Digital transition yields many benefits for entrepreneurs, opening new business opportunities and new solutions for current problems as well. Connecting data to boost efficiency is one of those opportunities.
At [Y] Factor, an inspiring event organised by the European Committee of the Regions, young entrepreneurs, local authorities and successful start-uppers engaged in an interactive discussion, on two key issues: “New Paths of Cooperation” and “How Big Data Drives Innovation”. In a co-creative format, the speakers and the audience explored the added value that start-ups bring to local and regional communities, what barriers young entrepreneurs face and how they can be avoided.
Markku Markkula, the President of the European Committee of Regions, opened the conference stating that Europe’s path to growth is paved with tablets and smart phones! A new generation of entrepreneurs and creative individuals is emerging in our cities and play a transformative role. In order to make cities more self sufficient, resilient and intelligent to face future challenges we must open the opportunity for smart citizens to connect through technology and build a new urban environment. Cities with a mindset of open innovation and entrepreneurial experimentation provide great opportunities for smart citizens who ask for change and take action.
Smart creatives, entrepreneurs, developers team up, designing and creating new products and services, while enriching and revitalising existing economic activity in the city. The rather informal innovative communities in cities foster open collaboration and build vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. Grass root, as well as more established and institutionalised initiatives, have emerged with an enormous inspiring creative power. The setting has never been better for young companies to emerge!
The young entrepreneurs debated intensively regarding which elements can ensure the success of an entrepreneur and concluded that the key elements one needs to succeed are: focus, energy, resilience, patience and being in the right place at the right moment. Daugilas Kakaras, Head of Sales at mCity, Lorenzo Pregliasco, Director and Co-Founder of YouTrend and Quorum, and Neale Richmond, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Concil, shared the same point of view: that an entrepreneur doesn’t see problems, but opportunities to bring solutions and innovate, and these opportunities are all around us ready to be explored. Although the path of entrepreneurship is not the easiest one, the satisfaction of building something new and being part of creating the future gives you the resilience to surpass all the obstacles you might find on your way. Once you have taken that path, it is hard to turn your back and walk away. Be prepare to fail, it is part of the game.
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While the conversation developed, the teams explored different aspects that can define the vibrancy of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and discussed whether the reallocation of start-ups looking for entrepreneurial density in order to grow will cause a brain drain effect. During the lively debate regarding the role of schools and universities in providing the handles for successful entrepreneurship the participants agreed that changes must be done in order for the education system to support the practical learning of all future entrepreneurs. New business schools remain the best accelerators as they provide with tremendous educational value with an environment of mentorship which can easily bridge aspiring entrepreneurs to opportunities.
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Although the actors in the startup scene surely seem to be open, accessible and inviting, the audience was not aware of the myriad of opportunities to meet entrepreneurs, to taste the flavour of entrepreneurship and assimilate the educational value they offer. With 1200 startup events in the past 33 months, Brussels is for sure a dynamic startup city with a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
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