Introduction to Entrepreneurship
Before I talk about our first appointment with Enactus, I want to point out that I’m really looking forward to visit the start event of Enactus at Heineken Experience tomorrow (Saturday 4 Oct.)! It’s going to be awesome and I’m sure that I will learn a lot from the given workshops and maybe even already extend my network at the first day of this internship!
Now back to the appointment. So today, together with two classmates, I finally met the members of the management board of Enactus! It actually was a pretty confusing start because neither we nor they really knew what to expect of each other. So we both started talking a little bit about what we were going to do in the next weeks. The Enactus members told us that we could attend all of their meetings, workshops and events during the whole minor. I love the fact that they are so open with us and that they are willing to really make us a part of their great team! Furthermore, we discussed how we are going to deal with the Circular Economy challenge. Together with my two classmates we agreed that we are taking the whole initiative from A to Z, of course with some guiding of Enactus, to come up with a business plan regarding Circular Economy. Next week a brainstorm session will take place, after which we will present our ideas to the project manager of Enactus. What would it be if our business plan was so good and realistic that we could actually make it happen after the minor, which indeed is an option! I can’t wait to begin this challenge and to gain the experience that is needed to start up an own business in the future.
See you soon again!
During my course Entrepreneurship Industry in the minor Entrepreneurship at VU Amsterdam I got the assignment to interview an Entrepreneurship professional. The most appealing report in combination with this interview is I think that of Dyer, L.M. & Ross, C.A. (2007) Advising and the small business client. International Small Business Journal, 25, 130 – 151.
This is because of the consulting and helping role the interviewee has I interviewed. He advises about the financial part of the companies of clients of small to medium sized companies, most of them entrepreneurs and helps them doing the financial work in the companies. He said he likes working with young entrepreneurs because of the energy en passion they have.
I think the article of Dyer, L.M. & Ross, C.A. (2007) is so important because for entrepreneurs it’s hard to have success without any consult or advice. Many entrepreneurs don’t have the knowledge or the skills to make the business to a success so need help.
A reason why this article is of importance to this entrepreneurship professional in the consultancy branch is that having a good relationship with the client requires time. It needs time to know what a client wants and to build trust by overcoming problems. A good consultant should know that problems encountered at the beginning stages of the relationship are significantly different from those at later stages. Dyer, L.M. & Ross, C.A. (2007)
Advisors or consultancies who are willing to accommodate and empathize with clients in an attempt to make the relationship work have a higher chance of having a successful relationship. This creates openness and a better insight for as well the advisor as for the client.
Last topic of importance is the experience of the advisor and the client and the development of both companies. Problems the business of the clients have are different and needed to be handled different when the business is in a different stage of experience or development.
Reference: Dyer, L.M. & Ross, C.A. (2007) Advising and the small business client. International Small Business Journal, 25, 130 – 151.
This week I met my internship contact person and my fellow students for the first time. The goal was to discuss what is to be expected for the coming months. As I wrote previously the topic of our group will be exit strategy. During the conversation I got more and more motivated over our challenge, especially since I realized the importance of the topic.
The challenge is to create awareness among entrepreneurs and business owners on the importance of exit strategies i.e. not to be afraid to talk to people or ask for help when the business is not going well.
During the conversation I learned that a business failing or going bankrupt can be a very valuable experience for an entrepreneur. The organisation we work with has a strong team of people with experience of bankruptcy and people from various industries like a lawyer, a psychologist and a business owner who once went bankrupt.
The plan regarding our challenge, making us the challengees and our internship contact person the challenger, is to divide the six of us in two groups. Both groups work and brainstorm four weeks to make a plan in order to create as much awareness for exit strategies as possible.
Then after four weeks both groups of challengees will present their idea to a jury assembled by our challenger. After that the group makes a decision on which plan is the best. This is the plan we will work out together. We try to realise the plan with the intention to create the awareness of exit strategies.
I’m very excited to participate in this creative challenge, first month competing with the other group of challengees and eventually realising the best plan.
This week we have to write about entrepreneurial networking. Networking in entrepreneurship has grown out to be one of the most important things for creating a successful business. As we learned, all entrepreneurs and their firms are connected to a network into which their entrepreneurial activities gets directed and channelled. These connections are used to get your name out in the world. Since we constantly get taught just how important networks are in running a business I wanted to dig a little deeper in the importance of it. I found an article by Nidhi Ann Rai called “Importance of Business Networking for Entrepreneurs” which explains the importance of this phenomenon.
As mentioned in the article, “networking is all about making connections with people so as to build enduring and mutually beneficial relationships.” I think this is a really good definition especially because it includes the bit about mutually beneficial relationships. Both of the parties who have a connection need to benefit from each other otherwise the relationship is not going to last long. The main advantages of networking are that it ensures meeting the right people to add to your network, promote products and services on a personal level and helps you to enter larger networks. All of these benefits lead to getting your organization more trustful and credible which creates legitimacy. This is also very important as you can read back in my previous blog post. There are different ways to meet new people to add to your network like joining social networking sites or going to networking events. It is also important to get to know entrepreneurs from another line of business. As the article says, “you never know who knows who.”
