Dell’s Ingrid Devin: ‘We’ve found the two key things every businessperson needs’

16 May 2019

Ingrid Devin. Image: Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network

Ingrid Devin of the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network has some words of wisdom for newcomers in the start-up community.

Ingrid Devin is the director for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN). This international network creates a forum for global women founders and CEOs to share best practices, build business opportunities, explore international expansion and access new resources.

Prior to this role, Devin was the EMEA lead for diversity and inclusion in Dell, where she was responsible for implementing and driving a strategy focused on leadership and accountability, inclusive culture, and external brand.

Describe your role and what you do.

I lead a global network for women entrepreneurs who are looking to grow and scale their businesses internationally. The network helps women entrepreneurs gain access to a global network, technology and funding though our global DWEN summit and our Women Funding Women global events series.

In your opinion, which areas of technology hold the greatest scope for opportunities?

Entrepreneurs need to understand new technological trends and how that technology could help to grow and scale their business. With 44trn gigabytes of data predicted in our world for 2020, entrepreneurs will need to focus on gaining value from that data, driving new innovations and fostering more efficient processes that will ensure their business is best placed for growth.

Are good entrepreneurs born or can they be made?

In my experience, any person can become a successful entrepreneur – they just need a strong drive to solve problems in the world and the courage to bounce back from their failures.

What are the qualities of a good founder?

Resilience, persistence and the ability to bounce back. You also need to have the courage to start again or pivot your idea if your original idea is not successful.

What does a successful entrepreneur need to do every day?

Make sure that everything you do is of value to you and your business, and remember that your time is your most valuable commodity.

What resources and tools are an absolute must for your arsenal?

Through the DWEN network, we’ve found the two key things every businessperson needs is a wide network of experienced entrepreneurs to ask for advice and share past mistakes, and access to technology that keeps your business model competitive.

How do you assemble a good team?

It’s very easy to hire people who think the same way as you, but you need to have people in your team with different perspectives and ideas as this leads to innovative solutions, which are crucial to every start-up. You also need to have an inclusive culture so everyone has the opportunity to be successful.

What is the critical ingredient to start-up success?

I think being passionate about what you do is absolutely critical but you also have to balance that with a solid business plan.

What are the biggest mistakes that founders make?

Many founders often start their companies with a great idea rather than starting with the real problem. A great idea will only work if it solves a problem for your target customers.

Who is your business hero and why?

I don’t have one particular business hero, but I love to see entrepreneurs and companies in Ireland who are solving a problem for customers, making the world a better place and making a profit at the same time!

What’s the number one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?

Your network is crucial to your success. You need to connect with other entrepreneurs who know what you don’t know. As one entrepreneur said to me, ‘My company has €5m in revenue and now I need to connect with others who have made €10m so I can figure out how to grow my company from €5m to €10m!’

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