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Entrepreneurship 101 with Dr. Hazem Ezzat

At NU100’s opening, former Director of Research of General Motors Dr. Hatem Ezzat gave a mini-guide to an entrepreneur’s dos and don’ts.

“Change favors the prepared minds” – Dr. Hatem Ezzat started his speech with a quote by Louis Pasteur, and went on by saying that a prepared mind will see or generate new opportunities – and this is exactly what entrepreneurs should do.

“When thinking as an entrepreneur, you should not think: I have a solution – now I need to find the problem. But rather: I have a problem – in how many ways can I solve that problem?” he explained.

In Ezzat’s opinion, the main characteristics of an entrepreneur should be:
1. A prepared mind
2. Being comfortable with uncertainty
3. Not afraid of taking risks and also comfortable with managing risk
4. Not afraid to fail: for historical reasons, the Egyptian culture tends to be a defensive one and hence, Egytpians are afraid of doing mistakes. When they do mistakes, they deny them and that way, they don’t learn much from them.
5. See every failure as an opportunity to learn.
6. Every failure should fuel passion to go out and try again.

When talking about finding and creating solutions to problems, Ezzat stated: “We try to find elegant solutions. But the market is not about elegance – it’s about return. Simple is better – not simplistic, but simple. Always keep the scope of future growth in mind.”

Ezzat went on talking about the ingredients of an entrepreneur’s success:
1. Money is not an obstacle to entrepreneurship. Smart money goes after smart ideas. “Give me a smart idea and I will find you money. You just need to be prepared with the right technology, records and plan.”
2. The timing of an entrepreneur needs to be perfect.
3. Be ready with an elusive Plan B.
4. Brace yourself and stop frequently not to smell the roses, but to smell all the other stuff that comes your way.

He concluded with three main pieces of advice:
1. Success is a journey. Being on that road and making your contribution – that is success.
2. Markets are ruthless. Don’t find the elegant solution.
3. I want the young men and women in Egypt to take charge of their future, because if you don’t someone else will and you won’t like it.