IEEE Entrepreneurship’s Founder Office Hours Program seeks to help early and growth-stage technology entrepreneurs within the IEEE community to succeed in creating technology-driven businesses that impact humanity.
I started my entrepreneurship journey when I was in my last year of university at the end of 2019. Together with 6 classmates, we started InitGrammers, a company based in Ecuador which is dedicated to providing programming services, web development, and mobile development.
I learned about the program through an email from IEEE Entrepreneurship. I signed up to participate in the program without hesitation, as being able to receive mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs is a great opportunity for any entrepreneur.
This is particularly relevant when considering the initial stages/barriers that prove difficult for anyone starting on the path of entrepreneurship, including obtaining clients, making contacts, and learning to sell services or products.
The signup process was pretty simple. I filled out the form that is available on the IEEE Entrepreneurship website, by providing information about our company – InitGrammers – so I could be matched with a mentor with relevant experience. Upon completing the form, we received an email to make an appointment with our mentor.
Our assigned mentor was Joanne Wong, 2020 Vice-Chair, Investor & Industry Activities, who helped us in one of our initial stages. We had a video call with her in April 2020, in which we discussed the work we were doing at that time and a few months earlier.
At the beginning of this year, we had difficulties with identifying potential clients. Joanne listened and advised us at various points, which helped us focus on what would help the company grow.
Because our field of work is very extensive, this focus allowed us to identify the most important areas and clients with whom we should work, as they aligned with our efforts; specifically, companies that would remain open and working during 2020.
Our mentor was very kind to us and gave us very useful advice that, in combination with the effort of our entire team, helped improve our company as a whole. After one month, we were able to close our first major contract with a hardware services company and develop a mobile application, which we have been working on since May 2020. This will be available in mobile application stores soon!
My experience was really rewarding and I recommend that all entrepreneurs apply for it, because not only will they receive mentoring, which will help their entrepreneurship process, but they can gain a clearer vision of company goals and how to achieve them from a different point of view.
Tunnelvision gets eliminated, allowing them to have a much broader panoramic view of the field in which they are working while opening them to receive feedback about the work they do and advice on how to improve it; which are all invaluable elements that will enrich their entrepreneurial path and allow them to reach their goals faster.
A special thanks to our mentor Joanne for her time, advice, and willingness to listen; and to the IEEE Entrepreneurship team for their hard work in creating a bridge between entrepreneurs and mentors, which undoubtedly will help more companies and startups grow to be successful.