The BAE HQ Q1 2023 Review

The BAE HQ Q1 2023 ReviewListen to episode here

Gurvir Riyat: [00:00:00] And during these uncertain times, we really need to come together as a community, as entrepreneurs, as investors, and really back. Those entrepreneurs that are doing well from the Asian community. 

Amardeep Parmar: It's  some queer navigating as well, right? Because we want to make sure this is a long term thing that we're setting up to succeed.

Amardeep Parmar: But whereas if we started a year ago, it might have been easier. We might not have adapted and learned the lessons we've had to learn along the way. Each conversation we have, we're learning more each time. Because there's always going to be tough times in the future. There's so many amazing organizations that are now world famous that started during recessions.

Amardeep Parmar: It's like Airbnb is one that comes to mind, Uber, all these kind of companies.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ, where we inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asians. If you watch us on YouTube, make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you're listening on Apple or Spotify, make sure you give us a five star review. Today is our end of quarter one review. I've been joined by my co founder, Gurvir Riyat, and we're going to discuss how this year has gone so far, and what you've got to look forward to.

Amardeep Parmar: How are you doing today? Yeah. All good. Thanks. How are you? Yeah, good. Well, as [00:01:00] we've mentioned before, I've been chugging a little bit in my back. Hopefully it's going to come through. I'm getting a bit old now. So what most people know us for at the podcast side of things, right? And it's always quite funny because obviously I'm in the podcast and people see my face and they'd be like, who's this other guy?

Amardeep Parmar: So like, can you give a little bit about yourself? Right? Like obviously I know it, but so the audience gets to know who you are too. 

Gurvir Riyat: So whilst I was doing the podcast, I'm focusing on everything else. Pretty much. So the finance, the operations, the legal side of things as well. And just my background is that I worked in venture capital before this.

Gurvir Riyat: And then prior to that, I was also in private equity. So I've had that sort of investment background, Britain in private markets for a while. And I cover everything basically logistically apart from being on the camera like I'm most of the time. And then also just looking out for great guests as well, whether that be scouting through LinkedIn or going through our network to see who's out there.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. So if you guys send us your pitch decks, we've now had maybe I think 30 or 40 pitch decks come across to us from people in our network. And one of the things we're doing is trying to help people get their funding and connect with [00:02:00] people. So I'll have the first look at it, but Gurv is a guy who actually makes,he's got a much more experienced background in that sense.

Amardeep Parmar: And let's talk about the podcast first, just because obviously that's what a lot of people know us for at the moment. We're now, this 42. We've got another 15, 16 people already booked in and some incredible names coming up. But we're actually making a change to that pretty soon, right? We've been doing two episodes a week.

Amardeep Parmar: That's been great because what it means is that people from different backgrounds, from different audiences can all find us. But at the moment we need to scale everything else we're doing to, because we're not just a podcast, right? We're a lot more than that. So the plan is very soon, we're going to drop down to one episode a week for a little period, and they may pick up again later, but the idea being that then frees up more of my time so that me and Gurvit can work together and build some of the other stuff we're doing and

Amardeep Parmar: It's always an interesting challenge from like my perspective, right? Because when it's two episodes a week, I like that commitment. I'm definitely going to do it. But the fact is, if I'm spending a day, a day and a half on that each week, that's time that I don't get to spend on the other things we're doing.

Amardeep Parmar: [00:03:00] And the podcast is the inspirational side of things, right? But the other stuff we're doing is so important too. And that's one of the challenges that we've been trying to work out so far between us is how do we get all that stuff built and keep putting out two episodes a week? As we look at prioritization and what's important for us, going down to one episode a week where we have the episode is very strong, great guest every week is probably better than us doing two episodes a week, but they're not building out the other things we want to do.

Gurvir Riyat: Yeah, I just wanted to add to that as well. We've been listening to the feedback as well of the audience throughout that. And I think we had a great run so far of getting two episodes out there a week, but it's that time to sort of scale down on that side a bit so that we can work on all the other stuff that we're telling going to tell you about as well.

