Is innovation enough?

Entrepreneurs are passionate people. This extends to their work, their dreams, their employees, even their data. We believe passion fuels innovation and innovative thinking. So when the latest round of numbers came out from the EY Global job creation survey, which polled over 6000 treps in 21 countries, we saw an interesting trend: treps value their innovative thinking, but not when it comes to financial expertise.

How a trep sets the table

Treps bring a lot to the table. First and foremost, especially in a weak economy and unstable times, they often bring optimism and remain confident about growth prospects. That can go a long way in keeping a startup moving forward. Part of that positive mindset, as the survey reports, is their belief that the passion they have for innovation is actually their true differentiator.

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Job creation survey -- Innovation

But the survey also shows that these visionaries are well aware that innovation does not always include financial savvy. The numbers show that while the responders may have innovative thinking down pat, they are reaching outside their organizations to get the right people and skills to handle the numbers.

Venture capital joins the party

Jeff Grabow, Business Development Director in EY’s Venture Capital Advisory practice, says, "VCs can add a great deal of value. While an entrepreneur is the inspiration and genesis of the idea, a good VC can be critical to moving the venture forward." In other words, it can be an ideal marriage of convenience and necessity.

Wanted: the most important skill

In the Global job creation survey, participants were asked, "What skill(s) do you wish you had that you didn’t when you created your company?" Finance leapt ahead to number one (39%). It comes in far ahead of human resources (22%) and even industry knowledge (21%). "Treps know that their greatest contribution is their vision," Grabow says. "And they also understand that bringing in people with the right financial skills will make a big difference as the company develops."

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Job creation survey

When asked, "What was the most valuable skill that you contributed to your company’s success," the answer was "vision and inventiveness" (39%). Only 2% of respondents cited "finance" as their most valuable contribution.

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Job creation survey

That’s actually not surprising to us. And it’s also one of the traits that VCs look for-- an openness to help with finance. Grabow adds, "It’s true that VCs generally look to invest in a company that’s a standout with its innovation and has a strong vision. But VCs bring smart money to the table and that’s where they can add value. If a company recognizes that they need that kind of partner, it can be a great relationship."