Connecticut Center for Innovative Entrepreneurs Founder Naranchimeg “Nara” Mijid is one of many local startups participating in the Women’s Business Roundtable at the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center.
Nara has an extensive and worldly background, which includes studying applied mathematics in Russia; working in the banking industry in the United States and Mongolia; and crunching numbers, consolidating financial statements, and analyzing data at the second-largest bank in Mongolia.
A motivated scholar, Nara later earned dual masters’ degrees in Economics and Finance, pursued a Ph.D. program in economics and was recognized as an Entrepreneurship Scholars through the
Kauffman Foundation. She has researched women- and minority-owned businesses and published several articles in academic journals.
Nara established her startup in December 2015. The company provides economic data analysis, consulting, and market research for small and established businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities.
Nara discussed her experience as an independent, woman- and minority-owned business founder, her involvement with Innovation Places, and the benefits of networking with like-minded women entrepreneurs.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: How has your background helped shape you as an entrepreneur?
NARANCHIMEG MIJID: Throughout these years, I found working with the data and analyzing the complex relationship between two or more things a very rewarding experience, especially when I explained things that were not discovered before. So my background in economics, finance, and banking definitely helped me become an entrepreneur.
IDH: What makes your services unique?
NM: We prove to businesses many benefits come from economic consulting services and data analysis. Small businesses, in particular, often have limited data—or they don’t have access to it. They may also think economic data analysis is expensive or unnecessary. We help them understand why this information is so critical and how we can help.
In fact, the small and medium established businesses that want to grow are the ones that need economic data analysis most. If a business is more than five years old and it wants to grow, business decisions must make data-driven, not just gut-based.
IDH: Why does someone want/need to use your services?
NM: The Connecticut Center for Innovative Entrepreneurs helps our clients gather data and analyze the results. This enables them to:
- Expand their service area or product line
- Explore new market opportunities
- Understand why their growth has plateaued
- Do long-term planning
- Collect historical data to present to their stakeholders
- Conduct market surveys and analyze the results
IDH: Tell us about your involvement with the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Institute for Technology & Business Development (ITBD) incubator.
NM: I developed a survey which was sent to 13,000 businesses throughout Connecticut. The purpose was to evaluate the impact of job training. I also collected and analyzed data about ITBD’s business clients and evaluated the ITBD’s job training services and overall incubation program.
IDH: Let’s talk about your involvement with the CTNext initiative Innovation Places.
NM: Late last year, Central Connecticut—which includes New Britain, Berlin, and Farmington (a tri-town area)—was selected as one of 12 communities to receive an Innovations Places planning grant. As part of the planning process, Connecticut Center for Innovative Entrepreneurs helped the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, which is a private anchor institution for the Central Connecticut Innovation Places Consortium.
We developed a strategic plan to evaluate current conditions and identify future needs that create business opportunities for startups, attract young talents, and help grow businesses in the tri-town area.
First, we designed, executed, and analyzed two surveys to identify what makes the Greater New Britain area a more attractive place for millennials, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Second, we conducted economic impact study analysis that assesses current economic conditions and the future needs of the Greater New Britain area. Both analyses were instrumental for the planning process.
We were asked to answer questions including:
- How will you measure successes?
- What are your key performance indicators?
Our analysis shows multiple measures for startup entrepreneurs, main street entrepreneurs, and growth entrepreneurs that we are planning to use to measure our progress.
IDH: What is the biggest challenge your company has faced as a startup?
NM: The biggest challenge we are facing right now is communicating with the clients and convincing them why it is important to have this type of data collecting and data analyzing services.
IDH: If you could go back and change one thing about the startup journey, what would it be?
NM: If I could go back and change one thing about the startup journey, I would do more market research to test out my ideas. I would spent a lot of time on social media by creating content and building up enough followers before starting my business instead just blogging, putting myself out there, and networking. I also would team up with like-minded people.
IDH: How have Connecticut’s business resources help to shape your company?
NM: There are so many programs and services offered by the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center, Greater Hartford SCORE, and the Small Business Administration. This helped me tremendously in every step—especially social media marketing, starting your business series, and getting ready for the tax season.
IDH: Why are you participating in the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center Women’s Business Roundtable?
NM: I have been participating in the Women’s Business Roundtable to network other women-owned businesses and learn their challenges and successes. I love the beginning of the each session, when we discuss our successes and new and recurring challenges that happened over the last month.
IDH: Any advice to other women business owners?
NM: Women business owners carry a double burden when they run their businesses and try to balance work-family obligations. It is important to prioritize tasks, focus on the things you are comfortable with, and outsource the rest of the tasks. Stretching yourself too thin is not the way to run your business, because you can easily burnout before you see success.