Gurvir Riyat: I think people are enjoying the lots of content out there, but I feel like now if we put one out a week. People will really look at that episode in more detail as well. And we'll be able to promote that more as well beforehand and just spend a little bit more time on the promotion of that. And also then work on all the exciting other things that we've been talking about as well.

Amardeep Parmar: It's one of the  [00:04:00] things we keep talking about, like, Oh, this is coming out soon. It's coming out soon. We haven't been able to do it sometimes. And it's part of like, we're a business ourselves, right? We're a startup ourselves. This is what everybody gets used to, where the more we get into it, the more we learn about ourselves, the more we learn about how to

Amardeep Parmar: manage different things and you mentioned about promotion. And one of the things that's going to happen with this episode in particular is we're going to start promoting LinkedIn again, because we started with the best intentions there. Then as everything got on top of us, we didn't keep that up as enough, but so many of our guests and so many of the people that are in the audience.

Amardeep Parmar: LinkedIn is such an important platform for them. So expect us to start being much more active on LinkedIn. If you're not following us already on there, make sure you do that. And also make sure you comment and engage with us, right? Because if you've enjoyed an episode, we want to know that because then we can get other guests like that.

Amardeep Parmar: Or if we're putting out a job or something like that, or we're doing an event, give us that feedback because we can learn from that. We always want to be hearing from you. And it's the same thing with the newsletter, right? Reply to your newsletter with your thoughts. If you think it sucked, don't tell me until we get out of here.

Amardeep Parmar: But that is important feedback. We need to keep understand that, Okay, what's going to be useful for you? I mean, keep focusing our efforts in [00:05:00] the right place then. 

Gurvir Riyat: Yeah. And likewise, that's for all people from all different backgrounds, whether you're an entrepreneur and you need something from us, or you think that some of the content we're putting out there, isn't that relevant, or we should be putting out content on certain topics that you find informative or struggles that you had in a journey.

Gurvir Riyat: Just let us know, because we've got so many things that we're building on our website, which we'll let you know about now as well. Like the guides coming up. The events pages as well. So we just want to make that super useful for the audience out there. So yeah, do you want to tell us a bit about the website and how that's all been going?

Gurvir Riyat: You've been putting some long nights in on developing that, and maybe we can go into, I guess, the different pillars of the website and the content we're going to have on there. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yes. It's interesting with the website is that because my background was in tech consulting, And I used to build websites for other people, build like CRM systems.

Amardeep Parmar: Then it's like, this is a monster that keeps getting bigger and bigger, which is a good thing. Everything, it's like, Oh, this is an exciting idea. I'm adding it to it. So the website started off fairly basic with the different pillars, whereas now it's going to come much more cohesive. We're going to get more [00:06:00] people on board to help us out on that as well.

Amardeep Parmar: And the bits, you know, about already. So if the podcast on the website, obviously the stories of some could have introduced this year. I'm pretty sure in the last three months, since we had the last update and the stories, it's a really important thing, especially people in the audience is that it's a way for us to promote different businesses that maybe haven't yet reached a scale where they can come on the podcast from business perspective.

Amardeep Parmar: It's you get your SEO backlink. If people Google you, they're going to find the article. They're going to be able to see your story. It gives you that credibility. It then links into other parts of the website. So we're building that all up. So that's the important thing from the business perspective, but then from the audience perspective, which what we really care about, to be honest, is people who's trying to start their businesses.

Amardeep Parmar: They can read these stories, all these different entrepreneurs. And people at different stages and use that to then inform their own businesses. And there's some great ones so far. And it's one of the things that's on my to do list is to really push that out and make sure you're getting more and more people on there because it's free.

Amardeep Parmar: Like if you're a business, you get free [00:07:00] coverage, free media coverage. Why wouldn't you take it? And that's something which I've been focusing on, been iterating a bit as well, because making that process as clean as possible. 

Gurvir Riyat: So yeah, great thing about the bases stories is supporting those small businesses like you said that aren't maybe at the scale to come on the podcast and we want to reach out to all those businesses that are in those areas, whether that's Southall or Ilford or down Soho Road in Birmingham, we want all of you to reach out to us as well to post your story on there because we want to share that we want to promote small businesses and we know small businesses are the heart of the Asian community as well and how much they contribute to society.

