Episode 20 - Vikas Shah

Adam Asks... Why aren’t local businesses reaching their potential?

Vikas Shah MBE is a philanthropist, a serial entrepreneur, and an investor that has a passion for technology-driven businesses. He holds positions as Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan (Lisbon), Honorary Professor of Business at the University of Manchester and an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School. It’s fair to say that he has an impressive CV and is a powerful mentor for the next generation of entrepreneurs. However, his multi-faceted portfolio doesn’t stop there. Vikas also hosts an interview series – Thought Economics – which discusses poignant topics with some of the world’s leading thinkers, including Holocaust survivors, Athletes, Presidents and Celebrities - just to name a few.

Vikas started his business career at the tender age of 14, exploiting the early stages of the internet boom to create a graphic design business to fund his dream of becoming a pilot. An impressive start right? In this podcast, we discover what he’s achieved since on his entrepreneurial journey.

Unlike most entrepreneurs, Vikas doesn’t have a strict life plan. Instead, he has an innate curiosity to follow paths to see where they lead. In this podcast, we discover how Vikas’ desire for variety led him on a journey full of disruption that expands beyond his angel investments in tech-enabled or related businesses and deep into elements he never expected, such as his practical involvement in teaching and his inspiring philanthropy. He also shares how he juggles his time – subsequently encouraging listeners to apply a ruthlessness to their priorities and to hire the best people to help you achieve your objectives. He also discusses how he consciously defies the unsustainable 'always on the grind’ culture by ensuring he has time for hobbies and downtime with his adorable cats.

Vikas offers advice to those wanting to build their own business in an entrepreneurial landscape that discourages focus and encourages distraction through an environment of collective hype and shares why securing investment is only the beginning of your journey as a responsible leader. Listeners should expect insight into what Vikas looks for as an early-stage investor, common mistakes he sees start-ups make and why Manchester still has a long way to go in being a top global digital city.

Finally, Vikas reflects on how interviewing peace-makers and incredible survivors can challenge how we look at the world.

Enjoyed this episode? Check out more podcasts in the #AdamAsks series here  or explore the Adam blog for more news and insight. You can also follow Leon on Twitter and LinkedIn as not to miss any future episodes!

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