Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021: Featuring Steven Brockshus, Nancy Mwirotsi, Steve Sherlock + Abby Rowling
The Greater Des Moines Partnership has collected stories from people within the startup community to share during Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 8-12, 2021 in an effort to celebrate the community of creators and entrepreneurs to amplify the message that Iowa is a place to start something. See what Steven Brockshus (FarmlandFinder), Nancy Mwirotsi (Pi515), Steve Sherlock (Pablow, Inc.) and Abby Rowling (Gravitate Coworking) have to say about being in the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneurship community.
Blog images captured by Jami Milne during the Summer Startup Tour.
My Favorite Place to Create …
SB: … is on the roof of our barn back at home on the family farm.
NM: … my mind.
AR: There’s no ideal setting outside of having a group. I feed off of other’s energies and ideas — you could say
this is why I love places like Gravitate so much!
SS: I find it easier to think laterally when I can see the horizon, especially while on a roundtrip. Without sounding corny, to me there is something about an expanse of land or sea and imagining the continuous possibilities.
The Most Courageous Thing I’ve Ever Done Is …
SB: … ask other people for help when I didn’t know what to do.
NM: … allowing myself to know that it is OK to fail.
AR: This is a tough one! Once I turned down an amazing job offer to pursue an internship learning front-end
SS: I’m not sure if this was courageous or just stupid, though in my early 20’s I once jumped across kind of a chasm called, “the nerve test,” found within The Grampians, an Australian national park. I basically had little fear and luckily lived to tell the story back then, though if I had slipped it would have been certain death. However, just a couple of years ago, in 2019, as an adult, I returned to “the nerve test.” Alas, I had lost my nerve! Being a parent and a responsible person, my courage had turned to safer endeavors. Sherlock pictured in 2019.
If I Could Go Back in Time to When I Started My Business/Project, I Would Tell Myself …
SB: … to enjoy all moments of the process, even the unknowns and missteps.
NM: … narrow the focus and be good at it.
AR: Make sure you prioritize yourself as much as you prioritize others!
SS: I’m pretty sure that I have made a lot more mistakes than I have done things well. And each screwup has helped point me in a better direction, more or less. Hence, I’d tell myself to not take it so seriously, and talk to as many people as you can that have “been there, done that” as a way to mitigate foreseeable mistakes.
What Do you Love About the Iowa Entrepreneurship Community?
SB: I love how willing to help everyone is in answering questions and providing guidance.
NM: People in the Iowa entrepreneurship community are the best. They are very helpful and always available. I have benefited from their knowledge and support.
AR: I love that our community is so willing and able to help and collaborate with each other. I see this in the
startup community, our local shops, restaurants and bars. We all want to support and celebrate our
neighbors and friends.
SS: I love that the close-knit community is drawn to help existing entrepreneurs to expand and the generous insights the community also provides to those looking to start their first company. As they say “Access to folks in Des Moines isn’t 6 degrees of separation, but rather one.” I find this to be true, given the access I’ve been fortunate enough to have with very smart folks in the insurance space here in Des Moines. That wealth of experience has been instrumental in helping me to create and grow a startup.
What I Would Tell Others Who Are Starting Something …
SB: … focus on one very deep pain point, then find a way to solve that really well.
NM: Entrepreneurship is a game of grit. Be ready and willing to do the work, learn, grow and repeat. Find someone who’s already there, learn from them and seek advice.
AR: Don’t force yourself to do it alone. There are people, resources and mentors who can and want to help!
SS: Try to understand what you are good at. Are you the type that loves building the business? Or, are you perhaps more of an innovator? Do you have specialist skills that you can bring the table? Trying to do everything yourself, I believe, is a very difficult path to success. Thus, the more you are able to build a team around you that covers the major skill sets for your startup model, the better chance of success. Your business will benefit from such an approach. A good book to read on the topic is Entrepreneurial DNA by Joe Abraham.
Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need or sign up for Mentor Connection to build relationships with a trusted group of mentors.