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Why Startup Founders Ought To Be Global Citizens

Why Startup Founders Ought To Be Global Citizens

For a truly modern business, it has become imperative that it is run by “global citizens”. Globalisation is shaking up the way the world is run, thanks to leaps in modern communication and transportation technologies, which has made people now perceive themselves as part of a larger community. It has, in turn, thrown up new expectations from business leaders in the corporate world and start up hotbeds. In this new role, founders are, however, not expected to ditch their national, ethnic or political beliefs. But, what is expected is a heightened awareness of what is happening in the markets and the world society at large and be closely attuned to them.

Many of the early global citizen entrepreneurs have arisen from their personal life experiences to develop this quality. Widely travelled, educated abroad, exposed to new cultures, foreign languages, worked in unfamiliar environments and other exposures have opened their mind to the world.  Take the example of Fadi Gadour, founder of the logistics giant, Aramex which has a presence across 60 countries. Himself a Jordanian, his career has been all about transcending borders. Starting in 1982, challenging the biggies in the field like DHL and Fedex, it became the first Arab company to be listed on Nasdaq fifteen years hence.

Now, with forums like NASSCOM’s Innotrek, TiE and many other such as forums especially meant for startups, it is even easier for startup founders to embark on a global journey and expand their horizon. It offers the perfect opportunity to travel to and learn about new geographies and cultures while simultaneously gaining more knowledge and exposure that can fast track the startup. The networking that happens in the process is another huge advantage.

Pallav Modi, Founder Istyleyou  believes that, “Having a global perspective and awareness certainly helps an entrepreneur,  whether that’s product innovation, team management or a fresh new idea. Especially for technology entrepreneurs, keeping an eye on global development is key to defining companies strategies and goals.”

Global citizen founders have stood out among the regular entrepreneurs as they have seized opportunities that others missed, improved existing systems, invented new approaches, and created solutions to change society for the better. This global empathy in a founder is essential for a lot of reasons:

To Take Startups To An International Platform For Sustainable Growth And Expansion

In today’s competitive and tough economic environment, it is not enough for startups to be just limited to a single country. To grow, they have to look at a wider audience in the long term. Also, with the speed at which technology and innovations are disrupting traditional markets, it has become more and more important for startups to be connected on a global platform to be a step ahead and stay relevant.

To Forge New Partnerships That Benefit All

Founders with a global mindset are a big asset. They have the ability to perceive and interpret behaviours and situations in various cultural contexts. They are also open-minded enough to appreciate the cultural diversity and are able to build a common channel of communication with them. This helps them to forge new relationships in new contexts, identify possibilities and create a smooth and dependable collaboration towards setting up a new field of business. They also tend to have a better understanding of the pulse of the people. Without this empathy, it is very difficult to make inroads into a new market territory, where local support and trust is of paramount importance.

By Leveraging Mindset For Value

Founders who are global citizens are able to use their knowledge of the world and overseas connections to identify opportunities among different cultures and turn them into new value-creating businesses. Such businesses with added social value are more sustainable in the long run. This “value” may not just be in the form of profit, but also involves individual, organisational and social benefit.

Global citizen founders are able to add value to their startup in the form of a new innovative product, a new method of operation, new form of financing or new solutions to existing problems. These will be the game-changing companies of the future.

The idea of global citizenship has its origins as far back as 2,400 years ago when the philosopher Socrates claimed, “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world”. Then too entrepreneurship across the seas was in full swing, with brisk trade practices among various communities and cultures taking place.

With faster and greater penetration in global economic integration now, unique business opportunities, as well as complex challenges, are thrown up. A global citizen founder/ entrepreneur can take on these pressing challenges and successfully contribute to an inclusive and sustainable economic system. The global financial crisis, climate change, emerging and stagnant economies all require business leaders who can understand people different from themselves, nurture cross-boundary relationships, work out shared solutions and foster value creation that is universally acceptable.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.