By: Annette Perez Issue: Transformation Section: Government At ICOSA, we pride ourselves on leading by example. We reach out to collaborative partners, leverage our resources to support them and believe we are building an ecosystem of connected leaders who are putting their noses to the grindstone and pushing for change on important topics all over the globe. So when an idea evolves into something actionable, we challenge ourselves to give it a shot.
ICOSA itself was born out of the need to spark a fresh start. Her parent, the CAP family of companies, faced enormous—almost insurmountable threats—about 10 years ago when CEO/founder Gayle Dendinger began conceiving the notion of pulling together a network for connection and collaboration. We believe in fresh ideas, new energy and hard work. Few sectors of industry reflect that better than the American start-up community. Great ideas are being turned into exciting new companies, and every day we see glimmers of hope in the recovering economy. Such was the case a couple of months ago.
So what are we doing? We have a new project focus in a start-up of our own called Starto.tv. Starto.tv is the brainchild of Gayle Dendinger and Eli Regalado, who recognized that if we applied our resources to this space, we could drive visibility to some of these young companies, partner with important organizations such as Startup America (www.s.co) and spark exciting changes all the way around.
We have built a state-of-the-art television studio here at ICOSA. We have the technology to compete with the best in TV, and we have a scrappy, fast-learning, smart group of willing people who are excited about the prospects. Our new show, which is being prepared weekly for an IP/TV broadcast on our YouTube channel, is THE show for American entrepreneurs. Made by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, it is focused on what young companies need to know.
Starto.tv has news segments, a bit of comedy, “man on the street” interviews and more. Regular features with Startup America regional partners highlight successes around the country. We have an informative “whiteboard” session in each episode where we bring industry leaders from different disciplines to offer quick lessons for young companies. And we anchor the show with solid interviews with the best minds in business from all over the country. Just in the past week we have spoken to Jigar Shah, formerly of the Carbon War Room and founder of Sun Edison, and Wing Lam, the founder and owner of the iconic Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
Leaders such as Shah and Lam remind us of important lessons that apply to all businesses as well as to start-ups. Shah, for example, spoke of the challenges he faced when he realized that his bold new ideas in solar were going to require lightning-fast deployment. Customers snapped up his ideas so fast that he struggled to keep up at times. But he knew he was on to something, and he never gave up or assumed he would not succeed.
Lam inspired us with his down-to-earth approach, both with his phenomenal success and his humility. He talks about supporting other entrepreneurs as part of his obligation to give back and as part of the “circle of life” of business. Both Jigar Shah and Wing Lam, as well as the dozens of others Starto has talked to in the past weeks, inspire us.
By coincidence, both Shah and Lam were born into immigrant families and talked about the great influence of parents who, in Shah’s case, literally bought him a book about energy that sparked his interest in solar power as a child. And Lam, who is of mixed ethnicity, talked about seeing his mother and father open a Chinese restaurant in South America. Both gentlemen looked at their prospects at one critical moment and rather than asking, “Why?” they asked, “Why not?” and they pursued their visions relentlessly until they recognized success.
Undaunted determination is one of the great pillars of ICOSA and now of Starto.tv. Everyone can apply lessons from start-ups to reignite their own passions and to reinvigorate their work. Leaders such as this remind us that if you can imagine it, you can do it. All of us should look to these bold innovators for inspiration and, if nothing else, to see what lessons we can glean as we work together on our model of multifaceted success.
To watch Starto.tv, visit http://www.icosa.tv/shows/starto-tv/.