Passion for entrepreneurship has inspired us to create Foundum. We believe in entrepreneurs as they have the greatest potential to drive, change and positively influence economies & societies.


Category: Entrepreneurship

TEDxESADE 2012 – Two acronyms that go well together!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Do you know what TED and ESADE have in common? In first place they are both acronyms; TED means Technology, Entertainment and Design, ESADE means Escuela Superior de Administración y Direcciòn de Empresas. Something else they have in common is their passion for entrepreneurship, innovation and emerging talent. Both institutions, in their own way, educate and provide a space to launch new ideas. That’s essentially what the TEDxESADE event on the 13th of April was about and we at Foundum are happy to partner up with these initiatives!

The audience was full of concept and early stage entrepreneurs being inspired by some very extroverted and entertaining speakers. The speakers were there to inspire and pump energy into the audience – they succeeded.

Alex Barrera (co-founder and CEO Tetuan Valley) and Lane Becker talked about some abstract motivational concepts like achieving “WOWness” and learning how to be lucky. They pushed the idea that your life is in your control, many random things will happen, but if we are able to keep a positive attitude and spot opportunities when we least expect them we can really shape our own lives they way we want to.

Feargal MacConuladh, Director at Technova, gave a more concrete presentation with the 5 reasons why YOU should become an entrepreneur!

  1. The pursuit of passion! Do what you are passionate about…
  2. Create like a child! You can go back to being a child playing with lego block and create something from scratch.
  3. The rush of risk! That adrenaline rush that you get when doing something extreme. It’s the same rush that entrepreneurs get addicted to and the reason why they keep on creating companies.
  4. Mountains of money…not really. You have a slight chance you will make a mountain of money. Anyway, it’s a job that will generate some kind of income for you and if you think it’s not safe, well… in these economic times no job is safe.
  5. Freedom, #nuffsaid

TEDxESADE is a fantastic afternoon event that takes place in Barcelona every year. It surely does a great job at inspiring concept and early stage entrepreneurs to go forward and start shaping their own lives and the lives of others from what they create.

Wrapping up an exciting week – #MWC12

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

The Mobile World Congress has opened and closed its doors in just less than one week for the 2012 edition. It was an exciting week to say the least. What was so interesting for us here at Foundum was not so much the Mobile World Congress by itself, rather all the amazing people that it brought to Barcelona as well as the high quality events that took place all around the city. Just to get a feeling about what happened outside of the MWC doors you can see Mike Butcher’s article and Helen Keegan’s Mobile Heroes webpage with a list of “fringe” events that took place this week in Barcelona

The week started off on Sunday with the event at NovotelInnovation on the Fringe. We had the pleasure to speak to a few entrepreneurs behind these mobile companies. Something that becomes obvious during such an event is that smartphones have created a huge industry of applications. One of the companies presenting was SmartSync – a way to synchronize your address book with your social networks. Some little insider info for our readers, it is now priced at €0.99, but it will be free starting next week J.

In addition there was Techcrunch@Barcelona with the formidable Mike Butcher as well as the 7th Ladies Lunch, every year organized by Helen Keegan, on Monday and Tuesday respectively. What is so good about these events is that it brings together so many different people from startups, mobile and big multinationals from all over the world. Great opportunities to make some good contacts – we have, so come along next time too!

On the Wednesday we actually hosted an event in our own offices alongside myTaxi. Ladbrokes organized the event and Layer7 Technologies sponsored (the drinks) for anyone interested in mobile gaming. We had a good show up of people from the mobile industry and we are looking forward to repeating such an event next year.

Wednesday was a busy evening. Right after our event we jumped to Swedish Beers – which has become a tradition for the Barcelona MWC. We definitely had some great beers, met some interesting entrepreneurs and obviously some Swedish people as well.

Our take on this hectic week? Barcelona keeps being the city where you work hard and play hard. The energy around the MWC has been fantastic and we love all these events going on around it so that the local community can better interact with all the talent that is coming into Barcelona. We are also hoping that now some of this talent realizes the opportunities and lifestyle that Barcelona offers – ladies and gentlemen, we are preparing for you the European hub for entrepreneurs!

