Entrepreneurs Across Borders makes things happen. Just ask Jamaican entrepreneur Melissa Powell. This April, Melissa Powell pitched her international hiring business POCMI at our Beyond the Bech conference in Kingston, Jamaica. POCMI’s platform connects people from over 40 countries with companies looking to expand their talent pool, while managing candidate’s relocation and visa processes. In addition to POCMI receiving interest from our panel of distinguished tech investors, our founder Martin Babinec identified Melissa as the perfect fit for a spot in legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper’s Draper University in the Silicon Valley. We moved fast, securing Melissa a full scholarship to the five-week Hero Training program at Draper University within weeks of Beyond the Beach.
Founded in 2012, Draper University is a residential founder fellowship program for pre-seed startups where participants learn to develop their businesses from Silicon Valley founders and experts. Draper alumni have started over 700 companies and raised over $950M from top global investors. The Hero Training program includes five sessions of one-on-one mentoring with worldwide industry experts, mentors and investors who are committed to supporting funders on their entrepreneurial journeys. Speakers at Hero Training have included Tesla’s Elon Musk, The League’s Amanda Bradford and venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. In addition to nuts and bolts startup advice and invaluable opportunities for networking, Hero Training focuses on building the unflappable mindset that is essential for success as an entrepreneur.
After six years of battling it out as a founder, Melissa found attending Hero Training to be restorative to her confidence. “I needed [the program],” Melissa told us. “I was just coming out of that burnout season and I needed something that would give me a punch in the face.” Entrepreneurship can be a lonely endeavor, and Melissa was relieved to be in a space with founders from around the world “…who believe that anything is possible but in a very practical way.” Melissa found it reassuring to hear from fellow participants: “who have done it already…it was good to be around that energy for an extended period of time.”
For Melissa, one of the standout aspects of Hero Training was its bare-bones Survival Week. The exact activities of this entrepreneurial boot camp are shrouded in secrecy, but Melissa told us that it “…builds up your resilience even more, it builds you up in terms of working with teams..[Survival Week] just builds you in terms of that mentality of..just keep going, just a little bit more.” Immediately following Survival Week was San Francisco Tech Week, where the Hero trainees attended “event after event” on top of doing “as much networking as possible.” Subsequent days of Hero Training included an all-day leadership training with an associate of one of the world’s best-known personal development professionals as well as an opportunity to pitch to the investment arm of Draper and a three-day hackathon.
Melissa’s time at Hero Training was essential in helping her realize the changes she needed to make in her business, including “…[putting] more structure in place to help me get to where I need to be. And a part of that includes revamping what my team looks like…I have also learned to be more prepared.” As a result of what she learned in the program, Melissa is redoing her approach to POCMI’s Global Job Fair week, which was already an anomaly in her industry. “Most companies who are doing international hiring help…are not trying to find you the candidates,” Melissa told us. Instead, international hiring companies “say [to their clients] ‘tell us when you find a candidate and we’ll help you through the process.’” POCMI is also unique among businesses of its kind in that it is geared towards finding candidates with specific skills instead of focused on finding candidates in specific countries. “We’re giving you a tool to use immediately,” Melissa told us regarding what differentiates POCMI from their competition. “So as you’re going back to your office, you aren’t going back to input the [candidate] information in your applicant tracking system, you are working directly with the tracking system with the purpose of hiring someone overseas, you are no longer going to confuse them with your local hires.”
EAB is proud of the insights and progress that Melissa made at Hero Training. We are excited to hear about what’s in store for POCMI. We see Melissa’s experience at Beyond the Beach and Draper University as just the beginning of how we plan to help emerging entrepreneurs. Want to learn how to get involved with us? Click here to get started!