Gurvir Riyat: So that's something that we want to keep pushing. If we can't get you in this chair here, We still want to help you in a variety of other ways as well. So that's a really important side to us. And do you want to tell us about the other stuff on the website? Like the job board that we got coming up?

Amardeep Parmar: Yes. So one of the things that's being released probably at the same time as this episode, we've got two different aspects, right? So, the job board and the events. I'm talking about the events first, because that's one of the things which me and go for both been [00:08:00] doing in the last few months is going to a ton of events.

Amardeep Parmar: Like if you go to these kinds of events in the startup space, you've probably seen one of us. And we keep meeting people that have even listened to the podcast and know who we are. And that's really good to see what we're going to trying to do is that for many people out there, right? It's like, if you don't know somebody in this space, how do you make the network?

Amardeep Parmar: And sometimes you only hear about the events, which maybe aren't really right for you. And what we're trying to do is put all those events in one space. And it's also, if you're signed up to a newsletter, you see that every week as well. But those events then mean that you can meet more people because sometimes you never know who the random person you meet is.

Amardeep Parmar: That's then going to like change your course. So for example, with us, right? It was through like Gurvir's now wife. We met and then now we started a company together. And the more people you meet, the more people you get along with, that's like such a powerful thing for like the community. Right? So the event's going to cover events that other people are hosting, but also we're going to start hosting our own events very soon as well.

Amardeep Parmar: And that will be networking events. It'll [00:09:00] be fireside chats. It'll be all kinds of different things. And we're going to be part of a lot of organizations you've probably heard of before. It's quite frustrating. We're not allowed to announce it. Just yeah, but we're talking to many organizations you've probably heard of and also if you work for a large organization or organization might want to do an event with us, reach out to us and let us know because we want to do events with people and the more people can bring on board and connect people in different spaces, the better for us.

Gurvir Riyat: I think with all our events that we're going to host or the ones coming in the future. We're going to make them all free. So we want as many people to attend, sign up as possible and we'll try and make it available and recorded as well. So those who can't reach the events in person can watch them afterwards.

Gurvir Riyat: But the whole premises of our business is to make this free because we've been to so many events. Some of them are paid, some of them are not paid and we've seen what works and what doesn't work. But we want to make this a regular thing. We want to know that there's a certain day each month where there is that Asian event that we're hosting for the community to come together, whether it's on biotech, whether it's on [00:10:00] media and just for people to get together.

Gurvir Riyat: And I think something that we've noticed as well, once we've been chatting to people over the last, I'd say this quarter as well, everyone's reiterated the same problem. That Asian community has this lack of cohesion there and there are certain communities that are doing well, some subsets, but it's all dividing each other on in terms of race or religion or stuff, even within the only Asian community and other communities see each other as a whole,

Gurvir Riyat: but we tend to divide a lot more between ourselves. So um, We want to break down those barriers before that have been set in front of us and just become that one stop shop to bring us all together. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And then the other thing you mentioned there was a job board, right? And this is something interesting as well.

Amardeep Parmar: We think we can add a lot of value to people is that we know a lot of founders now, right? So if they're hiring and somebody wants to get experience as a, like in a startup before actually founding their own company or a small business looking to get somebody on board, we've then got a job board where people can then find [00:11:00] out the information.

Amardeep Parmar: So we're helping both sides, right? We're helping people get jobs at startups. If you want to get that experience. And then also start up founders to get people on board. And again, this is always in a newsletter, but as we're getting more and more people we can't put it all in the newsletter because we don't make the newsletter a million miles long, right?

Amardeep Parmar: So that's now on the website. It should be live by the time we're releasing this episode So you'll see on the website now, there's a lot more different parts to it another part of the website is going to be student outreach and one thing's going to do in the future is go to universities and give talks go to schools and give talks and we're looking for people where for your a student or whether you're a teacher or if you're a parent and you want us to give a talk at your school or get one of our guests to at your school.

