No successful company was ever started by one person alone

I recently watched an excellent, honest and down-to-earth 2012 TEDX talk by Ernesto Sirolli on entrepreneurship.

He talked about helping entrepreneurs realise the opportunity they had identified, find the resources they needed and then work with them to transform their passion into a way of making a living.

The bottom line is that this does not happen if the ‘expert’ takes a paternalistic or patronizing attitude towards the entrepreneurs. And to help the entrepreneur, the advisor, coach, mentor or whatever we call them has to shut up and listen first.

Learning Through Failure

His experience of working with entrepreneurs comes from his time working for an NGO in Africa and absolutely failing with every project. The more his group tried to help the local community, the more damage they did.


The entrepreneur has a passion and a dream to become something better. The way Ernesto now approaches the task of helping them is to take the position of a friendly, interested ‘doctor of enterprise or business.’

To sit down with them in their favourite spaces, work with them on the opportunity they have identified and find the resources to help them make it happen so that they can make a living.

What Ernesto does, through listening to them, is to help them find the knowledge and help they are looking for. Not what he thinks they need because he is the expert or know-it-all.

He doesn’t believe the world’s environmental problems will be solved through governments, research labs or universities. But through the work of entrepreneurs.

Working with Entrepreneurs

His secret for working with entrepreneurs consists of three parts:

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Dedicated passionate service
  3. Telling the truth about entrepreneurship

It isn’t easy to do it all on your own

The essence of what he says is that the entrepreneur has to have a fantastic product and marketing and be a brilliant financial manager of the money. 

This is the hardest lesson to learn for the lonely entrepreneur working away, trying to make it.

He has yet to meet the entrepreneur who has been able to do all three: make a product, sell it and look after the money successfully.

No successful company was ever started by one person alone.

Please enjoy watching him for yourself…