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Entrepreneurial events are just expanding in size and quantity. This make me at least to search for unique events which have something new to offer. This search means that I have to try most of the events at least one time and connect with people to learn about more events which are happening.
In this process I met a student from Uppsala who was so passionate about China and what he had in mind was to connect China and Sweden when it comes to entrepreneurship and startups. He started from Uppsala but it didn’t take him long to understand that Uppsala is too small and unknown for such international project.
At the moment he has launched his Forum, Sweden China startup Forum, in Stockholm and Beijing and I had the honor to be invited for the launch event in Stockholm. I believe that the idea is amazing considering how big the market in China is and the entrepreneurial potential in Sweden. In the event investors, lawyers and startupers were having speeches about how the market is and mentioning the potentials and challenges. It was great environment with a fantastic diversity.
Their next event will be in spring and I would strongly recommend it to all of you who are interested in new opportunities!
Check their website out: www.swedenchinaforum.org

This Monday I was invited to a mingling event at the head office of Northvolt, via the female engineer network Malvina on KTH. Northvolt is a start-up within the energy sector, aiming to build Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery factory. The founders of Northvolt have their backgrounds in Tesla, and working there they got the idea to start a company for large-scale manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries in Sweden. There is no battery factory like this in Sweden today but with our well-developed industries and low energy prices, it is a very good country for this. The thing that I found very interesting with Northvolt is how this startup is determined to grow into a fullscale manufacturing company within the coming five years.

Northvolt focuses a lot on product development of their batteries, but they do not really innovate anything new. What they do know is that the future demand for lithium-ion batteries will be huge, as our society will use more renewable energy, electric cars and home storage systems for energy. They know there will be a market for these batteries, and now they rush through the start-up phase in order to start their production on time to meet this growing demand. In some way, it reminds me of the simulation game that we have been playing in this course. Their strategy is to offer the greenest batteries on the market since they predict that a competitive advantage in for example the electric car sector will be to offer products with a low lifecycle CO2 emission. They will do this by keeping most parts of their supply chain in Sweden, where they can have full control on their emissions and ethical standards.

I was super inspired by this event and I felt like joining this type of company would be a great way to be an intrapreneur, since none of the employees at Northvolt follows an established “know-how” at the moment – they all get to discover how they shall work to contribute to the success of Northvolt.

Intopreneur-2

In the entrance of the office, there were pictures of the future factories of Northvolt. Having this very clear goal visualized on the wall felt inspiring, and I noticed that all employees were proud of the company they are developing together!

Wish you all a good day!
Sara

 

Hi everyone! Good work with the presentations today 🙂

Yesterday  I went to an event arranged by Start-up Stockholm. It was a 60 minutes course in sales for start-ups, mostly focused on B2B sales. I want to share my key learnings from this course with you:

  1. Make sure that you express what you can give your customers in terms of creating value for them. And always introduce yourself in terms of what value you offer rather than your formal title. An example that was brought up was that the course leader himself says that his job is “to help people start companies”, rather than saying that he is a business advisor. This should be a top priority in your elevator pitch.
  2. Start to sell via your network. Make sure that all your connections know that you have started a new project/business and see if anyone knows someone that would be interested in what you offer.
  3. When selling for a start-up, you have to be able to handle all the noes. Because you will not sell to everyone, but keep up the good faith and keep on selling! (And in case your product/service doesn’t sell, that is a clear indicator that you need to change strategy.)

Start-up Stockholm arranges a variety of lectures and also offers one-on-one counselling for start-ups. I did not take any picture since it was such a small class.

http://www.startupstockholm.se//

Last week I was looking for a graduation internship, so I spent most of my time on some companies’ websites to find good opportunities, especially in consultancies. And I eventually got to speak about it with a friend, also trying to find an internship. It turns out that he’s been reached by a start-up for a 6 months job in Paris, plus 6 months in San Francisco about this web-customer data analysis. I think he’s been so lucky to receive such an amazing offer, even if I’ve not so much interest for that specific topic, and I start thinking “why not doing an internship in a start-up myself ?” It’s something I’d never really thought about before, but as I’m interested by the start-up world and because I think I would enjoy this peculiar and exiting kind of job, I start looking around for some opportunities. So I check out some career/job websites without finding any topic that I’d be really interested in, and I ask to myself what I would really be exited about in a job like that. In fact, I’m exited about creation, about giving birth to something, and thus I would be more interested by an early-stage start-up. Finally I remember I have a friend in a business school who’s told me once that many of her friends were planning to found a start-up at the end of their studies. I get back in touch with her and it turns out that she’s looking for a co-founder with technological knowledge to help her build her start-up. I personally have a profound technical background, and she’s planning to join a business incubator next January, when I’ll be back in France. She pitches me her idea and it seems quite cool (something about urban bicycles, roughly speaking), so it sounds like a perfect opportunity for me to experience the birth of a start-up. I eventually start doing the procedures with my school and the person in charge of internships reaches me to tell me that I won’t be authorized to do this because the company doesn’t exist yet so they can’t make any contract. Moreover it seems to risky for them because if the start-up fails I will have to do another 6 month internship in order to graduate, which I can understand. So I get back to my friend, a bit disappointed, and I remember that there is an entrepreneurship section back in my school, with people probably looking for this kind of projects for next year. So I propose to make an announcement about her project and her research for a co-founder on my school’s Facebook page, which she accepts. So far she’s been contacted by at least three people interested in her idea so I hope it will work !

creativity_technology

Eventually we’ve got to talk about pitches and I told her that I’ve been to some start-up events that were very interesting on the topic. Especially, what I’ve learned from STHLM Tech event is that you really need20161010_184106 to practice your pitch. And going to this kind of meet-ups can definitely help start-up founders because you can get some tips about what to say, how to be on the stage, etc. For instance, I found that the first pitcher reacted quite badly towards provocative invectives of the host. Of course the goal of this event was to criticize pitches so everybody can learn, and the host may seem a bit harsh but you shouldn’t take it personal in my opinion. The objective of this is to get a feedback on your pitch, even if it can make you feel dreadful, it is done on purpose to make you want to change what didn’t work in your speech. Well, in the end I hope she’ll manage to find a co-founder and I also strongly advised her to practice her pitch a lot, and get inspiration from this kind of events.