Amardeep Parmar: We've just got a page there now just to enable people to reach out to us about that and that's something which is going to be a really big important pillar as we go further ahead but we're just working our way up to that at the moment. 

Gurvir Riyat: Yeah I think that's  a really important part for us to get those leaders and those entrepreneurs in the community that have done really well [00:12:00] to go back to where they've come from.

Gurvir Riyat: So some of them might have come from these deprived areas but then they want to give back, but there's no medium for them to give back or no one's setting it up for them to go back to that school that they went to or that area that they want to, to give feedback and tell the others what their journey was.

Gurvir Riyat: And I'll always give this example when we're meeting people that imagine that there's that little Asian boy running around Southall and he's got that great idea of a business, but he's got no connections. He's got no role models. And how do we bring the connections to that little boy there and also those aspirational role models as well.

Gurvir Riyat: And I think the school and university outreach is important part of that because there are a lot of people in our community that want to give back and it's embedded in a lot of our culture to give back. And we are very generous as well when we all come together, when there's a reason to come together, we are very generous, but it's about us actually coming together for the right reason and giving back and sharing these stories with the next generation that might not have those resources.

Amardeep Parmar: A great example of this like [00:13:00] always use my example as well as Dimple Patel who's come on the podcast where she was raised in a council estate and then from there she then sold like 37 coffee shops raised 40 million sold a company to but at the time she didn't have any role models right so now like people like her at a certain space.

Amardeep Parmar: They want to give back and it's these people who come from these sometimes tough upbringings have that mentality and a lot of people as well we've had people in the podcast somebody I've recorded who hasn't released yet Richard Ng and he was saying he came from privilege but he said he's very aware of that privilege and he wants to give back too.

Amardeep Parmar: So what we've got, and obviously we see the people behind the scenes in the podcast, a lot of the people we've had on really want to give back and just giving a, organized structure to make that easy for them. Because if they have to try to arrange everything, then it becomes difficult and it's reducing that friction.

Amardeep Parmar: And as we hope as things go on, we gather that momentum. We just have a huge network of people who want to go and give talks to schools or universities or to people from [00:14:00] different backgrounds. And obviously as it spreads, I mean, we're quite London focused, but we're going to do more and more in the other regions as well in the future.

Amardeep Parmar: So it's always as well, like if you're listening to this and you want to help us out in any way, just reach out. Like we'd be happy to try and see where things can work out because we've got our ideas about what we want to do and how we're going to do things. But if the right person comes along and has a great idea, we could definitely collaborate and work out that 

Gurvir Riyat: too.

Gurvir Riyat: Yeah, and we run all of this not for profit. So all of it is just coming from the pure passion of ourselves and giving back to the community. So if anyone else has got that shared vision and they want to volunteer and help out, just let us know because we're all doing this for the good of the community.

Gurvir Riyat: And like me and Ammar said before, we're setting this up, me and him, but We also want this to self sustain itself so that in five years time, or even less, less than five years time that this organization just runs itself and is embedded into the community. I think there's another important part on our website as well, which is, uh, the profiles.

Gurvir Riyat: Uh, can you tell the audience a little bit about [00:15:00] that? 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. So. One of the things that's always frustrated me so much is when people say, oh, there's nobody who looks like me who's done what I want to do. And there definitely is, it's just maybe you haven't heard of them. And sometimes that's because they're not getting the coverage that they deserve.

Amardeep Parmar: So what we want to do, and that's through the profiles and through the news on the site, is you go onto a website, you can look at, okay, I care about this sector, and I want to be an investor, I want to be a startup founder or a small business founder. And you can look for other people who are in that segment.

Amardeep Parmar: And then you know, okay, look, there's people who look like me who've done it before. And here's their company, here's their details, here's news stories about them, and it's just increasing that awareness because I think sometimes it can be quite intimidating for people to think, Oh, but everybody who's doing this is from a different background or nobody's doing this, but it's actually always people, just sometimes you don't know how to reach them, or you don't know what the’re doing and the more kind of role models you can get through that profiles, you can just see there's a ton of our community doing really well.