Davos 2012 and Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Last year we wrote a blog entry about “Entrepreneurship in Davos and the year ahead”. Entrepreneurship was a leading topic in last year’s discussions, especially because many politicians saw it as a way out of the crisis. After one year we can say that entrepreneurship has been a buzz word for many and we’ve seen amazing things happening from Silicon Valley to the “Mediterranean Valley”. LinkedIn has gone public and now Facebook is following. Skype has been acquired by Microsoft and hundreds of events around entrepreneurship are taking place! It has been a great pleasure to see that at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Global Entrepreneurship had its own section on the website – further proof of the growing importance.

Although as they say, not all that glitters is gold, in his recent blog post in the Harvard Business Review, Daniel Isenberg argues that entrepreneurship (innovative, high-growth and job creation) is not what is really talked about. Too much focus is placed on self-employment and small businesses that are enough to sustain an individual or a family, but don’t create the type of growth and job creation necessary to make a dent in a country’s economy. Below we will explore what has been said at Davos 2012 and throughout the year see if words have turned into action – something entrepreneurs are very good at doing!

Entrepreneurship and the future

There has been a lot of talk by Klaus Schwab at Davos about the future; the future of jobs, the future of youth, the future of the environment and it seems like all the roads lead to Rome entrepreneurship. Sometimes explicitly, other times inexplicitly, entrepreneurs and innovation have been mentioned as the solution to growth, job creation, saving the environment and in general as those capable of making a dream/idea a reality. On a personal note from Foundum, we want to remind you that the idea is important, but the successful entrepreneur is the one that can gather the right talent around him/herself and can execute!

Is entrepreneurship the 21st Century career?

At Davos an extremely positive attitude could be seen from everyone when it comes to entrepreneurs. It’s almost as if entrepreneurship has become a career. One can now study entrepreneurship at university and take an idea to an incubator, receive courses around pitching to investors, go to events, grow the company and sell it. It has become somewhat of a structured path like building a CV, to go and work for a big firm. In addition we have seen that the rewards of building a successful startup can be huge with all the investments and exits that are available today. Obviously huge rewards are also linked to greater risk – something important to keep in mind.

Barriers to entry & commoditization of entrepreneurship

The rise of information technology, globalization and increased knowledge sharing have been crucial factors in allowing teams and individuals to find the skill sets needed to create cheap prototypes of their main products that ride the wave of platforms like Facebook or the iPhone. As a result we are seeing many small players creating apps, social games and other software or hardware at a fraction of a cost leveraging resources and talent from different countries and with the advantage of not having to move from behind a computer.

This is all very beautiful, but some key questions arise; are we creating sustainable value or seasonal companies with seasonal apps? Is there valuable intellectual property and ideas that change the world or are we simply fueling a consumer, mindless society? And most importantly, are we blurring the lines between a family bakery and a 3 person developer team with an app selling for €0.99 cents and both with a revenue of €300.000/year?

There seem to be more and more young entrepreneurs, some are high-growth, status-quo changers, many are lifestyle entrepreneurs that are happy creating small enterprises that will stay small. What is apparent is that politicians and world leaders don’t distinguish enough from the two. Both are important and essential, but policies need to differ and the future Facebook, Google, cancer curing company cannot be treated the same as a cupcake store. We want to see a greater support towards those entrepreneurs and startups that will change the world and world leaders are not doing enough, as it was apparent in Davos where entrepreneurship was in everyone’s speeches, but on no one’s agenda!

Vienna Startup Week

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

5 days, 30 sessions, 50 start-ups, 70 speakers and more than 1000 people attendees. These were just some numbers floating around at the first edition of the European Startup festival in Vienna. We were also in Vienna for both the Venturepreneurs’ Summit and the Startup Week. It was an intense week full of insights into European entrepreneurship with a special focus on Eastern Europe and emerging markets. We want to share with you what we have learned at the conference so you can use this knowledge to grow yourselves and your ventures!

