Entrepreneur Spotlight: Yohann Irani
Our entrepreneur in the spotlight this month is Yohann Irani. Mechanical engineer (by day) and entrepreneur (always), Yohann shares about the power of curiosity in any entrepreneur’s journey.
Yohann Irani is an entrepreneur at heart, who, when he’s not working as a mechanical engineer at Beca, loves learning as much as he can about absolutely everything.
“To me, being an entrepreneur is intrinsic to human nature. In my day to day this looks like following my intellectual curiosity. I love to learn, develop and grow consistently, letting curiosity lead me in any direction.”
This determination to be a lifelong learner is how Yohann’s path crossed with Venture Centure’s in 2018, during Yohann’s fourth year of study at Waikato University.
Seeing one of our events, Grow Plenty (an ‘ecosystem-in-action’ event with examples of some of the leading edge technologies shaping our world), in the university’s email, Yohann encouraged a few of his friends (also studying engineering) to attend with him.
“I was working on a project with three of my mates and told them about the event because as soon-to-be engineers, we might find the event relevant and interesting”.
Despite Yohann’s rallying, his friends were unable to make it, so instead he came along to Grow Plenty with his parents.
“I was blown away by the event! At the end of the session I connected with Jo (Venture Centre co-founder) and immediately asked ‘How did you get these people from all these different fields in one room?’”
This meeting with Jo was just the beginning of Yohann’s connection with our community.
“A few months after the event, Jo gave me a call. She said there was a cool opportunity with a couple of entrepreneurs. Despite my plans to go travelling after uni, my curiosity led me to meet with Mary and Derek.”
The meeting was a success! Yohann resonated with Mary and Derek’s vision of creating significant, sustainable and positive change and decided to stay in touch during his travels.
Of course, exploring overseas was learning-central for Yohann who’s curiosity stirred up even more.
“As I travelled I asked myself, ‘What opportunities are there?’ and more importantly, ‘What problems are there?’. Because you might have some pretty cool ideas but if there’s no problem that needs solving, then your idea is probably not going to be implemented”
Taking this mindset back home with him, Yohann hit the ground running, meeting with Jo, Mary and Derek to be filled in on their progress. Bringing to the team his love for people, Yohann’s focus was client relationships.
“My role was to connect with people in the drone space and see what opportunities arose. I like being around and talking to people so I was in my element.”
Throughout this process, Yohann would meet with Jo on a weekly basis.
“Having conversations with Jo was really beneficial. From her wealth of experience, she would guide and mentor me and it was really cool to bounce my ideas off her. I’d get asked great questions that would help me think about the hurdles in a different way.”
One of the tools Jo introduced to Yohann was the Lean Canvas, a tool that he still uses in his day to day life.
“The Lean Canvas is a powerful validation tool. I have a bunch of ideas streaming through my head all the time and by using the Lean Canvas, I can quickly see if the idea could turn into something bigger.
The tool encourages me to ask ‘is this actually a problem?’ and ‘has it been solved?’. Answering these questions prompts me to research and understand if my idea (solution) has legs.”
Curious about entrepreneurship? Yohann’s advice is simple;
“Think big picture. Don’t get caught up in all the details, because if you are going to live the life of an entrepreneur it’s very hard, near impossible, to know what’s going to happen. Instead? Be curious and ask for help along the way.”