Amardeep Parmar: And [00:16:00] yeah, just breaking down that mentality of we haven't done this because we have. There's a lot of us doing well,but  there's too many of us who need that role model and need that extra help. And we need to find a way to do that. And that's what we're trying to achieve. 

Gurvir Riyat: And the reality now more than ever is

Gurvir Riyat: those Asian businesses need support out there. We've seen a lot of turmoil in the last week or so with everything going on with SVB and we know how much that's hit all the founders out there, all the entrepreneurs, all the budding entrepreneurs, all the investors as well that have banked with SVB as well.

Gurvir Riyat: So we know. There are those shocks in the market at the moment and there might be further coming up as well. We just don't know. And during these uncertain times, we really need to come together as a community, as entrepreneurs, as investors, and really back those entrepreneurs that are doing well from the Asian community.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. It's  because it's interesting as well, when we obviously started this, the kind of downturn and funding stuff, we're just starting and the crypto winter was kind of things. Whereas [00:17:00] if the fall of SVB and silver gate and like now signature bank as well, there's all of these major crises in some way that are affecting people's risk appetite, how people think about different things.

Amardeep Parmar: And it's, we also kind of advise people, it's like, always be careful and make sure you've got your risk spread out, that you don't put too much pressure on yourself. But at the same time, you've got to, like, you've got to have that Management of risk, but at the same time still go forward and don't let that, and don't let that stop you because you just never know, like there's so many amazing organizations that are now world famous that started during recessions.

Amardeep Parmar: It's like Airbnb is one that comes to mind, Uber, all these kinds of companies, they started in those crunches and what you'll find is that it is hard to get funding right now. It is harder to get people to back your business. But the ones that get that backing often don't do very well because they've had to overcome a higher hurdle and what we can look at with people and what we can try and give people advice on is how to change your model, how to find the right way [00:18:00] to explain things so that it can have that backing because we all know in the past five years or so, some companies have got funding.

Amardeep Parmar: They shouldn't have got funding. They weren't good enough companies. Whereas now that conservative nature of what's happening a bit more, should hopefully mean that if you get the funding, that's a really big stamp of approval. And it's also for many companies, Bootstrapping might be the best thing. So for people who dunno what bootstrapping is, bootstrapping is where instead of taking external funding, you fund your own business.

Amardeep Parmar: And that could be a like real thing that a lot of people in the United to consider is, should I be funding this myself through like making sure I get early profits rather than think about like, how can I get huge revenue but making a loss? So these are all the kind of questions that we'll be talking about a lot and even in terms of the podcast and things like that as well about that right balance of when should you look for funding versus when should you try and do it yourself. 

Gurvir Riyat: Yeah. And I think this is an ideal time still for the Asian community and Asian entrepreneurs to thrive. I think Asians just as a community are very frugal in general. [00:19:00] I remember someone telling me recently that he was telling someone who was non Asian about when there's a little bit of ketchup left in the bottle and putting the water in to get the most out of it and get every last drop.

Gurvir Riyat: And I think we've got that instilled in us to battle through those tough times to squeeze every last drop out of everything we do. And I think those businesses will thrive during this time as well. The ones that can see this period through can either bootstrap or not get the funding and find other ways to still scale up during that time or work on the product during this time where there's a lot of turmoil and then scale at the right time when those opportunities are there.

Amardeep Parmar: The current market conditions also affected us too, right? Because some people are looking at partnerships or people to come on the podcast. When the company's in quite a stressful situation, then that then affects the communication. You can see that where a lot of like big tech companies making a lot of layoffs right now.

Amardeep Parmar: And if you're making a lot of layoffs, the priorities are different. And sometimes it can create this kind of short term mindset rather than what's good in the [00:20:00] long term. And it's something we're navigating as well, right? Because we want to make sure this is a long term thing that we're setting up to succeed.

Amardeep Parmar: for the long term. We have to navigate these different situations. So for us, in some ways, it's been a good thing about starting things in this time because it's always going to be tough times in the future. But by doing it now, it's tougher. Whereas if we started a year ago, it might have been easier, but then it might have been too easy.

