Who's your local hero?

My friend Donal Cahalane has been a Hercules for startups.  For years he's been helping people get started with their business idea.

He's been encouraging them.  But that's never enough - he's been connecting them with other like-minded people.  And he's been introducing them to professionals - like lawyers & accountants they need to know.

He's exceptional.  He's built a wonderful reputation locally in Cork -  and is increasingly admired internationally for his work with Trustev (Irish startup).

I wish I'd been invited to help with this.  
This coming weekend (28-30 March 2014) in the university in Cork (UCC), Donal is one of a group of mentors for Irish students.  These students think they might have an idea & a dream worth following.

What could I contribute to student startup-minded entrepreneurs?
I'd be no good at technology.  I wouldn't know one bit of code from another.

I'd be only a little useful on funding (I know a good few people who have got funding:  they know the funding game - but no one's ever funded me.)

I'd be useless at product design (however, I know people who are very good at it).

What I'd be good at is disrupting a particular mindset.  
I'm good at undermining the assumptions of people - especially people who put off until later their branding & marketing.

I'm a flag-flyer for the movement that says:

"Design your branding into your product & service - from the start."

"Grow your startup idea into reality by being clear what you stand for - what your story is - why you're doing this - where you're idea came from.

Often people put off marketing until they have their product sorted
- ready for market.  Often people build teams to bring a product to market - and they spend hardly any time sorting out what's special & different about their team.

In a nutshell - startups leave branding until they've run out of time & money, too often.

I'd like to help rectify that sort of problem-making.

Grow your business thru more meaningful marketing - from the start.  That's the message I feel like carrying into the student assembly.

What Donal Cahalane is doing is global. There are people like Donal all over the world doing this sort of stuff.

Who's your local Donal Cahalane?