Last Friday (7/3) I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Workshop on Youth Entrepreneurship, organized by Cognitive Space. The event was a success, as many young entrepreneurs showed up, eager to work with ideas for start-ups but also to share experiences and learn about the tricks of being in the “trade” of a start-up. The event revolved around a nicely structured presentation that was split in parts. In the end of each part, enough time was given to the groups to carry out a task based on the input from the presentation. Alexis and Dimitris (our two facilitators!) emphasized on the concept of being an “entrepreneur by choice” and not by need! In the beginning, the participants were split into teams of 6-7 people that were introduced to one another through participatory and ice-breaking activities. What I really enjoyed was the part when each one of us was assigned to another person in the room, given some time to discuss with them and then asked to present them to the rest as they also presented us!
I have tons of notes but some of the things that stuck with me through the entire process were that in order to be successful in your start-up you have to (a) exploit the state of the art, (b) apply a good idea, (c) let no one decides for you and (d) create a company that you would like to work into!
Another thing we talked about was the characteristics of a high-impact entrepreneur! The recipe for success there is to have at least three years of work experience on a relevant field, to have studied or travelled abroad for work,to be from 25 to 45 years of age (ideally around 30) and not to have work experience in the public sector! The same entrepreneur has to be persistent, focused on success and not on failure, not to concentrate all tasks on him/her (ability to delegate), has to be able to see the big picture, to learn from the mistakes, and be capable of giving a solution to everything that threatens the start-up’s well-being!
I also really liked the exercise when we were asked to think of three words and then contemplate on specific ideas about start-ups based on these words. My three words were “computers-clothes-holidays” and it was a nice exercise to try to come up with some ideas on them!
Some other highlights of the workshop for me, included 6 case studies of start-ups that were presented and the discussion on the characteristics of their success. I also enjoyed very much the discussion on some aspects of business modelling (also included in Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas) but also some more traditional tools like SWOT analysis, the 4 P’s, etc. My brand new takeaway had to do with the three F’s of funding, that is friends, family and fools which I researched some more, and I am offering the link below as reading material!