Written by Tara Karnezis, CEO/Managing Director, Gertrude Biomedical and SBE by Springboard Enterprises Life Science Alumna.
When I grow up, I am going to be……? Many of us would have pondered that question during our formative years. Fast forward 30 years, a new millennium and I still think about those words today. I was born with a curious mind, a mind that asked too many questions and wanted detailed, logical answers. My mum couldn’t keep up. Science and technology for me was a natural fit and so I became a student of STEM. It allowed the curious mind to explore new ideas unencumbered; to seek answers and to create solutions to problems that are constantly arising as humans are busy getting on with their lives. These days, when we want an answer, we seek Google; when we want to freshen our looks, we consider Botox; when we are sick, we medicate; when we want to order take out, we hit the Uber app. Our day-to-day living we take for granted has science and technology in pretty much everything we do. Ideas, creativity and innovation have changed our lives - for the better or worse is debatable - but it is there; a clever person or people with a story behind every app, every Zoom meeting and every upgraded iPhone we buy.
I must admit I love it. I love watching innovation evolve. While STEM is critical in innovation, it also is a driver, a fueller of global business. With a need for a new innovation to make our lives better, faster, stronger- there is an opportunity, the sweet spot when one identifies a need and a market. In my case, I was happy being in my research lab working on my problems and finding answers. But there was always a niggle - ‘Can we do things better’ ‘What if we could create a better drug for cancer’ – and so, I took the chance, mustered the courage and decided that I would. With only my enthusiasm and passion about science and medicine and my desire to help people, I embarked on a career path that was not part of my wish list as a young girl-entrepreneur. And then Gertrude Biomedical was founded. Business plans, milestones, capital raises, license agreements, business strategies - all new to my world. I was lucky because I was supported by strong individuals who believed in the mission and who had faith in me. Even so, I did feel I was alone and overwhelmed - until by serendipity, an email popped into my Inbox from SBE. This was an invitation to apply for the life science cohort - how they got my name, I still don’t know but reading about the amazing work SBE have done, I applied. And I was fortunate to have been chosen to take part in the program. This is where the transition occurred. Suddenly, I had access to advisors in big Pharma, to resources, to a growing number of experts that facilitated my understanding of the requirements and considerations of a successful business – suddenly, I did not feel alone or overwhelmed, what I didn’t know, I could reach out to an incredible network who are there to help, willingly and always with a smile. Most importantly, the program empowered me in a way I would not have imagined. With that, I was able to expand to grow the business and myself as an individual, to lay the foundation and to achieve things that were only a thought. I am enjoying the fast pace, the interaction with people but most importantly, I can see the goal post.
So, I went from the laboratory to the Board room and have not looked back since. Thank you SBE.
Applications are now open for SBE By Springboard Enterprises Life Science Program. For more information, click here.