As the course is about to come to an end I would like to wrap up what I am taking away from this course and what I have learned. After reading some of the blogs listed in the reading list I decided to make it a 10-things-to-learn in an Entrepreneurship course list.

  1. Everybody can be an Entrepreneur: No matter how old you are, no matter how young you are or in what life situation you find yourself in, there is always a way to create, design, develop, invent something new and bring it to market. All you need is a lot of passion, patience and persistency (maybe you could call this the 3P-Model for Entrepreneurship ūüėČ )
  2. The only thing that is important are your customers. They know what they need, what they want and what they will pay for. So only focus on their feedback and get it as soon and as often as possible. Greetings exam question 12 today…
  3. It is all about socialising: When you want to be an entrepreneur you have to establish a close personal network, talk to people in oder to get new ideas and see what relationships there exist between different fields.
  4. The small things work best: I know this is a good line to be riddiculed for but I will deal with that. When you are an Entrepreneur you have about one minute to capture the attention of a possible investors, customers or co-founders. In these situation always the short, simple statements stick with you, no matter if they are mantras or tag lines.
  5. The world is full of awesome ideas and people. We have met so many awesome People that you can learn from and marvel. Karin Nilsdotter (man I would like to go to space), Gregg Vanourek (Triple Crown was maybe the most memorable guest lecture) and Erich Joachimsthaler (he just knew what he was doing) are just some.
  6. You are just a great team away from success. Maybe the second most important thing after finding and listening to customers is Assembling a great team. Unless you are Steve Jobs you can’t think of everything and do everything on your own. Let someone help you; only make sure it is the right person.
  7. Nothing is godgiven, you can learn everything. You do not have any great ideas? You do not know anything about creating a business?  You are not good at networking? Who cares? Nobody was born perfect. Just make an effort and improve. But I guess that is true for everything in life.
  8. Just do it.  Nike is right. If you have an idea and you feel really passionate about it. Just start and get going. Everything else will fall into place.
  9. You are not on your own. There are so many opportunities, People or companies out there that will help you with the development of your idea , provide office space, provide personal consultation and so much more.
  10.  I guess in the end you just say thank you for the course.

#Dreamgineerin – where dreams become engineered

While talking to Serdar last week I was reminded that one tasks of the course was to get and give feedback to others. This includes those  who may be in another group than oneself, so that one can profit from one another. Following that thought I decided to post my idea for a new businees here and hope to receive as much feedback, comments, suggestions, critique as possible. As we learned from Karin Nilsdotter it can be very beneficial to cooperate and learn even from your competitors, although that is not the way I see the participants of this course. To present my idea I thought I would follow the assignments we had during this course.

The idea sketch is as follows:

  • What is the venture? Describe the product(s) or service(s).

 

The idea is to open a supermarket that offers all products other supermarkets offer but without disposable paper or plastic packaging, thus addressing the problem of waste disposal before it arises. You could call it ‚Äúpre-cycling‚ÄĚ. Goods are kept in ‚Äúbulk bins‚ÄĚ from where they can be put into (glass) containers. So e.g. the noodles that are usually either packed in a plastic bag or in a cardboard box will be kept in these ‚Äúbulk bins‚ÄĚ out of which you take them and put them directly in your own tupperware or glass container. So that all the waste that is produced just to allow you to take predefined portions of a certain food will be removed. Additionally it will promote local products from around Stockholm or at least Sweden whenever that is possible.

  • How is it related to your field of specialisation? Explain briefly.

 

I am studying Energy and Resource Management. Implementing this idea allows us to save energy currently used to dispose of waste and valuable resources used for packaging.

  • What is the customer pain/problem (or delight) you will address?

 

Swedish people are portrayed to be very eco-conscious. Nevertheless we rely too much on packages to fulfil basic needs endangering the environment. The problem of waste disposal is becoming more and more evident and ways to tackle it are desperately needed.

  • What is the target market? Be clear and focused. Identify specific customer segments.

 

The customers will be well-situated, eco-conscious inhabitants of Stockholm, possibly in √Ėstermalm. Previous customers of the Farmer‚Äôs market, coop and people who want organic food will be the target market. It will also appeal to patriotic Swedish people who want to support the local farmers and economy. The age group will probably be over 30.