Talent, talent and more talent

It is clear that the main challenge of a venture (as well as any other type of organisation) is to acquire the right talent. When we refer to talent it isn’t necessarily the people that come out of a Harvard MBA with the top grades. Each venture has a specific culture, offering and is at a certain stage of its lifecycle – so you need to seek the talent that is right for you. As Morten Lund says, in a venture at the seed and start-up stage the people need the stamina and passion as well as the persistence and courage to go forward regardless of the obstacles. Later on if the business model is proven and works well it might be necessary to bring in new talent that can grow the venture fast in different geographies and bring it to the next level. So make sure you understand where you venture is and who it needs for the present stage.

You are running a marathon

Pascal Finette, of Mozilla, made a very inspiring presentation on how if you are an entrepreneur you need to behave as if you were running a marathon. He gives recommendations to the entrepreneur to reduce the likelihood of failure and also set the right expectations. We highlight a few of these recommendations. As an entrepreneur you need to make sacrifices, it isn’t easy and the success stories seen in the media are the tip of an iceberg fool of failures. Make the positive choices that make a difference in your life and career, karma will get back to you! Set high goals for yourself and seek your potential, only like this will you break barriers. Work as a team, run to win and push the pace – only together will you reach those goals and unless you run to win you will never win but you need to push the pace and mover quicker than others.

The product

The product is key, it is what your customers need to use, like and come back to. It is because of the product that you are able to monetize and it is the main purpose of the venture. Tariq Krim, entrepreneur and founder of Netvibes and Jolicloud, took us through his tips on what you should focus on when it comes to the product. There are always the obvious things such as make a product that works and people need, build a brand around it, and execute well. Some other tips include the distribution, “Every good product is as good as its reach” – so if you release a new online product in a country with very little Internet penetration don’t expect good results. Also, don’t quit that easily, if it doesn’t work out the first time change direction, tweak the product or the target market – “don’t quit until you’ve tried everything”.

Network and be involved

Our own personal recommendation is that you need to be present and know the people in the industry. For us going to Startup Week 2011 was an invaluable experience. We have met the top European entrepreneurs, investors and visionaries in the Internet space. Before you network and attend conferences, make sure what your purpose is, who you want to speak to and prepare. At the conference, try to speak to many people, get to know the speakers and then at the after conference parties (and there are always parties!) you have the chance to get to know people better and have a one to one conversation. Make sure to set a metric for your networking efforts, it’s just like any other business operation you do.

We were inspired by what happened in Vienna and we are even more enthusiastic about bringing to the entrepreneurial scene the online platform for entrepreneurs and the relevant stakeholders that will enable the ecosystem to be online, more interconnected, more visual and have a local penetration coupled with a global reach.

Barcelona 2011 a good year!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

2011 seems to be a good year for entrepreneurship in Barcelona. We are half way through the year and there has been an inflow of talent that is mind-boggling. This is clearly visible through the many events that have taken place in the city: 3-Day Start-up, TEDxESADE, BizBarcelona, SIME Barcelona and the Growth Summit are just some examples. Below we’d like to share the main learning outcomes from the star speakers that have joined us in the past months and have pumped our motivation to start ventures and have enriched our knowledge and vision.

Sweat and Tears

Two very clear messages came out from all the presentations, conversations and interviews. The first message is that now is the time to start ventures and jump into the start-up world because companies are not hiring as much and because new ventures are the growth engines of economies and are the innovators of the world. The second message is that entrepreneurship is for those who are open to sacrifice. It’s not an easy career path, it involves long hours and weekends and the success stories that the media speaks of are the exception to the rule. As Steve Blank, retired serial entrepreneur and professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford and Berkley, says, if you have a vision and are passionate about it go ahead and try (BizBarcelona).

In a one-to-one interview with Ola Alvharsson, chairman and host of the media event SIMECaterina Fake, founder of Flickr, narrated the tough path that her team had to go through before Flickr took off. It was amusing to hear such a prominent entrepreneur having to go through tight budgets and instant noodle meals (see a video about it). It’s a reminder to all that entrepreneurship is not as glamorous as one usually expects.

