Her name is Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV, for short) and she describes herself as a life-long entrepreneur. All things considered, it’s an accurate description.
Besides her work at Dell, Vanderveldt is Founder & CEO of Ingrid Vanderveldt LLC; the CEO of VH2 Energy Investments & Green Girl Energy; founding organizer of the GLASS Forum (Global Leadership & Sustainable Success) for women, an invitation-only annual event convening the world’s most extraordinary brain trust of women leaders in all areas of sustainability, including energy, environment, finance, business, policy, media, children and education, gender equality, social justice, and peace; and Co-Founder of The Billionaire Girls Club.
Vanderveldt also serves on the Advisory boards of Springboard Enterprises, Current Motor, Belle Capital and the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN). Oh, she also sits on the UN Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council, joining a select group of business leaders from around the world – all under the age of 45 – who have a record of advocacy on global issues and a commitment to philanthropy.
Although ‘sit’ seems to be the wrong word to use, in regards to Vanderveldt.
“I travel 90% of the time,” she admitted.
We chatted when she was in town recently for the Social Good Summit and meetings at the United Nations.
“When the UN came to talk to me about being on the board (of the Global Entrepreneurs Council), I had an a-ha moment and realized the extent of what Dell and other corporations could do by opening up their resources to entrepreneurs,” Vanderveldt said. “(Dell is) a Fortune 50 global company. Imagine a platter of anything you can imagine that a Fortune 50 can bring to the table!”
Vanderveldt is no stranger to politics. She helped architect the first Federal- and State-based Entrepreneur in Residence Bill, aimed at simplifying small business regulatory hurdles to help business owners start and grow their companies.
“Regulations are the biggest bottlenecks,” Vanderveldt observed. “Dell thought, ‘How can we bring in an EIR to help ease up that environment and grow jobs?’ The response was amazing. Just last month, we had 150 state legislators flying in to Dell for two days to explore how to inspire entrepreneurs to more effectively start and grow companies in their States bringing the jobs our economy so badly needs.”
Besides everything else, there’s of course, her work at Dell, where she’s leveraging her expertise and the company’s resources to help entrepreneurs worldwide build and grow their companies.
“With founder Michael Dell still at the helm, Dell is very in touch with its entrepreneurial roots and understands that today’s entrepreneurs are the key to innovation and global growth, said Vanderveldt. “Dell sees entrepreneurship as vital to success and it’s been exciting to see how committed Steve Felice, Dell’s president and chief commercial officer, and the rest of Dell’s leadership are to helping entrepreneurs gain access to the resources they need to grow and to be successful.”
At Dell, Ingrid heads up the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs, which includes the Dell Innovators Credit Fund for VC and Angel-backed startups, that she created and oversees to provide financial resources and end-to-end, scalable technology solutions for growing businesses during those critical early days, to encourage innovation, bolster speed-to-market and for job creation. Ingrid also leads the Dell Founders Club, which she describes as “startup help on steroids.”
“We literally partner up with companies,” she explained. “We don’t take equity, but we do give members access to knowledge, expertise and investors, and we help them to get their stories showcased in the media. It doesn’t cost the entrepreneurs anything.”
As creator and former host of “American Made,” CNBC’s first original primetime series that gave a million viewers around the globe a behind-the-scenes look at some of America’s top CEOs and what made them – and their companies – successful, Vanderveldt has some idea about what it takes to succeed in business. And first-hand experience: she started her first company, an online data mining and data analytics company, fresh out of business school and since has gone on to launch and sell multiple other ventures.
We asked what advice she’d give entrepreneurs who are thinking about approaching Dell. And how to do business in a large corporation, without getting lost.
“We made it easy,” she said. “You want to work with Dell? We’ll navigate you through it, and because we are a large corporation, there are a lot of people whom you have access to.”
“Be transparent,” she advised. “And come in knowing what the win-win opportunity is, but be transparent about where you’re at currently. You’re painting a big picture. You’re selling an idea, but be honest, and we’ll give you your shot.
“Corporations are counting on us,” she continued, referring to entrepreneurs, “we’re the future of their innovation. (Dell is) trying to lay the path to the future. We’ll give you your shot. But be honest about what stage you’re at.”
“A lot of entrepreneurs are learning this for the first time with Dell. It’s a very hands-on collaboration. The Founders Club is just over a year old, and when we started it, we thought, ‘Let’s get 20 companies in the first year. Let’s show them the love and help them grow.’ We now have over a hundred companies in the program and it just keeps growing. And Dell keeps adding more resources. We want to continue to grow and are expanding the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs internationally with the launch of our UK Centre in November. It’s good business for all of us. If you’re successful and we back you, we win together.”