From Teacher to Entrepreneur: Siroun Shamigian Shares Her Learnings
Hear from Siroun Shamigian, Co-Founder & CEO of Kamkalima on what inspired her to swap teaching in a classroom for the world of entrepreneurship, and what she has learned along the way.
What did you do before becoming an entrepreneur? What inspired you to switch?
Before founding Kamkalima, I worked in K-12 schools primarily as a Biology teacher and EdTech coordinator for more than 20 years. During my experience as an EdTech leader and trainer, I was not able to provide support to teachers in the Arabic department due to the lack of relevant resources and online platforms that engage students and facilitate the teaching and learning process. This is why Kamkalima was born. Kamkalima is an online platform that uses smart technology and data analytics to help with learning and teaching Arabic.
What markets do you hope to enter in the next 12 months?
In the next year, we hope to expand into KSA, Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
How important is a business mentor for startups? Who is your business mentor and what is it that they offer you?
Mentors are very important in all walks of life, not just for startups. In my case, since I come from a non-business background, mentorship has been a key factor in my entrepreneurial journey. From financial guidance to strategy to someone just lending a listening ear during the inevitable tough times, I have been blessed with some amazing mentors.
What makes a good investor?
There are many investors that push you to reach your business goals, but I don’t necessarily think this solely makes a good investor. A good investor is essentially a good human being – someone who is full of heart and passion and is investing not only to gain financial return, but also empower an industry they believe in.
A good investor is well versed in the sector they invest in and as a result, can provide valuable support to entrepreneurs during their journey. Also, it is valuable when an investor has a solid network within the startup’s target markets.
What advice would you give anyone who’s considering starting up for themselves?
The journey is long, so you better be ready for the ride. Planning is important, but you must be flexible to adapt when it’s time for your plans to change. Finally, use available data to make decisions, and remember that those decisions are not etched in stone.