Setting up the right team

People make the difference; there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about that. Venture capitalists like Nenad Merovac, Managing Partner at DN Capital, have reiterated how they invest in people, not ideas, because people can pivot and change the course if the idea doesn’t work (SIME). Geoff Smart spoke for 2 hours at the Growth Summit about the importance and techniques needed to hire the right people. Failing to do so can be expensive and lead to no results.

Steve Blank reminds us how essential it is to distinguish between those people who are good for mature companies and those who are good for start-ups. In all departments of a start-up, although most of the times there is one core team multitasking, the people are supposed to be able to cope with changes in strategy, sales pitches and developing a minimum viable product. Unlike bigger established companies where everything is more certain, almost set in stone and the people revolve around the product’s well-defined and established specifications.

Understanding the business model

A start-up creates from scratch a new business and with that a strategy, a product or service and so on, and a crucial piece of the puzzle is the business model. How will the start-up make money and what will enable the revenue generation? These are crucial questions that entail understanding the customer segments, relationships, the channels, the value proposition and much more. It can be hard for a start-up to understand all the areas that are needed to cover and those that are crucial to a business.

As the Growth Guy Verne Harnish explained at the past Growth Summit  in Barcelona, every business needs to “own” a word or phrase in a Google search if they want to be the leaders in their field. The man that owns the phrase “Business Model Generation” is Alex Osterwalder. He is the person who puts all the key elements of a business model in one page to portray in a visual and easy way all the important elements – value proposition, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, key activities, key resources, key partners, cost structure and revenue streams. We highly recommend going to his website and downloading the canvas for free in order to easily display and visualise the business model of your start-up.

Social media and real time

Social media has reshaped the way companies think about marketing, CRM, HR, and more. Businesses are increasing efforts and budgets to spend into social media in order to speak to customers, communicate new products or take care of their brand. This relatively new phenomenon has also allowed smaller companies to compete with bigger well-known brands since costs to have a profile on Facebook and launch a “cool” campaign are minimal compared to launching an advertisement during the Super Bowl.

Social media can be an immensely positive thing as well as a destructive force. The concept of real time on social media as well as the reach of the Internet may cause huge headaches to start-ups. It’s hard to minimize damages once negative news is out, so companies must act real time to take care of problems, as well as acting real time to take advantage of what’s going on in the world.

Democratization of entrepreneurship

It used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a start-up before the dotcom bubble. Now with $30,000 a website can be up and running with the first beta testers. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, has spoken to us at SIME about how they are helping start-ups with their cloud services. With very little costs and a simple pay as you use costs structure a website can be entirely stored on Amazon’s servers and be fully active. Steve Blank notes that in today’s world anyone can start a company with little investment. Entrepreneurship is for all those who are willing to go ahead with their vision.

We look forward in contributing to this vision with our own services launching soon, so stay tuned!

 

Entrepreneurship in Davos and the year ahead!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Every year the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos. This global event was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab and has now become the global platform where business executives, political leaders, activists and thought leaders get together to improve the state of the world. Wide arrays of topics are discussed and this year entrepreneurship took the centre stage in many discussions. Below follows a synthesis of the role of entrepreneurship in 2011 and the future to improve the global economy and society.

Entrepreneurship in Medvedev’s Keynote speech

Entrepreneurship not only took the centre stage at the forum but has been mentioned from the beginning as Russia’s President Medvedev opened up the annual meeting with his keynote speech. His words made it clear that the private sector not only solves crisis in the short term but is the only way forward in the longer term. Russia is trying to develop innovative entrepreneurship by creating a “Russian Silicon Valley” called Skolkovo, previously mentioned in our blog. In addition new legislation is being drafted to foster entrepreneurship to allow new ventures to have “preferential treatment”.

From Russia to The Entrepreneurship Imperative

The Entrepreneurship Imperative has been the title of a panel where the importance of taught entrepreneurship was discussed. The panel argued that entrepreneurship needs to be taught not as a subject but as a state of mind on a global level. From primary education to business schools a model where risk taking is encouraged alongside sustainable development and the generation of entrepreneurs rather than managers.

