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Entrepreneur-ista Links of the Day!

Today I’ve read a handful of fabulous posts about entrepreneur-istas, and I’d like to share them with you.

1) I loved Alicia Morga’s series of posts from her trip to Azerbaijan. She writes:

So why Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire? Well, I was invited by the U.S. State Department to share my experiences as a female entrepreneur with women around the country.

When I landed in Azerbaijan, cultural attaché Chris Jones picked me up at the airport and immediately handed me a cell phone and a large packet. I felt like I had parachuted into a scene in Mission Impossible. …

Azerbaijan national dances - Keçiməməsi

Azerbaijani folk dance, via Flickr Creative Commons

Talking to women, young and old, I learned how much they defeat themselves. They see no use in trying. There is a culture of can’t – even in the face of real life examples of can.

There are successful women entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan. I was fortunate to meet many, including a woman who started the few and largest bookstores, a woman who opened a tea house for women, and even a woman who started her own bakery with another woman friend at the age of 52. Where at least one person has accomplished something, in my mind it means that more can follow – the path is forged and it’s possible.

But I was frustrated to run up against mindsets that were either completely fixed and negative or unrealistically attached to Oprah-isms – dream it and it will come true – without moving to put in the work. Adding to the problem was the general fear of admitting to not knowing something and a very palpable fear of failure.

Though it’s not difficult to see how that might flow from the top. Dictatorships are not exactly known for their creativity. It’s hard to be creative when you’re not allowed to fail. It’s easy to feel defeated when you’re surrounded by corruption.

Still I did my best to convey hope and inspire the women I met to pursue education and consider entrepreneurship.

Many of the women I met we’re eager to learn and welcoming. Young girls came up to me asking for pictures and easily draped their arms around me. One young girl went to hug me and stopped abruptly, catching herself and sucking in her breath like she had seen a ghost. “Is it okay to touch you?” she asked, “I know that Americans don’t like to be touched.” I laughed and gave her a big hug. [more]

She also gives a list of practical tips for women traveling to Azerbaijan, such as:

some odd but true cultural guidelines:
a. It’s not appropriate to go outside with wet hair; if you walk around with wet hair it implies that you just had sex
b. It’s also not appropriate to put on Chapstick in public – again, it has sexual connotations [more]

2) I was delighted to see fellow StartUp Chile entrepreneur Yifan Zhang on the list of 20 Brazen Young Professionals to Watch in 2012. She’s in great company! Guess who nominated her? Here’s Brazen’s blurb about this brilliant young entrepreneur:

Yifan Zhang: A recent Harvard graduate, Yifan founded Gym-Pact, a mobile app that motivates you to work out; it launches nationally on Jan. 1. Yifan also founded Styleta, a nonprofit fashion organization.

3) I really liked this post by Pam Slim: The Deeper Root. She asks:

Why are you doing this (business) (parenting) (difficult project) (job)?

What will happen if you succeed?

Will it be worth it even if you fail?

Why does it matter?

What will you regret not doing?

What will you rejoice leaving as a legacy? [more]

4) Last but not least, I did this interview for The Workpreneur, which Ryan titled La Entrepreneur-ista. 

Have a great day!

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