As entrepreneurs, the team at VAYA knows how important it is to have a sounding board and experienced guidance throughout the launch of a new company. The Hungry Lab is an innovative solution to helping entrepreneurs build their dreams. We touched base with The Hungry Lab’s CEO, Bian Li, to find out more about her company, her vision, and her love of travel.
Bian, tell us a little bit about The Hungry Lab and its goal.
The goal of The Hungry Lab is to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and unleash their solutions onto the world by helping them build a sustainable and scalable business model so they can maximize their impact. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers at heart, and we help solve problems and build brighter futures by building better entrepreneurs and businesses.
We want The Hungry Lab to be a safe space where first time founders and serial entrepreneurs, with our individualized support and guidance, take calculated risks, challenge the status quo and learn, launch and grow their business from idea through growth stage.
The Hungry Lab offers a comprehensive launch pad and ecosystem for students, startups, small businesses and social enterprises by helping solve their major challenges below:
- Is it possible? Incubation to help flesh out your idea and get it off the ground.
- How do I do it? Subscription-based strategic business advisory to help plan, mentor, and grow your business and empower you with customized training and skills-building to help you become a better entrepreneur.
- Can you help me do it? Add-on service provider and investor network to execute on your plan and secure funding.
- What next? Global platform to take your business to the next level.
The Hungry Lab plans to expand its reach via its digital service, advisory portal, and mobile app in its efforts to break down the boundaries to social innovation.
What inspired you to start The Hungry Lab?
I’ve had a very diverse career across finance, international development, philanthropy and entrepreneurship. This accumulation of experiences has given me exposure to all different types of people from all walks of life. These perspectives, accompanied by my own successes and many failures, have taught me that:
- People are hungry to achieve something with their lives. They have the ideas, drive, and tenacity to innovate, improve their lives, and create opportunities for others.
- Oftentimes, entrepreneurship is the best way to transform an idea into reality.
- Many aspiring entrepreneurs lack the supportive environment, resources, skills and guidance to start, grow and expand.
From working with hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout my career, big and small, the idea for The Hungry Lab grew out of the need to create such a supportive environment and adaptive platform where entrepreneurs could get the help they need to be successful.
Can you share a little bit about the E.A.T. process that The Hungry Lab uses to guide businesses to success?
Hungry? Let’s E.A.T. The acronym stands for Educate. Act. Transform – the three pillars of our process. The first step is to get educated about what you’re trying to do. The second is to take action and execute. The third is to take your business to the next level.
Everyone E.A.T.s in their own way. At The Hungry Lab, we help entrepreneurs turn complexity into clarity by breaking down their journey into simple, personalized and achievable milestones.
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding in running The Hungry Lab?
As the Founder & CEO, I spend a lot of time juggling many moving parts. My ongoing challenge as the leader in my organization is to not lose focus and make sure that everything we do is accretive towards our long-term vision. What I find most rewarding is building the team to help me achieve this vision and nourish a healthy culture of innovation, risk-taking and growth.
You’re also a world traveler having visited over 30 countries. How have your travel experiences shaped and helped you in your career?
My travel experiences have had a profound impact on how I observe, understand and interact with the world. Whether it’s driving a former President to the airport, facilitating multimillion dollar transactions or job-shadowing a second-hand clothing salesman in the Sahel Desert, I’ve learned that wherever I go, I can always learn new things from people I meet along the way. The knowledge and insight I’ve gained has given me a unique and holistic perspective of how systems interact, how people behave and how everything is connected.
How do you balance being the CEO of The Hungry Labs with your passion for travel?
I’m very fortunate that I have a job where travel is an integral part of our growth. There are many opportunities beyond one’s region and it’s easier than ever to stay connected wherever we are.
A big part of my job is to break down barriers and show our entrepreneurs how they can thrive in the global economy from their own corner of the world. I’m thankful to have a great team working with me who are able to complement my work and execute on our plan.
What advice do you have for beginning entrepreneurs?
Learn to trust your instinct, listen a lot, ask questions and keep on learning. From experience, failure can be the best learning experience. Don’t let yourself get too bogged down by outside criticism or self-doubt. There will be lots of highs and lows during your entrepreneurship journey but if you’re solving a meaningful problem for people, you will eventually find your right path.