Another key issue discussed was the idea that in order to be a sustainable entrepreneur one needs to be able to deal with failure understanding that the world’s success stories are the point of a much bigger iceberg. In addition role models are encouraged to take an active participation in fostering entrepreneurship and teaching that the importance of new ventures is not only money but job creation and the spread of certain values. An important fact from the panel is that SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) are the top employers in the world, not multinational corporations!

Entrepreneurship as the Pillar for the Middle-East growth

The Middle-East is “blessed” with a young and fast growing population, but this can be a double-edge sword if there is little job creation. Further this region has a climate that limits supply of water and food. Some countries are blessed with oil and gas fields, but these will not last forever. Innovative entrepreneurship in the fields of water and agriculture as well as in major tech and biotech industries are seen as a must for this region to increase employment and steer away from social unrest.

This panel of experts discussed the importance of teaching entrepreneurship related skills to foster this body of knowledge and parity of opportunities to both genders and all income groups. The panel also reinforced that the legal structures and institutions that are in place in these countries should shift to create a better environment for taking risks, creating new ventures and ease bankruptcy procedure.

Scaling-up Big Ideas & Social Entrepreneurship

Big ideas and social entrepreneurship are a hard match, but very possible according to this panel, what is needed is a pinch of help from multinationals and some willingness to give away some control. It’s a challenge to set up local social ventures and survive for long, so one can imagine the challenge it can be to scale existing social ventures to reach more people in dispersed geographic locations. The panel spoke of two examples where social entrepreneurs teamed up with corporations to implement social projects. The first example given was Coca-Cola producing the “Mango Haiti Hope Juice” while the second example was with Cemex selling concrete at cost to develop communities where the people put in their labour. The reality is that in both example the social entrepreneurs had to make the sacrifices to give away a lot of the power in order for the projects to be carried ahead. In order to scale in such a manner or by creating partnerships and franchises the social entrepreneur must give away some control and power for the good of the project.

Listed were some of the insights into entrepreneurship at Davos and what the world intellectual elite is thinking. Some ongoing themes appear that entrepreneurship is what keeps countries growing by providing jobs and in turns diminishes the chances of social unrest. In parallel, policies, decisions and actions that impede entrepreneurship are harmful on a short and long term perspective. The real issue though is not whether entrepreneurship is bad or good or if it should or shouldn’t be implemented. The question is how can entrepreneurship values be taught to increase the rate of entrepreneurship and the positive values around it?

The Foundum Team on Holiday!

Monday, January 17th, 2011

The holiday season came to an end and the Foundum Team is back, working hard. I’m Claudio and I take care of content and projects at Foundum and I’d like to give you some insight on what the Foundum Team did during the holidays.

Although we are the most hard working and dedicated team of the Global internet start-up scene ;) we took some holidays as well. Yes, incredible but true! Of course we also worked remotely and with that we experienced the consequences that include, but are not limited to, time zone differences, no internet connection (which is not a good thing for an internet company!), trouble in communication and more! As our CEO says: “A start-up never sleeps”. We are a very international team so our holidays were spent all over the world from Germany, to Spain, to the Czech Republic, to Russia and the Maldives.

Daniela

Our Founders, Daniela and Christopher went back to chilly but cosy Hamburg, as you can see from the picture below. (Between us, more chilly than cosy!) Here you can see that Christopher received a new toy for Christmas (all the Geeks out there might know what it is – yes, the A.R. Drone making a boys dream come true of flying a big helicopter;-) whilst Daniela is enjoying the landscape of a frozen Elbe river.

chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Product Manager, Ramon, went to visit his girlfriend’s parents in Extremadura (on the Atlantic coast of Spain). Amongst celebrating the various festivities he also went on a guided tour of the Almaraz nuclear plant (Wow!). Check out the view:

nuclear power plant

I went back to see my family who’s living in Moscow and then we went on a trip to a warm and relaxed stay on a white sandy island in the Maldives. Coming from -15°c to +30°c it was a shock, from building an igloo to building a sand castle! Below I’m having a beer with my mother Alessandra in the “igloo”.

