Interviews: mentoring in Gaza; business in Japan and a book of the week

Photo of Johnny Pawlik, Laura Bennett, Elizabeth Shassere

Johnny Pawlik, Laura Bennett, Elizabeth Shassere

It was a pleasure to welcome Laura Bennett, Elizabeth Shassere and Johnny Pawlik to the Sheffield Live radio studio today. You can listen to the podcast below.

Elizabeth and Laura recently traveled to Gaza and mentored entrepreneurs at a bootcamp for the Gaza Sky Geeks programme. They were two of only seven mentors selected from all over the world – and gave their expertise as volunteers.

We discussed the specific challenges that entrepreneurs face in Gaza; how Laura and Elizabeth were able to support participants; and how previous programmes have enabled startups to secure investment. The bootcamp’s inclusive approach was praised too, with Elizabeth and Laura noting how it puts many tech events to shame.

Both Laura and Elizabeth hauled luggage to Gaza containing useful items: including many and varied pieces of technology, and 35 copies of Rob Fitzpatrick’s book, The Mom Test, which Laura describes as invaluable to startups. Have a listen to learn why.

Also on the programme today: Johnny Pawlik of Mantra Media. Operating in Sheffield, London and now Japan, Johnny explained how the business is growing and winning new clients, internationally – he’s just returned from Kyoto – and in the UK. And make sure you listen to the show to hear his comments about empathy in business and observations about doing business in Japan.

Here’s the podcast; timings below. Music tracks played in the live broadcast removed from podcast.


  • 0 – 7:30 introduction and updates – new statistics about digital jobs in the region; will Brexit be a threat to social enterprise? And a call for listeners’ input on the social value act – and other topics.
  • 7:30 – 32:25 Laura Bennett and Elizabeth Shassere
  • 32:25 – 46:15 Johnny Pawlik
  • 46:15 – 48:42 wrapping up and some forthcoming events

More about the Business Live radio show.

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