  • Name the three most important competing or substitute products or services.

 

  1. Innovative, new ways of waste disposal.
  2. Established supermarkets that copy the concept as part of their venture.
  3. Farmer’s markets where local food is offered.
  • How is your venture better than its top competitors and substitutes?

 

    1. What is most important is that it is more eco-friendly than other supermarkets and supports the local farmers and industry. It combines the convenience of supermarkets with fresh, package-free products from farmer’s markets. Also, waste disposal is redundant if one does not produce waste.
  • How will the venture generate revenue? Be specific.
    1. The way to generate revenue will in essence be the same as in every other supermarket but since new contracts will have to be drafted with producers and suppliers, and since mainly local products shall be sold the prices will be little higher than in other supermarkets. An additional way is through offering recyclable glasses and bags for sale or rent to carry the goods home in case of a spontaneous purchase that did not allow for bringing personal containers. Government subsidies are also imaginable although subordinate.
  • What are the three biggest risks for the venture?

 

  1. People are not willing to change their shopping behaviour.
  2. As found in literature: lack of focus by the founders or an insufficient business plan.
  3. The willingness to pay higher prices to help preserve the environment or in other words the ‚Äúeco-friendliness‚ÄĚ of the Swedish people is not enough for positive revenue.

 

After a screening from Yuwei – thank you very much again ūüôā – it was possible to get a more comprehensive overview of the situation and I identified some major points that need to be addressed. The new perspective¬†I got was as follows:

Based on the screening it is safe to say that the overall potential of the product is relatively good. However, there could be a potential convenience problem. It may be that there are better-off alternatives to carry the goods home i.e. reused textile-plastic-hybrids. Further research needs to go into that direction.

In general more product evaluation is needed as a next step, including establishing a contact network with the right supermarkets, distributors and experts on the area for more thorough and useful feedback on how to develop the product further. The upside is that increased eco-friendliness in the supermarket industry/sector is definitely needed and there hasn’t been enough initiatives to do so, so far.

A crucial deficit of the business is my lack of experience and of a network in that area. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to address that, get in contact with experienced people and establish partnerships maybe even cooperate with one of the big players like Coop and in the worst case settling for opening a side brand. However the potential to assemble a team is there. Definitely time and research need to go into that.

Additionally another issue is as always the money. As a next step a business and a revenue model need to be set up. It should then be possible to find potential investors, however the lack of network and experience is problematic since the needed amount is relatively high.

To sum up the potential is there, but work and time is needed to first and foremost establish a network and gather an experienced and motivated team and doing research as the key milestones and then go on with developing a business and revenue model followed by finding suppliers, a location, marketing and actually building and opening the supermarket.

 

Thanks to feedback from Axel I gained new insights into the venture. A thing that should be investigated into is the possibility of using bio-packaging. An idea of how to do this can be found here:

http://www.trueactivist.com/16-year-old-invents-sustainable-bio-plastic-from-banana-peels/

 

I attend to upgrade the progress of the idea here as it hopefully will evolve due to input from other course members. I hope to receive some feedback through this post and in turn will be happy to provide feedback to others who post there ideas here on this blog.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you very much for your help.

#Dreamgineering

Today we visited the Student Inc. Programme which is financed by KTH Innovation as part of the online & offline assignment for the KTH Entrepreneurship course. Student Inc. is an organization that helps start-ups and young entrepreneurs through the first phases of their journey towards building their own company.

When you want to apply to the programme there are a few requirements each group has to fulfill. First of all and most importantly the majority of the start-up team have to be students at KTH and the idea has to be “technical”. Additionally other criteria have to be met, e.g. that the idea has to be innovative, a lot of research must be done before beeing accepted, etc. After meetings with business coaches in order to discuss, develop and improve initial ideas the teams that are accepted go through 3 phases.

In the¬†first phase, called “Initiation” the entrepreneurs are supposed work on their ideas, do further research, develop the product and after 3 months do a pitch to the business coaches in order to move on to the second phase.