09012011002

Ladislav and Zdenko our Programming Magicians enjoyed the white Christmas in the Czech Republic. Ladislav spent time with family and friends eating sweets, drinking lots (of water & soft drinks I’m sure), and playing the all time classic social games. Zdenko spent his Christmas with the family, chatting, exchanging gifts, and being distracted by his computer. While New Years (aka St. Sylvester Day) was spent with the friends in the mountains and included, skiing, snowboarding, pub-ing and Karaoke-ing (we look forward to your singing at our next retreat!). They are both still holding back with pictures ;)

Sara, our Intern, went back to her hometown just outside Barcelona and spent Christmas with her family (30 ppl!!!!!) and New Years with her friends. This is Sara with her best friend, Miguel, they are so stylish they seem ready to go and host a TV show on Spanish national TV!

Fin de año_sara&miguel

 

We travelled, we relaxed, we had fun, we enjoyed and… worked …, now that 2011 has started we’re more energetic than ever to bring Foundum full on during the first part of this year! Stay tuned ;)

Key Success Factors: Internationalisation of Spanish e-Businesses

Monday, December 27th, 2010

In December 2010, our team attended the First Tuesday event that takes place every month in Barcelona. The conference aimed to explain the key success factors when launching an e-business in a foreign country. The focus was to provide specific tips for Spanish based e-businesses who would like to internationalise.

The guest speakers for this occasion were Venturepreneur Rodolfo Carpintier and entrepreneur Lluís Font. Rodolfo Carpintier is the owner of Digital Assets Deployment (DAD), an incubator for e-businesses in Madrid. Lluís Font is the CEO of Zyncro, which offers innovative document and collaboration tools to companies.

The six main topics were:

1. Spanish entrepreneur profile
According to Rodolfo Carpintier’s experience when it comes to internationalisation, Spanish entrepreneurs often lack ambition and international background. It’s very common for Spanish entrepreneurs to plan to sell and operate on a local level only.  It’s compulsory for every entrepreneur thinking about internationalisation to speak English and get a stronger international background. Such factors greatly help the entrepreneur when going abroad.

2. Hernán Cortés syndrome. Europe vs. South America
Sometimes Spanish entrepreneurs go to South America to start an affiliate of their current company just because the language is similar. Although language is important there should be more and valuable reasons when expanding into a new market. Both Carpintier and Font recommended trying Europe as well which has very strong markets like; England (albeit being very competitive), Germany and France. It’s a good first attempt and a good indicator of success.

3. Team up with the right partner
It’s important to find the right partner in the new geographical market. Regarding financing the new venture Font and Carpintier recommended the ideal scenario to be to give away at the most 49% equity with a buy-back option. In this way the majority ownership is maintained. In addition the risk is shared and if the project goes well full ownership can be reclaimed.

4. Team structure in foreign markets
Ideally, the best option is to have the complete team only in the headquarters and just the staff that is really needed in the other countries in order to deal with the different issues of each country. When thinking to launch in a big and very diverse market like the USA, then it’s better to have a complete team there to deal with issues such as the size of the market and the time difference.

5. Spanish names syndrome. From “Portal del Jamón” to “Ham online”
For the Spanish start-ups that use very Spanish names for their brands it is recommended to change these into more international catchy names that sound good both locally and abroad. Otherwise, having a very local name can prove successful in the local market, but is not very useful when expanding the business abroad. This tip is also applicable when thinking of a name of the company regardless of the country. The name should sound international.

6. Further tips for success
Entrepreneurs need to be persistent. It’s vital to have cash to be able to pay the staff that is part of the team. Knowledge of the different legislation systems is recommendable. Last but not least, the product needs to be standardized from the launch country to the country of origin, and not the other way around.

It’s very important to adapt a global vision when thinking of selling in other markets; study in depth what the situation in each country is like and then pursue the best strategy accordingly. Most of the mistakes that entrepreneurs make in the expansion phase are due to the implementation of the wrong business model to the new country entering.

How we are being educated out of creativity – 3 ways of finding your Element.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

At the HSM conference we have attended and written about previously, we have been fascinated by Sir Ken Robinson’s ideas regarding education. We also had the pleasure to meet him personally and receive a nice dedication in his book, The Element. After his talk it was clear that if the education systems around the world followed his suggestions listed below entrepreneurship and business would foster around the world with new creative products and services.

