CEO at NewCampus, a modern business school in Asia. Exploring the intersection between the future of work and learning with an Asian twist.
The world is rapidly changing, and so are the faces of entrepreneurship. In the past, the image of a founder was predominantly of someone from Silicon Valley, Palo Alto or Boston, someone who came from a place where the tech industry is well established and has a strong support network.
Today, however, the face of a founder is increasingly becoming that of a multilingual, multicultural entrepreneur who has straddled multiple cultures while building a business.
The Legacy Of Immigration
What is often unique about these founders is their immigrant history, which can add to their ambition. For many, their journey starts with their parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents leaving their home country for better opportunities.
They are brought up with the knowledge that they have the opportunity to make something of themselves, which fuels their desire to create something impactful. They also often carry the expectations of their families, who have made great sacrifices to provide them with a better life.
Chatri Sityodtong, the CEO of ONE Championship, is a prime example of a founder who has leveraged his background to build a global business with a strong foothold in Southeast Asia. As a Thai-American, he grew up with a deep appreciation for the martial arts culture in Asia. His unique perspective on the sport, coupled with his business acumen, has helped him to take Asian martial arts global.
Language As A Business Asset
The role of language also plays a significant role in how multicultural entrepreneurs make decisions. Many of them are able to speak multiple languages, which allows them to communicate with different stakeholders in their businesses.
This skill is particularly important when it comes to building a global business, as it allows them to bridge the gap between different cultures and countries. Being able to communicate effectively in multiple languages helps to build trust with customers, investors and employees from all over the world.
Overcoming The Odds
Despite their many strengths, multicultural and multilingual founders often face challenges, particularly when it comes to accessing funding. There is often a perception that they are the underdogs, which can make it difficult to secure funding from investors. They may also carry baggage associated with money, as there are cultural taboos around discussing wealth or seeking out wealth in some cultures. This can make it difficult for them to raise capital or even talk about their fundraising efforts.
However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and many cosmopolitan founders have been able to overcome them. In order to overcome these challenges, leaders should work to build strong networks of supporters and mentors who understand their unique challenges and are willing to help them navigate them. They should also consider creative solutions to financing, such as crowdfunding or bootstrapping their businesses until they are able to secure funding from traditional sources.
For example, consider the founder and CEO of Xendit, who is Indonesian Australian. His company did not receive Series B funding for over two years. Building connections was crucial to the early stages of his company, which has now achieved unicorn status.
By understanding the challenges facing entrepreneurs with immigrant backgrounds, businesses can embrace diverse perspectives, which is key to fostering cultural exchange. By recognizing their achievements, organizations can unlock the unique strengths and insights they bring. This not only enhances creativity and innovation but also promotes a more inclusive and culturally rich work environment.
It is clear that the future is bright for cross-cultural founders. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, their ability to straddle different cultures and languages will become an even more valuable asset. They will be able to build businesses that bridge the gap between different countries and cultures, and they will be able to tap into a global market of consumers who are looking for products and services that speak to their unique needs.
The rise of multicultural, multilingual founders is a testament to the changing face of entrepreneurship. These founders bring a unique perspective to the table, one that is informed by their immigrant history and their ability to speak multiple languages fluently. While they may face challenges along the way, they will continue to play an important role in shaping the global economy.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
Read the full article here