Governance For Startups: Learn By Doing At Dubai Startup Hub’s Workshop In September

Governance For Startups: Learn By Doing At Dubai Startup Hub’s Workshop In September
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Governance For Startups: Learn By Doing At Dubai Startup Hub’s Workshop In September

It’s all very well for the seasoned folk to ask a wee new startup about their board and evaluate whether to invest in them based on the responses. But for a founder who is only just beginning to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship and setting up shop, it’s an intimidating, time-swallowing challenge to take the reins of a board into their hands as well.

Having a board really matters however, and is a crucial pre-requisite in the startup world that can impact the future direction of your company and fundraising.

The Dubai Startup Hub – the entrepreneurial support arm of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry – understands this challenge, which is why they’re offering 14 startups in Dubai the opportunity to participate in a board meeting simulation workshop. The event is run in partnership with C3Partners (C3P), the advisory arm of UAE-based Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3) that fosters the social enterprise ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa region.

“The objective of the workshop and board meeting simulation is to provide young entrepreneurs – less than 30-years-old – with a practical introduction to governance for start-ups and an opportunity to develop their businesses, converse with experts in a collegiate, collaborative atmosphere and learn the basics of board meetings and engaging with board members,” says Anna-Liisa Goggs, co-founder and COO of C3.

It’s important to recognize, Goggs adds, that a startup board is very different from the board of a more stable, mature company. This difference makes it implausible to expect a traditional board setup

formula to apply.

“Startups focus particularly on future development, competition and operational issues so figuring out who to appoint to a board that may not have clearly defined roles, that needs specialist skills and who won’t simply meet four times a year, can be challenging.”

How does a simulation help?

Unlike larger organizations, Goggs explains, SMEs and established startups that lack skills in certain disciplines may not be able to justify employing senior executives on a full-time basis. Therefore, an “interim management” model provides the ideal solution to engage highly experienced professionals on a part-time or temporary basis in a cost-effective way.

C3P provides business organizations with senior executive support through interim management solutions focused on bringing experience, perspective and specialized know-how to growing and rapidly changing organizations including SMEs and post-Series B startups.

“This knowledge is important for young and growing entrepreneurs because getting to do a trial run at a board meeting with new investors, which can be fraught with pitfalls, can help set their expectations, allow them to mistakes and learn from them and be ready to demonstrate their competence when it really matters,” Goggs adds.

Moreover, startup founders tend to have a majority stake in the business and be fully involved with running a business. This makes the need for managerial oversight less of a priority and there is no immediate driver to put in place a board.

“However, as soon as investors are involved they will most probably require a board seat and expect to see some governance norms in place,” Goggs says.

“This is why many entrepreneurs think that good governance is a tick-the-box exercise to appease investors. However, a functioning board in the early stages can be a key driver for success in the long term and good governance can help to share the responsibilities of running a company among different stakeholders, thus freeing up the founder to work more effectively and with more oversight.”

How it works

The 14 startups will be chosen based on an application detailing their business idea that to be screened by Dubai Startup Hub and C3P. The selected startups will then work with C3P, Dubai Startup Hub experts and senior business professionals from amongst Dubai Chamber of Commerce members.

Entrepreneurs can apply by completing a short pitch document that details their business and team, their progress to date and the upcoming challenges or next steps they are facing. In the lead up to the event, they will need to adapt this document into a simple board pack and complete a short quiz.

Entrepreneurs need to have up and running viable businesses to be considered.

Deadline for applications is August 16. To find out more, visit