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‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ Rekha Mehr chats to Startacus
by Startacus Admin
Recently appointed by the UK government as an ‘entrepreneur in residence’, Rekha Mehr, a startup founder herself, has been given the responsibility for championing the small business and startup sector.
Since Startacus is all about self starters doing something with ‘that idea’ they have always had, we thought it only right to chat with Rekha and to find out a little more about her intentions and the role itself.
The initiative was launched back in November by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and from 200-odd applicants, Rekha and one other ‘resident’ have been selected to serve as advisers - intermediates if you like, between those on the ground and the policy makers and government.
Rekha Mehr is using her experience of setting up Pistachio Rose, an Indian Fusion Bakery, to become the voice of the startup sector. Prior to her her startup success Rekha went through a career transformation herself, after 6 years of working her way up in buying, she realised that this vertical career path wasnt for her. “I knew I was a strong individual contributor but hadn’t necessarily seen that as a progressive skill in it’s own right until I left Amazon.”
A Trait perhaps ideal to become self employed. After 6 months travelling in India, Rekha came back to the UK, identified a gap that exists in the UK Indian food market and then set up Pistachio Rose.
Like with any government appointed role, outside criticism is inevitable - a £10k salary for a one day a week role, may at first seem slightly inflated, however in reality that £10k is small change compared to any salary working in the City. Rekha was keen to highlight that this is a role that offers more than just ticking boxes. Whilst appreciating that it is tough to put targets and figures forward on how her role will support the sector and measure her success, it is really encouraging to hear that Rekha has already started highlighting an issue that is also close to our hearts here at Startacus.
“It’s not necessarily that there aren’t support functions and programmes available to support the small business and wannabe entrepreneur - it’s more that we need to identify what more can be done to make all that information and support easily accessible.”
That’s something entirely in keeping with our own objectives - with our virtual workspace aiming to help incubate ideas and our ongoing provision of useful information and articles, we’re trying to remove the barriers that stop the potential entrepreneur, creative, idea maker, and self starter from becoming self employed and self sufficient in their own career.
From Rekha’s own experience - any advice that she could immediately share for those with ideas?
“Having been through the process of setting up my own business, my biggest mistake was not getting a mentor earlier. Apart from validating your idea and business, they have the knowledge, and have been through the process that can otherwise become rather overwhelming.” If you’re thinking about getting a mentor, Rekha cited MentorsMe in particular as a good government supported place to start.
With that we went on our merry way, ourselves a little more encouraged that there is a voice or two out there listening to the issues and concerns that self starters face, whilst also championing the good news stories and case studies we all need to hear about.
We’re all ears and look forward to hearing more from Rekha going forward. Feel free to follow Rekha Mehr on Twitter.
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.