Today I speak with a serial entrepreneur Tom Hickman, co-founder of Bridge Global. His passion has led him to where he is now and I want to find out more.
Hi Tom, how are you today?
I’m sitting in a Café in central London working through applications for our BridgeGlobal Rio programme and enjoying a Sunday morning coffee.
Can you give me a bit of background about yourself?
I’m from London, studied in Edinburgh and started my career launching an internet business in Santiago Chile back in 1996. Since then I’ve worked on the launch of BBC Online, and created and sold a couple of businesses. I’m passionate about enterprise, education and supporting young people to seize the opportunities presented by the way the world is changing
So what is Bridge Global?
We run programmes that help ambitious graduates develop skills, experience and networks that make them highly employable. Not only are top employers crying out for grads with global experience but the best way to start an entrepreneurial career is to live and work in the most dynamic cities in the world.
What was the inspiration behind it?
My own experience launching a business in South America and the book The World is Flat.
What is the business model?
We are running B2C, B2B and government funding models concurrently while developing a technology strategy.
What has been a crucial element in the growth of your business?
Focus, great internal systems and strong trust within the team
How important do you feel the exposure to other cultures is for individuals on your programmes?
It’s the critical intangible benefit. Understanding not only how other people think and see the world in other countries but how our own cultural perspective creates their own biases are vital soft skills in today's world.
What have been your key challenges in running Bridge Global?
Running a team spread over 4 countries is part of the challenge and excitement.
Where you always an entrepreneurial type?
I think so – starting a business provides a clear sense of the impact you are making and can provide both intense challenges and great freedom – all things I like to have in my life.
What has been consistent in all your entrepreneurial ventures?
Tried to be involved in developing new business models – not always successfully.
What advice would you give any first time entrepreneurs?
Build the right team first, this is the critical foundation – the idea is secondary. Get started and have the right balance between flexibility and focus.