An ex-investment banker, she is the current co-founder of her fourth business, EnterpriseJungle, a global tech company. At just 29, she became the youngest person to float a company on the London Stock Exchange and last year, was awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship.
The clues to Emma Sinclair's entrepreneurial tendencies are obvious when you hear them. Speaking at Entrepreneurs Exchange, a joint HSBC/UK Government event for budding UK start-ups, she describes family dinners as being like "boardroom meetings". "I used to read out the share prices to my father on the way to school," she admits. "And when I was at university, I took my student loan and invested it in the stock market."
On that basis, it's not surprising that Emma quit her first job in the City to become an entrepreneur at 27. Since then she has impressively built four businesses from the ground up. Not that Emma is counting though, she prefers to look forward, rather than back. "I don't think about the number of business I've launched, but about the scale and opportunity they present. EnterpriseJungle is the first business I have built which is scaling globally and that's every entrepreneur's dream," she says. "And with this scale and experience comes the ability to use the power of my voice to share causes and insights close to my heart. That's a compelling package for me as I truly believe that entrepreneurship can change the world."
Being a successful businesswoman, Emma concedes, isn't a trouble-free existence. "Running a business isn't easy. You have to solve problems every day." "But entrepreneurship is like show business; however hard it is, you need to present a strong face. The show must always go on."
"Entrepreneurs are inherently optimistic people. We are hard wired to find innovative ways about challenges. If there's a problem or challenge, then entrepreneurs will find a way around it. We create opportunities."
For Emma, the biggest challenge/opportunity of her business career have been the recurring themes of skills and people. "At the heart of all business is people, and whatever business I've been in, whether its software or the parking business, they run off the same principles. The challenge and opportunity is people," she says. "Finding people with the right talent and motivation is a constant challenge. But it's a good challenge to have. When you build something that's exciting and resonates, then people tend to want to come and work for you."
With her global tech business having offices in Los Angeles and London, it's no surprise that people want to come and work for Emma and her co-founder (her brother) James. And when it comes to recruitment, she is precision-focused when it comes to the type of people she brings into her business. "Talent, not gender, is at the heart of everything," she says. "A diverse workforce and talent is the only thing that counts."
Emma's top tips to becoming a successful entrepreneur
Persistence and ambition
A distinct competitive streak and clear goals helps because entrepreneurship is about staying ahead of the competition.
Remember that challenges and uncertainly can bring opportunity. Be mindful of the challenges and find entrepreneurial ways to use them to your advantage.
Sell, design, build
Always involve your potential customers. Find out whether the product or service you intend to build is something they would pay for. There's no point spending time and money building something no one wants to buy.
Technology has made the world an incredibly accessible place. Use social media to reach out to the people you'd like to speak to – whether it's for advice or to promote your business.
Persistence is key but just because you work the hardest doesn't mean you'll succeed. Sometimes knowing when to stop and pivot or quit your ideas is important.
Be less self-conscious about public speaking. It makes otherwise interesting interactions and opportunities much more stressful than they need be.
Pay it Forward
Try to do something unprompted for people you know or work with, with no expectation of reward, every day. Make a connection, offer some time; People will remember your act of kindness and won't hesitate to reciprocate.