One of my hobbies is inspiring and mentoring a new generation into the world of business and entrepreneurship. As I am quite a practical person I find one of the best ways to learn is to teach and hence the opportunity to share wisdom and develop ideas. The challenge with this, and much to my indignation over the last few years, is that while I can help someone develop an idea or change direction on a concept I can’t influence or impact their motivations or drive. People either have it or they don’t.

I used to be of the belief that anyone could be an entrepreneur but as I have spent the last few years mentoring and developing a number of businesses it has become much more apparent to me that you either have it or you haven’t. Not everyone is destined to jump into the unknown, listen to their gut and work many thankless hours on an idea not many people believe in. And so more recently I have focused my energies on those people who have that instinct and just need a guiding hand to help them climb the ladder and make the next step. Maybe I should persevere more with those that have the ambition but lack the capability but at the moment it takes up so much energy that I end up neglecting others and opportunities that also are deserving of attention.

Last year when my father, Joachim, died from Covid-19 my mother setup a fund in his memory, the Joachim Roeser Memorial Fund which we designed to help give those budding entrepreneurs, who have what it takes, the leg up they needed to bring their ideas to life. It was well supported by friends, family and colleagues of Joachim as he too was a great mentor and so it was on the back of this that earlier this year we launched the JRMF21 competition to find the next businesses the fund could support.

Essentially the fund was offering mentoring support and a grant to help bring ideas to life. We had a number of excellent applicants and my mother and I met with a number that presented to us their idea and ambitions. One that stood out was a small team who had studied together at Imperial College London and had come up with an innovative self-watering green wall for your home. Their presentation was slick and their ambition grand but realistic with a clear goal on where the grant would be spent.

Following their success at being awarded the grant and a few virtual meetings with myself I am pleased to see that today the business started on its journey to production with the launch of their Kickstarter campaign that within a few hours has already reached 100% of their target. While I would like to think we helped on that journey the reality is that we probably just accelerated it a little bit as the big push came from the hard work and dedication by the team to produce a world class product. They had a clear vision on what they wanted to achieve and how it would be done.

The business, Shirinoku is focused on bringing nature into the home and more information on their wall hanging system, Noku Canvas can be viewed here. Their plan will be to launch a range of products and they will start shipping the Noku Canvas next year. If you would like to get your hands on one I suggest signing up to their Kickstarter campaign.

I hope to continue to providing support to the team and in the meantime it is great to see such a positive start from Joachim’s fund in supporting entrepreneurship and excellence.

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