Amardeep Parmar: We might have adapted and learned the lessons we've had to learn along the way. And in terms of like how we phrase some things and how we speak to different people, each conversation we have, we're learning more each time and I guess just to like wrap up now as well. Right? So what's the big things we're looking for?

Gurvir Riyat: So one of the things we're still working on is those partnerships. Obviously, we're in discussions with. Some people at the moment on a variety of things from events to the project that we're doing but we're still open to hearing from others as well and we're really open in terms of whether that's for an event for the overall project whether it's if you got a cool drink out there as well and when it placed during this podcast or something like that or a product [00:21:00] that wants to be advertised during it I think we're open in terms of that as well, and we welcome any sort of new opportunities coming up and think throughout that process, which we've been going through of reaching out to these corporate partnerships.

Gurvir Riyat: One thing we've found as well, and we've learned along the way is that not many people have raised the sort of Asian cultural issues at board level at some of these corporate companies. I think some of the other backgrounds have discussed them more openly as well. And rightly so, but in terms of our culture is generally sometimes a little bit more reserved.

Gurvir Riyat: I don't know if it's the, the marrying of the Asian and the British culture, which makes us ultra reserved, but some of us have reached those prominent positions, but not all of us have voiced that at a corporate level. But I think that's changing now. And not only with us, but with lots of others, we're raising the issue of why the Asian culture is different to other cultures and the societal issues that we do face and the disconnect that we still do have.

Gurvir Riyat: And that we do make up a lot of the population, but we still do have a lot of issues as [00:22:00] well that prevent us from reaching our full potential. So I think raising those issues at a higher level to corporates as well has been an interesting journey because they haven't seen it framed in the way that we've been doing as well.

Gurvir Riyat: Um, so I think that's been an important step of educating some of these corporates on what the Asian culture is and how much further we can get to as a community if we have a bit more backing. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah, I think people forget that in the UK, it's like we're 10 percent of the population and especially if you look at the major cities, we're much a higher population as well.

Amardeep Parmar: So it's one of those things where sometimes people say like, Oh, there are Asians doing well, but it's like there's so many Asians who aren't doing well too. It's like, how do we reach those people? And the other thing is like, like we said, we're, we're expanding quite rapidly and there's a lot been going on behind the scenes and if anybody wants to help us, that'd be like great for you to get in touch as well.

Amardeep Parmar: If there's anything which you think we should be doing that can help you or can help other people in the community as well, let us know and we'll try to get people on board or try to work things out and see how we can prioritize that. So [00:23:00] we also make a conversation between us and everybody else. It's not us telling you what's right and what's wrong.

Amardeep Parmar: It's everybody working together to make this the best thing possible. And I think you mentioned earlier as well how. I'd say in like five, 10 years time, you want this to be the situation where so many people working and involved in our community, where people don't even necessarily realize it's us who started it, because it's all about the organization and the BAE HQ rather than two people.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's the end goal of this. And one thing's coming out soon, which we're quite happy about too, is the merchandise. So it's an easy way to support us financially. It's just buy some of the merchandise. Wear it proudly, wear it to the gym, wherever you're gonna wear it, and hopefully you get more people interested, and the more interest we have, the greater impact we can make.

Gurvir Riyat: Yeah. And thanks so much for listening and thanks so much for supporting us throughout this quarter as well. We've had some great developments along the way, but we wouldn't have got there without your support and also your feedback along the way to keep pushing us to [00:24:00] improve and build out this project further.

Gurvir Riyat: We're laying the foundations this year, we still say it, say, say it in that way, that we're laying the foundations and then for the community to just be able to build upon this project in the future. So yeah, thanks for all the support. 

Amardeep Parmar: Hello.

Amardeep Parmar: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for listening. It meets a huge amount to us, and we don't think you realize how important you are because if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you leave us a five star review, it makes the world of difference. And if you believe in what we're trying to do here, to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asians.

Amardeep Parmar: If you do those things, you can help us achieve that mission and you can help us make a bigger impact. And by doing that, it means we can get bigger guests. We can host more events. We can do more for the community. So you can play a huge part. So thank you so much for supporting us.