Mentor Spotlight in Honor of Women’s History Month — Sylvia Wulf

In celebration of Women’s History Month (WHM), we’re spotlighting Endeavor Mentor, Sylvia Wulf. Sylvia is a proven leader and accomplished executive and director with over 25 years of P&L experience driving both growth and improved performance. Sylvia is currently the President and CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. leading the commercialization and growth of the world’s first genetically engineered animal approved for food – AquaBounty’s salmon. In this role, she has broadened the investor base and strengthened the company’s financial position by raising capital in preparation for expansion; both domestically and internationally. One of her greatest passions is environmental and social governance which has been integral to the development of Corporate Social Responsibility plans in prior organizations leading to partnerships in urban agriculture and new and innovative approaches to aquaculture.

What is the most common challenge you see entrepreneurs face when scaling their business?

The challenge(s) most often faced is the ability to scale with people, processes, and infrastructure.  They also typically face a funding challenge to take the business to the next phase of growth.  Understanding the requirements to hire, retain and train critical positions is a challenge for a start-up but planning ahead can aid in the growth transitions.  It’s also imperative to begin thinking through the various processes and infrastructure necessary to build a firm foundation even with a limited number of people.

What is the relationship between company culture and business success?

Culture describes how people behave and communicate.  It happens whether intentional or not.  If you aren’t aware of the culture you’ve created or believe will support your business goals/plans, you won’t maximize your potential for success.  ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) is becoming increasingly important to investors so thinking through your behaviors and communication will either hinder or advance your business objectives.

Why did you decide to become a mentor with Endeavor Heartland?

I’ve had the opportunity to work for very large companies, both public and Private Equity backed, as well as, start-ups.  I think my experience and skills can help Endeavor mentees think through how to build and scale their business.  My experience is across a variety of industries and I’ve seen well-run and not well-run companies which can help a mentee think through best-operating practices as they build their business plans.

What have you most enjoyed throughout your time as a mentor?

I enjoy seeing companies and people grow and thrive and enjoy sharing my experience/skills/perspectives to help them achieve their goals.  Having an opportunity to work with people of varying backgrounds and in different businesses is a learning experience for me as well.

What do you think is the next big opportunity for our region? 

I believe Artificial Intelligence will affect many aspects of how businesses are run in the future, particularly within supply chains.  Building competence in both Supply Chain and AI could be a tremendous opportunity for our region.  I also think water management will continue to be a global issues and could also be a potential for our region to build competence and attract investment.