Meet Joysy John, founder of the London Chapter of the Startup Leadership Program
Startup Leadership Program is a global nonprofit organization to train the best innovators and entrepreneurs to be startup CEOs and to connect them with a very high quality network of Fellows.
The program, which is highly selective, provides a 6 months training aimed at current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Founded in 2006 in Boston by Anupendra Sharma, (Partner, Siemens Venture Capital) and Puran Dang (Founder, Minuteman Group), SLP then spread internationally, from the US, to the UK, to India and China.
The program is currently in 12 cities all around the world with over 500 Fellows.
In 6 years SLP Fellows have started 300 companies and raised $ 220 million dollars.
The program includes startup CEOs in tech, clean tech, life sciences and social sector because "diversity spurs creativity".
Joysy John, a young financial services expert with a passion for entrepreneurship, runs the London Chapter of SLP that she founded in summer 2011. Mrs John grew up in India, got a degree in computer engineering in Singapore and worked in financial services in Singapore and New York. Six years ago she moved to London, where she is currently working at Morgan Stanley.
She is going to start soon her own venture on women empowerment, an issue she is very passionate about: “Running the SLP program gave me the confidence to start something from the beginning and make it a success.”
As Joysy John explains: “The idea of the program is to bring together a diverse group of people who can learn from each other and support each other in their entrepreneurial journey “.
SLP enables to connect with a global network of founders, business partners, experts, advisors and investors and to access financing through angel investors and seed/venture capital firms in the SLP network.
How did you get started?
I have always been very passionate about entrepreneurship and education and I have been involved in a couple of different nonprofit organizations before founding the London Chapter of SLP.
A friend of mine from Business School who was VC working for Amadeus Capital met SLP founder Anupendra Sharma at a conference in the US and, as he was looking to expand the program into Europe, he asked her if she knew someone who wanted to take the program to London. She said I was the best person for this because I used to run the Women in Business Club at the London Business School.
After joining the program I had to follow up all the team, then to speak with the people who founded the chapters in the US and in Bangalore, to understand what is required from a founder, what are the challenges and how I could learn from their experiences.
That gave me the interest and the confidence to actually run the program, so I got started last summer, putting together a team, as well as advisors, mentors and sponsors.
What is the peculiarity of the training SLP provides?
SLP is different from a business school education. Our program is not a replacement for business school. The training is much more hands on and is very much real life focused. For example the case studies we work on are not case studies from a different generation but case studies of the Fellows who are going through the program.
There are some faculties from leading business schools involved - such as Harvard Business School, London Business School and Berkley Business School - that teach one or two elements of the program, but the majority of the program is delivered by entrepreneurs, investors and Subject Matter Experts.
Our program is an amazing growth story of how, without having any full time employee, the program has grown thanks to the real passion of the people who are part of the network.
How is the program brought to other cities in practice?
In some cases Fellows who have gone through the program start the program in other cities. In other cases people who are new to the program but who are passionate about the idea and believe in the values and the mission of the organization start the program in other cities. This was my case.
What are SLP plans for the future?
Opening in new cities around the world and also doubling the number of women, because at present we only have 87 women out of nearly 500 Fellows, so we want to increase the number of women entrepreneurs and the number of women angel investors.
We also want to increase the number of social entrepreneurs: in fact the percentage of our Fellows who are Social Entrepreneurs is very low compared to other SLP Fellows sectors.
I think we really need to focus on women and social enterprise because going forward the way of doing business will not be different from those businesses that not only generate profits but also generate social impact.
Are you going to expand the program in Italy as well?
If we find someone who is very passionate about the program we will be very happy to start it in Italy too. At the moment we are still exploring the option.
The places we are working on in Europe to expand the program are: Munich, Paris and Moscow. Tel Aviv also looks like a possibility. In all these cities there are people who showed us that they are interested in bringing the program there.