We have heard several successful entrepreneurs say that you need to “fail fast and learn from it” to finally succeed as an entrepreneur. I am sure they are right, but I also think a good way is to learn from others.
As students at the School of Entrepreneurship, we were encouraged to contact Startups and offer them a brief evaluation of their product or service and give them feedback. I reached out to a startup hub in Stockholm, called Startup Sthlm, and they invited me to their Facebook group “Startup Sthlm Community”. I posted a message where I briefly introduced myself and asked if anyone were interested in getting feedback on their product of service. The response was great!!
I got in contact with the founder of the website brunchsthlm.se, which is a website that helps people to find the best places for brunch in Stockholm. He asked me to use the website and focus on how to make it more user-friendly and to see if I were missing any desirable information. It was both fun and educational for me and I hope my feedback was valuable to him in the continuing work with the website.
I also got in contact with a young woman who was writing a business plan for an innovation competition. She asked me to help her to make sure that she where able to share her vision in a convincing and inspiring way. Since this wasn´t really in line with the assignment and definitely outside my comfort zone, I first hesitated if I would be able to help her. But I am happy I did. She really appreciated the feedback and at the same time I got the opportunity to learn more about how to create a business plan and what is important to think about. It can be a true challenge to put your vision into words in a way that makes it as clear to others as it to you.
Earlier this week, I attended a lunch lecture called “Ecopreneurship”, hosted by Drivhuset together with Klimatlätt and Uppsala University. This was the first lecture in a series of three, where the following events will be workshops focusing on creating sustainable solutions and then develop a sustainable business case from the solution created in the previous event.
This first inspirational lecture was about what an ecopreneur is and why it is important. As the name indicates, an ecopreneur is an entrepreneur with a focus on sustainability. Hopefully there will be no difference between an entrepreneur and an ecopreneur in the future, as sustainability becomes integrated in all kinds of entrepreneurship. But for now, we have to think about what choices we make and how to integrate sustainability when developing new ideas and innovations.
As a part of the current course “Value creation value: motivation, opportunity and risk”, we have learned about the Business Model Canvas, as a tool to analyze and design business models. During this lecture they introduced a modified version, called The Triple Layered Business Model Canvas. This version also includes the environmental and social parts, in addition to the original economic part, as a tool to design and develop more sustainable business models. The three layers of the business model illustrates how an organization can generate multiple types of value.
From a business perspective, it becomes more important to include sustainability, as the awareness in the society increases. It can even be a competitive advantage on the market. The reason why a company choose to work with sustainability may vary, but the question is if that really matters? Some companies might do it exclusively because of money and others because they have a genuine interest in sustainability and wants to make a difference. To be honest, I don´t think that the reason why is what we should be focusing on at this stage, but rather what the result will be. In an early stage of a changeover like this, it might be difficult to get everyone onboard. Therefore, all steps in the right direction are welcome, as long as they are done in a transparent and lasting way.
Last week, on the 9th of October, I attended an event hosted by Almi and Entrepreneurs Academy, called SYNC. SYNC is a model for relationship-building meetings, where students and companies/start-ups in Uppsala are given the opportunity to meet and establish contact.
The event started with a light lunch followed by a pitch-parade, where all students had 90 seconds to pitch themselves. I´m glad that we had the opportunity to practice how to pitch in class before this event, but I definitely found it more challenging to pitch myself instead of an idea. However, I´m pleased with my performance and that I managed to deliver a pitch which reflected my interest in sustainability. To my delight, that was something that many of the attending companies found interesting and I got several questions about it later on.
After the pitch-parade, we sat down for some “Swedish fika” with 2-3 company-representatives and 3-4 students at each table. It was time for a brief introduction of the companies, followed by questions and discussions. After 10 minutes, the company-representatives switched tables and the “speed dating” continued until we have had the opportunity to talk to all attending companies.
To me, SYNC was a successful event and I did not only have the chance to practice my pitching skills, but I also got in touch with two very interesting companies which were open for the possibility of me writing my master thesis with them. I think it´s really good that events like this exists and I will definitely recommend other students to attend SYNC next year!
Under introduktionsveckan av Entreprenörskolan hölls en workshop med Drivhuset Uppsala där vi studenter fick i uppgift att utforma och utföra en kort presentation av en idé, en så kallad pitch. Syftet med en pitch är att fånga en potentiell kunds, investerare eller annan betydande persons intresse under en mycket begränsad tid. Detta var något vi skulle få chansen att öva mer på och två veckor in i programmet var det dags att presentera en egen idé med en så kallad ”Elevator Pitch”, vilket innebar en tidsram på cirka 60 sekunder.
För att förbereda mig inför detta använde jag min familj som testpublik och fick då höra om en passande händelse som inträffade under en skidsemester med familjen när jag var liten. Min mamma berättade om en egen erfarenhet, där hon fått pitcha på ett sätt hon varken tidigare eller senare varit med om.
Då hela familjen stod i kön till liften var det någon som knackade min mamma på axeln. Hon vände sig om och där stod en främmande man som frågade om hon jobbade med det läkemedel hon hade som tryck på skidjackans rygg. Svaret var “Ja” och han bad henne därmed sätta sig i liften tillsammans med honom och hans dotter. Under den korta tid de tillbringade i liften ville han veta så mycket som möjligt om läkemedlet och om de studier där läkemedlet testats.
Till en början kan detta tyckas vara en märklig situation, men mannen visade sig vara en person som mamma och hennes kollegor försökt få kontakt med under en längre tid utan framgång. Han skulle efter deras oväntade möte bli en nyckelperson för deras fortsatta arbete och det var ingen av dem som hade kunnat tro att en kort tid tillsammans i en skidlift skulle bli starten på ett framgångsrikt samarbete.
Den här berättelsen fick mig inte bara inse vikten av att vara förberedd på att pitcha i vilken situation som helst, utan också värdet av att vara synlig. Utan trycket på skidjackan hade situationen aldrig uppstått och utan förmågan att presentera relevant information om produkten på kort tid, hade den värdefulla relationen mellan parterna troligtvis aldrig vuxit fram.