By Stephanie Scott
Photos by Deniece Griffin
“Welcome to life, we’re all going to fail,” said Atlanta Tech Village Vice President, Karen C. Houghton, speaking to aspiring student entrepreneurs from Georgia State’s Chapter of the global Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO).
Atlanta Tech Village is the 4th largest tech hub in the United States, housing 300 startup companies. The membership-based workspace is an incubator and accelerator for tech startups and hosts events that promote networking for founders and supports businesses growth. Houghton was the second guest-speaker in CEO’s semester-long lineup of Atlanta entrepreneurial influencers to share knowledge about what it takes to be a successful business owner.
To expound upon Houghton’s raw statement, she followed by saying that most founders will fail several times in their plight for success and that failure should not be associated with shame. Many founders that are seemingly overnight successes put in seven to ten years of work to make their business a market success. “9 out of 10 startups fail,” said Houghton.
Houghton shared statistics about women in business and how Atlanta Tech Village is fostering diversity and inclusion in the startup world. In the workforce, 47% of workers are women and make up 60% of undergrad and graduate programs. The percentage of women in Silicon Valley is 11% and 45% of women quit their jobs in tech. Five percent of startups are women-owned and run three times better. Atlanta Tech Village is promoting women and minorities in tech startups with their program, It Takes A Village, an accelerator that provides resources to early startups to reach the next level.
Houghton shared with CEO students “Karen’s Keys to Success.” Her first key is that relationships matter. It’s important to network with everyone. Her second key is to always be learning. She recommended two good reads–“Good to Great” by Jim Collins and “Bro-topia” by Emily Chang. The last key is to believe in yourself and go after what you want.
When asked how to showcase skills to an employer, Houghton advised students to list their jobs, reflect upon what jobs they enjoyed, and what jobs seemed the least like work. The skills that they enjoy most, and are good at, are worth sharing with employers. Houghton also said that references always give applicants more advantage to employers. Finally, she stressed to the attentive students the importance of having a Personal Identity Statement, a statement that pitches who you are and what you would bring to a company.
Visit the GSU Calendar for additional ENI and CEO Events each semester.