Risk Mitigation

By Saskia Eijkelhof

Taking risks is an essential part of being an entrepreneur and is, usually only in hindsight, the most interesting part that helps you grow on both an individual and company level. But even though risk-taking is the most interesting, it is also the most challenging. The Mercator Launch IMPROVE programme is designed to help you, an innovative entrepreneur, mitigate foreseeable risks and reduce uncertainty. According to one of last year’s participants it’s ‘A great programme to start with’. This is for good reason, as the programme encourages entrepreneurs to consider different types of risks and prepare themselves accordingly. To illustrate this, let’s take a quick look at two startups that reduced risks by participating in the IMPROVE programme.

First up, startup Yogademics, that started off by teaching yoga to academics in order to reduce stress and improve state of mind. While participating in the IMPROVE programme Yogademics found that it was hard to penetrate the general yoga market. Instead of this, they started looking for their opportunity, their niche. As a PhD himself, the founder of Yogademics identified a need amongst PhDs to reduce stress and improve their Health. That’s when they started exploring the niche market focussed on PhDs. The IMPROVE programme helped them perform solid analysis of the yoga-market, after which they were able to easily define their market segment. Understanding the market and knowing their market segment helped them to focus on the right customers, which in turn mitigated risks.

It’s not just the risk of the market that needs to be taken into account. Let’s take a look at another example. While participating in the IMPROVE programme, AeroCount designed their complete technology and R&D roadmap for the next 5 years. This helped them oversee the possibilities for their technology and take the right measures to mitigate risk, improve technical feasibility and create impact. They waited to launch their particle detector at a time when new legislation was put in place regarding fine particles and air quality. Waiting to launch their product at a time of opportunity, mitigated AeroCount’s risk. This goes to show that preparation is extremely important to combat technological risks.

To conclude, entrepreneurship means taking risks, but the right preparation helps you a lot. As becomes clear from the cases of startups Yogademics and AeroCount, risks can exist in different ways such as economical, organisational and technological risks. But even though they are quite scary, all of them can be mitigated and reduced. Precisely that preparation and the feeling that you ‘did everything possible’ is the part where the Mercator Launch IMPROVE programme comes into play and supports you every step of the journey.

Read more about the Mercator Launch IMPROVE programme here!