From startup to corporate giant, failure is an option

Lisa Raiola

Founder Lisa Raiola at the Hope & Main headquarters

Rhode Island is a small state with a big reputation for high-quality, locally-sourced foods. The state ships most of its food outside of its borders, creating an opportunity for the Ocean State to strengthen its economy by bolstering its inter-state commerce. It’s an opportunity that Lisa Raiola is working to realize with her food-based startup incubator Hope & Main.

Raiola started the project specifically to support local food businesses and cultivate Rhode Island’s economy. She believed in it so strongly, that despite receiving no state assistance to start the project, Raiola secured a $3 million loan from the federal government by putting up her house as collateral. Few would argue that conviction is an underpinning of successful entrepreneurism and so far, Hope & Main is already starting to prove this theory true.

Being invited to speak with Hope & Main’s inaugural applicant class about marketing and branding on April 26 was a thrill. As a technology-focused marketing communicator, it gave me pause to consider the essential elements of any successful startup in 2014.

When preparing for my talk, the unifying message throughout the presentation was something for which HB’s own Kevin Hart was recently quoted in BostInno.


Empower Your People to Fail

From what I’ve seen, the HB team is dedicated to a lifetime of learning. When you have a strong desire to learn, you won’t let anything get in the way of it, including the risk of failure. This culture emanates throughout the company and starts from the top down.

Any startup – whether it’s a bakery, a technology business or a marketing communications agency – needs to accept the failure risk as an essential element in achieving overall success. Embracing this culture at our own agency has given us the chance to work with other scrappy, passionate and talented people from small startups to Fortune 1000 companies.

Identifying opportunities to work with people who exude a love of learning will leave you more satisfied professionally and result in some exciting projects.

Every day I watch HB in a steady state of evolution and growth. The companies I’m working with are experiencing this, too. We’ve given ourselves permission to fail, and by its very nature, cultivate success at every turn.


About Mower Boston

Boston's Mower office is a full-service technology marketing, PR and branding agency. Our B2B stories illustrate projects and campaigns in a variety of markets and media that range from local impact in Boston and New England to global proportions.

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