While entrepreneurs might use technology to enhance their business, technopreneurs – individuals equipped with technical and business skills – take it further by making technology and innovation their core product and service.
Whether by developing new technology or innovating current ones to meet an untapped market, technopreneurs always look forward to creating and commercialising the latest products and services that could benefit people, in ways that would make their lives easier in a technologically-driven world.
As Sarawak begins its march towards a digital economy, there is a need for local youths to embrace technology to solve challenges facing their communities as well as develop their own start-ups that can drive their home state’s economy.
If you think you have what it takes to tackle technopreneurship, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
1. Be a jack-of-all-trades
Because technopreneurship is a subset of entrepreneurship, you will need basic entrepreneurial skills such as communication, business strategy (for example: Building A Company Brand and Product Brand), marketing, branding, and financing to learn how to build a business.
Depending on the technology and innovation required to develop your products and services, you will also need to familiarise yourself with various kinds of technologies, be it general or industry-specific.
This doesn’t mean that you need to master all of them; technology in particular changes rapidly, so the least you can do is have a strong foundation on how these technologies work and incorporate them in your entrepreneurial endeavours.
2. Build a team
Running a business can be taxing when done solo, so find people with different expertise who can support you in your technopreneurship, especially non-technical ones. For instance, while you work with a programmer on product development, have a marketer to market your start-up and product, a web developer to create a website, and an accountant to manage the start-up’s finances.
3. Balance technology and content or functionality
The content or function you develop to reach your customers whether user-generated or in-house is as crucial as the product and service you build for them. Thus, make sure that you spend time on shaping clear, straightforward content that your target market can easily understand and utilise.
4. Focus on your idea
Essentially, whether it’s a website, an application or hardware solutions, always remember the idea that first drove you to become a technopreneur as you develop it. After all, technopreneurs tend to be individuals who find ideas by dreaming big, seek opportunities that others don’t see, and take calculated risks.
This idea should not only be of value to your customers, but also motivate your team to challenge themselves more and inspire other technopreneurs to do their part in impacting the society positively, be it their own communities or even the world.
Here's my take on this topic:
1. Realistically, being a Technopreneur does not mean a solo effort. You need a multi-skills team, working together to achieve your objectives and for the good of your targeted customers.
2. Being a Technopreneur does not mean having ICT technical skills only. To survive in the real business world, you have to have business acumen and knowledge in the industry. You need to understand how a particular industry works in order to solve their problem with your tech product/solution.
3. While you're at it, keep learning. Knowledge is power, that's what they are saying. So learn the tech trade, learn how to do business, learn from your competitors, learn from your customers. Every bit of knowledge will help in your journey to be a successful Technopreneur.