As entrepreneurs, you have a lot on your plate when developing your business, so why not reach out to a mentor who can share their experience and guide you through the uncertainty of Entrepreneurship?  

Portia’s extensive background in engineering, business and entrepreneurship provide ICUBE Start-Ups with the right perspective and skill development to succeed. 

Portia Asli is an engineer turned serial entrepreneur. Her professional career started as a civil engineer working on multi-billion dollars infrastructure development in Canada. As an engineer, she was always creating innovative solutions and being passionate about addressing the world’s biggest challenges, this led her to couple her engineering skills with business skills to have a transformative impact.

Below is the interview and insights Portia was able to share with us:

Everyone has a different story on how their entrepreneurial career began, could you tell us about yours?  

My ambitions took me to study an MBA at Cambridge University alongside world-class leaders. There I was inspired with incredible entrepreneurial ideas and given the tools to bring these ideas to life while creating transformative socio-economic impact. Since my MBA, I have built international businesses from the ground-up in healthcare wearables, online education and digital marketing.

Today, I am the Founder & CEO of Px Venture Services where we work with venture leaders to build sustainable and scalable businesses. We are a partner with several organizations, innovations hubs, incubators and accelerators to accelerate the growth of pre-seed and seed-stage ventures through capital and customer acquisition.

What is your role at ICUBE UTM?

Px Venture Services works with ICUBE UTM to deliver bespoke curriculums in capital and customer acquisitions. At Px we really pride ourselves for building curriculums that are founded on these values:

  • Real experiences from the entrepreneurial trenches;
  • Backed by world-class startup cases;
  • Transformative & engaging experience for the venture leaders; and
  • Achievable results broken-down into executable immediate actions.

This is how Radwan Al-Nachawati, Co-founder at LinkMentalHealth an ICUBE UTM venture puts it:

Where does your interest in mentorship stem from?

My interest in mentorship stems from many people considering me ‘inspirational’. From a young competitive athlete to becoming a global entrepreneur, people always approached me to learn the techniques and strategies that enabled me to achieve ambitious goals. I am deeply passionate about helping others grow by distilling processes into simple immediately executable actions and motivating them that it is possible to achieve anything you envision. This is one of the main principles of setting up Px Venture Services – to empower big dreamers and ambitious entrepreneurs build the next unicorn.

How do you personally define “mentoring”? In your opinion, what are the factors that play into successful mentorship?

A mentor is someone who has been there, done that, made all the mistakes and is able to communicate the lessons learned effectively that guide mentees to achieve astounding results. Mentoring is very different than coaching. A mentor holds the answers to key questions, while in coaching it’s vice versa. A successful mentor is someone who has been in the ‘trenches’ and is able to reflect, analyze past experiences and formulate a step by step solutions to guide the mentee.

Who do you mentor currently?

Through Px Venture Services, we partner with various innovation hubs, incubators and accelerators to serve their venture leaders. Aside from programming and curriculum development, we provide coaching, mentoring & advisory services. Through Px, we have coached, mentored & advised over 200 startup founders across diverse sectors (FinTech, EdTech, CleanTech, IoT, AR/VR, Food, e-Commerce, AgriTech, Health) on investment strategy, product-market fit, customer acquisition, B2B/B2C sales and online/offline marketing strategy.

Do you believe there is anything missing from mentoring startups today?

The world of building startups can include young leaders in their teens to experienced corporate executives who are taking their first-ever dive into entrepreneurship. No matter their experience, age or personal and professional background, every person or organization involved in mentoring should know that our primary role is to motivate and inspire mentees to achieve their biggest dreams. Mentees are often looking for validations and they turn to their mentors for this validation. We should be cognizant of that and be aware that the way we speak, react to their ideas and how we direct them is going to truly impact the mentee’s lives forever.

Pitch Workshop with Portia Asli, September 10th 2019

What advice, both personal and professional, would you give to startups right now?

My professional advice to startup leaders is to test your ideas with real customers as soon as you can. Even when it is a concept. I have worked with numerous tech startups that had secured paying customers prior to building the product.

My personal advice to startup leaders is to take care of your brain health. Sleep. Eat well. Exercise. When you take care of your brain health, you will become a high performer. It’s the difference between thinking quickly on your feet to answer investors’ tough questions to secure that deal versus having a brain fog while in front of investors and losing that massive investment opportunity.

Can you tell us more about the Pitch workshops you lead? What purpose do they serve?

Through Px Venture Services, we absolutely love supporting ICUBE UTM’s mission by providing an incredibly rich curriculum to enable the growth of startups. Our curriculums fall under ‘capital & customer acquisition’ umbrella delivered as several unique workshops focusing on business-to-business sales, digital marketing for business-to-customer, raising investments to name a few.

Through each of these workshops, startup leaders and UTM students are immersed in world-class startup cases that are now unicorns, being completely engaged in hands-on activities so that they walkway with specific actions they can take immediately after the workshop.

Why do you think it is important for people to attend? How do they help young entrepreneurs/students get started in their careers?

The team at ICUBE UTM have been working incredibly hard to raise funds in order to offer these curriculums to the UTM student and ICUBE UTM startups. ICUBE UTM covers the costs so that budding entrepreneurs at UTM have the opportunity to soak up incredible knowledge and acquire strong skill sets to build an impactful business.

Ahmad Malik one of the ICUBE UTM venture leaders who attended our workshops said, “A big thank you for such an amazing workshop event with ICUBE UTM. As somebody who has been involved with multiple startups for a few years now, it was amazing to see how much value that workshop brought. My partner and I were recently going through the notes we took and found them very useful in bettering our business structure, understanding our customers, and even highlighting what steps we should be focusing on next.”