Big Bank Take Small Bank: The Start-Up Lifeline

“A start-up is a company that is confused about: 1. What it’s product is. 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.” – Dave McClure 

Being a start-up is a hectic business by itself and being the founder is even harder. Some nights you stay up into your work not noticing time pass. Others you stay up against your wish but you still do. It’s like a new borne and as a child needs attention, then a start-up does just the same. If you are lucky you’ll have people to support you through the journey, like a child born in a caring and supportive extended family with someone to carry & nurse them every time. If unlucky you can tell, it’s like a bastard denounced by the father under the care of a mother without any support forthcoming from anyone. Well, it may not be the best of experiences but holding on the vision you keep on keeping on.

It’s been two years since I started raising this child called Ryculture. It’s never easy and I am not sure when it will be but the commitment to nurture competent and socially responsible individuals and build resilient, sustainable pharmaceutical systems towards a healthy and prosperous society has never been stronger. Everyday going to bed thinking of the next move, coordinating how to loop in partners and drive action. It’s like a game of chess, you strategize and restrategize with every move made. It’s part of the process.

Last week I had an eye-opening discussion with a friend of mine following a pitch we that was made to us by another start-up. At that point, the offering wasn’t much in line with the focus of the organization we were representing and for that matter we didn’t take a chance on them. Factoring the circumstances they were under in retrospect I wished we had taken a chance on them. It may not be that we are deriving much value from their services but it’s giving them the credibility, confidence boost and guidance that would have enabled them perform better in their next venture. The disclosure made me think through the chances other remarkable organizations have taken in supporting our work in the past. We do a great job but with support of such organizations in the operating space who are ready to hold our hands it makes the load lighter.

As an avid reader I happen to read on some of the greatest brands that have ever existed and on this occasion I was drawn to the ideologies of Sir Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group. Branson through Virgin Unite has committed to enabling start-ups grow by bootstrapping them. By the virtue of Virgin being a globally recognized brand, any affiliation puts you on a pedestal to grow and optimize your offering based on existent resources within the ecosystem. This has come in handy especially during this era of COVID-19 with a couple of start-ups under Virgin Unite re-positioning their business model to support communities. As he writes in his book, The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and Lead, good business is good for business and collaboration is the new innovation.

Anchored on this we plan to officially open doors to the Ryculture Social Innovation Hub at the wake of our 3rd Year of operation. Our aim is to create an ecosystem of socially conscious business outfits addressing social problems in the communities.

Ps. Resources are not only the finances even though money is important.

Acknowledgement: The support we have received from partners in the space ranging from MYDAWAPhillips Pharmaceuticals LimitedVillgro Kenya among others has been instrumental in our growth. We thank you for taking a chance on us and commit to pay it forward.

“Big bank take little bank. Riding on the brand power, business acumen and resources of the established company start-ups have a lifeline. It’s upon the big corporations to extend a hand.”

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