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Bentley Magazine

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What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?

MIKE WANG: Regardless of your technical skills in areas like marketing, sales, operations and technology, what really matters is persistence. When I first started my business, I encountered a lot of failures and people who didn’t believe in me. I remember working out of my small, one-bedroom apartment in Shenzhen, China — my bed was my office chair — making cold calls to the U.K., Canada and the U.S. to try to get clients. In some of those moments I felt defeated, but I had to trust myself and keep going. If I had given up, even for one moment, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have today.  

KARA BANOSIAN: I agree that you need the drive, passion, persistence and resilience to want it so much that you can sit through the storm. Another important attribute of being a successful entrepreneur is having the ability to leverage your network to ask for help, an introduction or even funding. That takes a combination of confidence and humility: believing in yourself but being able to listen and learn so you can make informed decisions and pivot when needed. Striking that balance will translate to the success of your business and team. 

How do you develop an entrepreneurial mindset? 

KB: I’m a big believer that you learn by doing, and you can build up resiliency over time through different experiences and situations. Your first idea might completely flop and you get crushed, but you can pick yourself up and build a tougher skin. Failure teaches you a lot about what you’re made of. 

MW: My biggest failures and toughest moments are also my most valuable assets that nobody can ever take away. If you truly want to change the world, you can push yourself to develop the skills you need to get there. 

What inspired you to launch a business? 

MW: While I’m young, achieving total financial and personal freedom is a driving factor for me, but it’s not just about money. In my lifetime, I want to make a positive impact on my country and contribute to a magnificent future for humanity. I aim to leave a meaningful social and spiritual legacy for my kids and the world.

 What drew you to the startup world? 

KB: The No. 1 thing that drew me to a startup was the ability to have an impact and access to all levels of an organization. I have learned over the years what motivates me and keeps me driven: I like to roll up my sleeves, dig in to do the work and connect with teams at all different levels. One of the exciting things about entrepreneurship is the ability — and the need — to wear many hats.   

How did Bentley help in your entrepreneurial career path? 

MW: In addition to mentors like Professor Purao, the Bentley E-Hub is an entrepreneurial platform that provides networking opportunities, seminars and coaching sessions for students, faculty and alumni. I’ve learned so much including how to find and pitch investors. Through the E-Hub, Bentley is going to create entrepreneurs who change the way businesses operate in the world. I see a lot of possibilities. 

KB: Bentley’s curriculum was core to helping me truly understand how an organization works, and that knowledge put me in a completely different realm when entering the workforce. More recently, engaging with the E-Hub network has given me fresh ideas and ways of thinking about growing a business and maybe even one day launching my own. It presents a continuous cycle of learning and fosters a whole new level of business acumen and conversation.

What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

MW: Pitch people, notice their objections and see if you can get some customers before you even start a company. This allows you to not only garner interest but also validate your market fast and get initial cash to grow your business without going through investors. 

KB: My advice is to be a sponge. Read, talk to entrepreneurs and other people in your life to learn how they got their start. Get feedback on your ideas from people you trust. Plant the seed and see how it grows — or dies. That will help you figure out which direction to go.

Meet the Experts

Kara Banosian ’04
Kara Banosian ’04

Kara Banosian is chief revenue officer at Stavvy, a fintech startup that provides digital solutions to the mortgage industry. Her expertise in go-to-market strategy helps bring new products to market and boost demand. She believes that growth in challenging markets is informed by the ability to execute, adapt, learn, change and respond — including through innovative technology.

Runyuan (Mike) Wang ’23, MBA ’25, MSBA ’25
Runyuan (Mike) Wang ’23, MBA ’25, MSBA ’25

Runyuan (Mike) Wang is a global online business enthusiast who is passionate about global selling and marketing. In 2020, he founded Tier 1 Animation with a mission to amplify global brand impact. Clients have been featured in more than 100 U.S. media outlets including USA Today, MarketWatch and CNBC.

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