In the¬†second phase, “Development”, the aim is to actually launch the product/enterprise and bring it to market during approximately six months before moving on to the last phase after another pitch .

The third phase, “Phase out”, helps the entrepreneurs to prepare to stand on their own feet, so to speak, and being able to continue their journey by themselves.

During our visit we heard a lot about different ideas and the different stages the entrepreneurs find themselves in. To maybe highlight one of the  organizations which have already left Student Inc. I would like to mention Help to Help, a NGO that gathers money through crowdfunding in order to pay tuition fees for children in developing countries, an idea which in my opinion is very inspiring and noteworthy.

What Student Inc. provides for the students is guidance through business coaches and ongoing meetings in order to discuss the progress of the idea, offices to work in and for special, promising teams even a network of high-profile investors.

Since time was running out in the end we were not able to pitch our ideas to My Klint, the Manager of Student Inc., but agreed upon sending our individual ideas to her and then receiving initial feedback from in return. So during the next week we will start introducing our ideas on this blog and keep you updated on constructive feedback and how that will affect our developing process.

To leave you with there were some things My told us that are essential when it comes to Entrepreneurship. First of all when in doubt about which idea you should pursue: always follow your passion. Second of all: you need a lot of persistence when you want to be en entrepreneur since you will always start broke and will inevitably face many ups and downs on the way. But nevertheless the rewards you get, when for example your first customer likes your idea or you sell the first exemplar of your product, are worth all the pain you have endure on the way.

Student Inc. 3

The Student Inc. building

Student Inc. 1

Dreamgineering at Student Inc.

 

#Dreamgineering

 

For everybody who missed today’s lecture. It was held by entrepreneur, teacher, author (and I am sure more ūüôā ) Gregg Vanourek. First of all, it was a great lecture and the style of presenting was very inspiring and made you really pay attention.

The first part of the lecture dealt with “entrepreneurship” and “start-ups” in general which was followed by a case study. Groups of 4-6 students had to decide what a start-up should do when confronted with the problem that an investor is about to sign a contract for a huge investment when at the last minute the CEO decides that the revenue model of the start-up has to be changed. The options were:

  1. to tell the truth and put the survival of the Company in jeopardy
  2. to tell the investor later after the new model has proved to produce results
  3. to not tell him/her at all and hope that it will remain a secret and the investor will not care as long as results are produced.

Surprisingly enough most groups came up with the same answer, opting for alternative 1 because they did not want to hurt the reputation of the firm, were sure the investor would find out, which would be followed by legal punishments and/or  argued that since the investor decided to invest in a start-up he/she would know the difficulties involved and therefore understand the necessary change.

Afterwards we were given a framework to tackle such difficult questions that revolve around leadership. In his book Gregg Vanourek introduces the principle of the Triple Crown, which, actually, is a horse race metaphor for the most elusive trophy in the world. According to the principle all businesses or decisions should strive to fulfill the criteria of being efficient, ethical, and enduring. Additionally we were provided with 5 principles of leadership being: Head & Heart, The Colors, Steel and Velvet, Steward, Alignment.

According to the framework the previous business decision was simple, since the one characteristic that comes before all others when there arises a problem of trade-off between the three criteria is that your decisions have to be ethical, thus only allowing for telling the truth to the investor. However there seems to be , like for so many business decisions, no absolutely correct answer to that problem. What do you think about that situation?

Returning to the book about the Triple Crown I will definetely read it as soon as I am put into a situation that requires leadership qualities, since I have never taken any courses related to the subject.

At the end I would like to invite everybody to post thoughts, additions or different views on today’s lecture and leadership in general.

#L.Boldin  #Dreamgineering

Hey,

this post is designed to function as a gateway for all future work, ideas, and thoughts of the Group “Dreamgineering” during the Course “ME2603 Entrepreneurship”.

Members are: #Linpeter, #Danny Huang, #Yuwzhng, #Raquel Calles, #L.Boldin.

Our first meeting took place on Friday, 5/9/14, during which we discussed suggestions for a group name, upcoming assignments of the course, possible visits to certain events dealing with Entrepreneurship and our further course of action regarding the next 2 months.

We will keep you updated.