In my opinion networking for entrepreneurs is one of the most important things you should be focusing on as an entrepreneur. A larger network means more cliental, trust and getting your brand out into our socially connected world. I believe that networking is not only important, but it is a necessity to keep your firm afloat in today’s market.
See you next week!
I found an interesting article in the newspaper this week. ‘Networking in Lederhosen’ says the title and as a result it caught my interest immediately. Like every year, the worlds’ greatest beer festival is celebrated in Munich: Oktoberfest! Men and women dress up in traditional German clothing, eat bratwursts and drink mugs filled with beer. Not much like a serious business networking event I thought, but nothing is less true. At the edge of the hopping crowd you find a striking wooden hut. It is called the “Käfer”, and it is the place to network for the German business elite. Business men and woman book a table years earlier sometimes. Newcomers in the field might only get access to a table through a mediator. Often, not truly legal and very expensive. According to a German newspaper these prizes can go up to 20.000 euro.
The main reason why people use the Oktoberfest to build up and maintain their network is because of its informal nature. According to business men in Germany, the German culture is stiff and formal. By the relaxed atmosphere of such an informal event people are more open to new contacts. Yet, it is not smart to drink more than one mug, because you don’t want to lose control in front of your (future) business partners.
Theorists say that social networks are mainly based on intangible assets and that the most important asset is trust. By this way the entrepreneur gains legitimacy towards the actors that are involved. A visitor of the Oktoberfest, who is also CEO of an investment company, state that their business is based on trust and trust only. He says: “Relations that are based on trust need proper care, this is an excellent moment to assure that”.
After reading the article I do not fully agree with the purpose of networking at the Oktoberfest. Only the real big companies can obtain a table and if you want to join them you have to pay a lot of money. By this way the essence of establishing social networks (that are not based on money) is gone. Only people who can afford a table are allowed to join the network. In my eyes the event is more a show off for the more fortunate among us instead of having a good talk with your (future) network contact!
Feel free to share your view on this subject with me!
You will all hear from me next week!
Hi fellow students,
When you have a thought of making a new product or service and see the opportunity it may succeed it is a long way untill it hits the market. When you develop a product in the lab or something like it, a garage just like Steve Jobs. According to this article written by Markhum (2002) you need champions, resources and formal development processes to overcome the valley of death. This valley sounds dangerous but in the end all entrepreneurs who want to achieve succes have to overcome this valley.
Valley of Death is the decision space between existing research resources and commercialization resources. The reason of this gap is the culture gap between the people on the left (research) and on the right (commercialization). Both sides need translation from the other side in order to make the own side succesful.
Like I already mentioned, you need a champion. In this article I don’t mean the German football team but someone who’s in between both sides and is excellent in translating to both sides. Without this champion there is no mutual understanding. The work of a champion is crossing the valley of death, in the following order he discovers that the research has commercial value, manifest the discovery as a product, communicate the potential through a compelling business case, aqcuire resources needed to establish potential than he uses resources to reduce risk. When the champion gets the resources he seeks approval of the project for formal development and translates the project into the criteria used for approval. After setting up the criteria the champion decides to approve or not approve project (the approval itself is not done by champion). When this is al accepted and aprover he and others will develop and launch the product.
Since there is often no reward and little encouragement for championing a project, a champion must be passionate about the project and willing to do the necessary extra work. In addition, a champion needs knowledge and skill about how to promote projects. While some people with raw enthusiasm get a project approved and implemented, those champions who possess developed skills, a strong track record, and years of experience shepherding projects succeed far more often.
Markham, S. K. (2002). Moving technologies from lab to market. Research-Technology Management, 45(6), 31-42.
Hello there dear readers,
This week was all about meeting the people at our internship company and the fellow students for the challenge. Unfortunately Syllion coulnd’t help us with the internship. Due circumstances my internship at Syllion was cancelled but than there was this great opportunity at MKB (SME) Amsterdam. MKB Amsterdam is an association for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial networks active in the Metropolitan region of Amsterdam.
I’ve already met my fellow students Lukas and Benjamin and we’re starting at October the 10th. I’m excited to work together as a team, Lukas and Benjamin are nice people so I expect they’re fun to work with. I’m really looking forward to work on this project and challenge. Our goal is to create a plan to make small and medium enterprise entrepreneurs aware of the fact that they’re too much day-to-day oriented and make them more future oriented. As we haven’t spoken in person to the MKB Amsterdam people this might change but for now I’m focussing on this challenge.
I was hoping to tell you guys more about this internship and what we achieved already, but there’s nothing to write about now. What I can show you guys is a little video about the power of the SME’s
See you next week!
More info: http://www.mkb-amsterdam.nl