Growing up most of us attended an education system that encouraged certain subjects over others. Usually the math’s, languages, humanities, and sciences were the most important subjects while the arts and sports took a secondary role and many other disciplines were not even considered, for example entrepreneurship. At the end of the day most of the emphasis actually went to the languages and maths. Before the argument goes on there are questions that must be asked; how many of you use the first derivative that you studied in calculus class to create your company? Or, why does the education system strive to offer a “one size fits all suit” to the variety of children and young adults that have such diverse intelligences and interests?

Sir Ken Robinson puts forth some compelling arguments about the need to reform the education system in order to better cater society and engage the students. One of the crucial arguments he makes is that all children are born with imagination and creativity, but as we grow older we get educated out of creativity as we are taught to blend in the crowd and fit in society.

The argument must not be misinterpreted that the education system is useless, or that not going to a school will increase your chances of being creative and come up with the next Google. In fact Google would have never been invented if the two founders hadn’t met each other in one of the best universities in the world (Google Milestones). In addition one must not forget the education system is only part of a child’s education, family and surroundings play a major role.

Sir Ken Robinson does a great job at explaining why and how many have trouble finding what they are good at and what they love doing. If a child grew up not being good at math or languages and always bringing home mediocre scores from school the individual is very likely to have low self-esteem. This will produce an adult with little self-confidence. Such an individual might feel unfit for life and settle for any job in the market. The Element, Sir Ken Robinson’s book, tries to explain how we all have talents that can be developed.

From the many examples that he mentions one that really stands out is Paul McCartney. Apparently he was horrible at school in music class and more than one choir rejected him. Another well known example is Richard Branson who had trouble at school because of his dyslexia and dropped out at age 15.

A few points that the author develops to find your element follow below:

Find your intelligence:
understand that we are all diversely intelligent and find what it is you are intelligent at. Don’t assume that not being great at math means that you are not great at creating a company or making a name for yourself in a new undiscovered field.

Imagination:
we all have it, we just need to challenge the obvious and extend our minds beyond what we have been taught. Unleash your minds from the chains of society!

I get it, I love it, I want it, where is it? Once you understand what is it that you get, something that you love doing then find it, find the opportunity and do it. We have one life and we cannot waste the majority of it doing something we don’t love.

It seems therefore reasonable that another way to express Sir Robinson’s ideas is that we need to be entrepreneurs of our own lives. We need to understand our passion and talent and do something about it. We also have to look at things from a different perspective in order to innovate and we need to take risks. Be an entrepreneur in your own life and go get it!

Have a look at Sir Ken Robinson’s famous talk at TED:

What are Barcelona’s top Student Entrepreneurship Clubs?

Monday, October 25th, 2010

The future of our nations and cities are the younger generations; tomorrow’s Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are today’s university students. This is why it is interesting to take a look at what these talented individuals are doing in their local ecosystems. This post will look at the 5 top entrepreneurship student clubs/spots that are present in Barcelona and their main characteristics:

  1. Esade Entrepreneurship Club – this is one of the most active clubs in Barcelona. They are affiliated with the famous ESADE University which also has a business incubator called Creapolis.
  2. Another very active club and probably better known, with more experience and taking more action is the one affiliated from IESE University.  The club is therefore called IESE Entrepreneurs Club and its members are the IESE MBA students. This university is very much entrepreneurial oriented as they have a research organization dedicated to Family-Owned businesses and entrepreneurship.
  3. UPC, a renowned university in the field of technology and innovation has an affiliated Entrepreneurship Club but they don’t have a website or contact details. On the other hand they also have a very interesting business incubator.
  4. Another institution that is active in the field of entrepreneurship is La Salle. They have an incubator and also a blog related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately the club they used to have doesn’t exist anymore.
  5. EADA university is active in entrepreneurship with a very dedicated professor who is passionate about the subject. Unfortunately the club’s information is not available on the website.

Entrepreneurship is a passion in Barcelona, many speak about it, many do it and we hope that students keep on being interested in creating new companies and innovating. Universities are a place where to start a superior education and maybe create something new and we look forward to meet the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.