Diane Maigrot, a serial entrepreneur in Mauritius, has launched many businesses starting right after her BTS Graduation.
Diane joined Turbine as a start-up coach since May 2017 and worked exclusively with our first two start-ups Mauritius Conscious and DodoWorkPlay. Diane now work full-time at Turbine and coaches many start-ups in various fields. She shares with us her entrepreneurial journey and experience of being a coach for start-ups.
Diane, tell us about your entrepreneurial journey?
I started my first company at the age of 22. Young and motivated, I took up the challenge and started from scratch, experiencing the ups and downs, the do’s and don’ts, the must and must not that make up an entrepreneur’s journey. Today, I can proudly say that I know all the steps that an entrepreneur has to go through in order to successfully launch his or her business. I ran Tibo & Zia for 16 years, a company that I nurtured as a baby. It has really been one of the best experiences of my life. I rebounded from kids clothing to car washing by creating Ecowash in December 2015. Changing and starting again from scratch was a huge challenge; learn a new industry with all its specificity was hectic. What kept me going forward was my contribution to the local economy by creating jobs and providing a green solution.
Based on your experience, what is the most common issue that start-ups face?
The most pertinent issue I identify in startups is “money”, may it be a shortage or a mismanagement. We (I mean myself and other entrepreneurs) often struggle to find investment and people who believe in our entrepreneurial capabilities. And we often underestimate financial needs for the starting phase and the low income period.
Why choose to work at Turbine?
When I saw Turbine job advert in the newspaper on a Sunday, I knew it was not a coincidence. Sometimes you just need to acknowledge that things happen for a reason. I drafted my CV for the 1st time at the age of 38, the rest is history.
Working at Turbine gives me the chance to collaborate in the creation of an ecosystem which helps, supports and empowers entrepreneurs. I want to give what I did not receive in my entrepreneurial journey; we often feel lonely and we stress about taking all the decisions alone without having access to crucial information. Having someone to share and discuss with is essential to keep being boosted and carry on our mission with full confidence.
How is Turbine best suited to help start-ups?
If you are a start-up, Turbine is the place to be: we are here to support your business, celebrate your progress, advise you on different options, discuss with you on the pros and cons, help you prioritize your work and keep in mind your objectives.
What I like the most about Turbine support is that entrepreneurs remain in the driving seat: they still experience what it is to be an entrepreneur and keep the control of their respective start-up. We, at Turbine really just act as a vigilant, seating next to the entrepreneurs, looking out for and analyzing with them the potential dangers and foreseeing possible opportunities. By the way, Turbine start-ups really appreciate this decision making freedom too!
What would be the benefits of being a Turbine incubated start-up?
Being a Turbine incubated start-up is really an advantage: if you have an innovative idea, you can start for free in a very dynamic co-working space full of people in diverse fields. Hence, you enrich your network. You would soon realize you are not the only one facing entrepreneurial challenges; it will give you courage and eventually boost you to work harder. Turbine helps entrepreneurs in forging an unbreakable spirit to keep going and be productive.
Apart from an inspiring place to work, incubated start-ups have a dedicated business coach each who follows business progress, helps in identifying the best options, gives proven tools and many more. Turbine incubated start-ups get free access to tailor-made entrepreneurial workshops done by top experts of Mauritius. I have seen many start-uppers increasing their knowledge on essential start-up topics. Moreover, Turbine helps innovative businesses to test their market and product within Turbine and ENL vast network which is very valuable to get genuine feedback. And this may further lead to business opportunities.
What would be the advice and tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If I had tips to give, it would be: Start! Don’t be afraid. It is a life experience, with ups and downs but for people having entrepreneurial mindset, it is essential as it makes us feel alive. Another advise would be, and here quoting the man I look up to: You never fail, you either win or you learn ~ Nelson Mandela.