entrepreneurs shared their stories of how they overcame the legal, financial, and cultural consequences of failure to move on and build successful enterprises.

Redefining Failure: We need to redefine failure as entrepreneurs because you will fail so many times.

Jonathan Ortmans: Rather than calling it failure, think of it as a series of experiments


Loving the problem: Every problem is an opportunity in disguise. You need to be a little curious, bold, and tenacious to get there. Ortmans: In every problem, there is a gift. Seek the problem.


Focus is the key: You can build many things at a time. Narrow down, limit your choices, prioritize.

Odhiambo: when we reduced from 20 to 3 products, our focus paid off.


Not everyone will support you: Not everyone will support you in your early days. Very few people will. However, you will have to move forward. People will talk, get it done anyway. Fearlessly follow your dream. You will not have cheerleaders. ~Julian


Execution is the key. Get your hands dirty. Often people worry about if someone steals their idea. That's so naive. Stop worrying, start working. Build it big.

Keep building your idea but do not spend too much time protecting a bad idea.~ Julian Kyula

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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