This little experience really taught me that sometimes network can be crucial. So if you want to build your own start-up, you should definitely talk about it around you because you don’t always know where help can come from. And obviously, going to specific start-up events for networking is an excellent way to start. For that matter I recommand to read Kevin’s article, if you’re still not convinced about that. And finally, the more you talk about your idea to people with different backgrounds, the more you’ll feel easy about it and I think it will help you to improve your pitch in the end.

Yesterday, Nadia Benali and I went to a really good event that was organized by SUP46, at Regeringsgatan 65, called How to Hack Slush Meetup.

Slush is an event that is spreading globally with the philosophy to help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward1. Founders, speakers, investors and media will be present. This is the place for you as an entrepreneur to find investors, costumers and media mentioning. If you have an idea, then this is the place for you.

Check out their trailer: http://www.slush.org/trailer/

Slush

At the event, we met with several people who had really good ideas and wanted to hear our thoughts about them. One of the ideas, that actually is available today, is called Speak up- you can read more about it on Nadia’s blog post (http://intopreneur.com/?p=2488). Another idea, that is already launched in America, is called Smart Alec. The idea is that you, as a student, can easily book your perfect tutor in whatever subject that you need help with. They have tutors from various universities in America. If you’re interested in visiting their site: https://smartalec.com/

Additionally, I was able to tell about my idea to one of the people there and the response was much better then what I expected. We discussed about how it could be improved and that I should make a good presentation and try to present it at an event- and perhaps have a chance. It was fun to hear this from a person that already had established a successful start-up.

Personally I believe that Slush is an excellent event that enables entrepreneurs to go in the right direction.

So if you have an idea, you should take this oppertunity and go to Slush. You might be our next successful entrepreneur.

 

1 http://www.slush.org/about/what-is-slush/

As vulgar as it sounds, people fuckup all the time and that’s the reason why the organizers name their events as Fuckup Morning Stockholm. Entrepreneurs experience setbacks and failures all the time but learning how to manage these setbacks on the route to success can be a tough journey. However, on the success stories of many entrepreneurs, these setbacks/failures were rarely being discussed. In this event, we had great take-aways from 3 main speakers who spoke about the f***ups they had before they achieved the success they have today.

a. Try and fail but never fail to try

Andreas Vural is the founder and President at Happy Plugs. Integrating fashion, design and music, Andreas created his company – Happy Plugs which sold earphones. One of the setbacks he faced during his entrepreneurial journey is that the ear plugs froze because of the cold weather and it broke when people wrapped their ear phones around their phones. This was a major setback but he did not give up and his product is sold in 6,000+ retailers in over 7000 countries worldwide now. This shows that you must always try and the worst thing is that one fails to put in the effort to try anything.

b. Turn your f***up story into something positive

Emilia de Poret, at the age of 23, was working with a record company and this bring about her pop-star dream. However, for a period of time, she could not contact anyone from the company. As she was wondering what’s wrong, she realized that she got fired by the company. Her dream crashed overnight but after 2 weeks of being in despair, she decided to turn her life around. She took charge of her own life and setup her own music production company which is now a success today. Emilia believes that f***ups do make your life interesting and one should always turn it into something positive. I feel that this is the spirit that entrepreneurs should have because one is likely to face failures and setbacks along the way and if you are able to turn it into something positive, the f***up event might be an opportunity for you instead.

Emilia also talks about her partner and mentioned that one should not do everything alone. Try to find a partner or a team because when there are successes, there will be double happiness and likewise, double f***ups, if it happens. Find people around you to become your partners/teams or network with others and if you find someone interesting, talk to them because you will never know what comes out of it.

c.  Find your customers!

Peder Dinkelspiel is a web entrepreneur with a lot of new ideas and he’s constantly working on new and interesting projects once he has a new idea. He’s inspiring because when someone has an idea, they usually think of a hundred and one reasons to kill the idea but he doesn’t. Peder knew nothing much about technology but with an interest in it, he went on to learn them on his own from the library. In my opinion, not many people have the perseverance to do that but he made it and is now working in the tech-based entrepreneurship industry right now with new ideas springing up every now and then.

During the Q&A session, he was asked about getting investors for his idea. Fortunately for him, he was mainly self-funded and do not have to rely on investors. However, one thing that struck me was when he mention that the most important thing is to find your customers. Once you get your first/second/third customer, they are important for your business. This is so much better than finding an investor because having customers prove that there is a potential for the idea to work in future.

The event has been an eye-opener for me and I have indeed learnt a lot from the session. (:

This weekend, members of the groups Star-Tup and IMBATECH held an informal entrepreneurship evening with very rewarding discussions regarding our ideas and preparing for the exam. We also got to take a look at a product of a start-up that Jonatan is currently helping, Narrative. This little camera helped us document the evening.

Photo taken by the Narrative clip.

Photo taken by the Narrative clip.

Both groups received some valuable feed-back, from both internal and external advisors, on their ideas and we had a lot of fun.