This article was first published here aims to convince you that it is worth considering entrepreneurship seriously as a career choice, even if you never start a business, to give tips about how to get the most out of the week if you are already convinced, and to give you signposts towards other things you can do, if you want to be involved in enterprise more than just one week a year.
Entrepreneurship is a way of life. I won’t repeat the arguments I made on Mamstartup.pl about why enterprise is essential for Poland’s social and economic development. All the large foreign companies that ambitious Polish graduates (and their parents) dream of working for were founded by someone. Dr Procter and Mr. Gamble (P&G), the Lever brothers (Unilever), Mr Price, Waterhouse and Cooper (PWC), or Sichio Honda who left home and made for Toyko at the age of 16. Every corporation started life at some stage when someone decided to make it happen. Even if you never decide to start a business, we were privileged at TEDxKrakow Live to see Reid Hoffman, live from Palm Beach TED conference, talking about “The Start Up of You”. His says you should run your life as if you were a start up. Reid Hoffman (who invested in Paypal, Facebook, Zynga, and founded Linkedin) never intended to go into business wanted to be an academic. The skills and characteristics of an entrepreneur: spotting opportunities, solving problems, organising and leading groups of people to work towards a goal willingly, negotiating with clients, suppliers and other stake holders, self motivation and perserverence, listening, self-confidence, self control, willingness to take rational risks, are ones that will serve you in good stead whatever you do in life. Negotiating in particular is something that a lot of entrepreneurs take for granted; assuming that they already have the gift of the gab, but you need professional training from somewhere like Scotwork if you want to do it properly. The same can be said for a lot of these skills. The secrets of success as a person are pretty minutes by Richard St John (with Polish sub-titles).
Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, you should understand entrepreneurs. Not only will it be good for your own career, but you will understand the type of people you are likely to be working for, and that will make you more productive. Even if you end up working in tax payer funded NGOs, lunatic EU funded programs, or in professional services like law and accounting, your money and your organisation’s income, will ultimately be coming from business who through tax or being clients keep you alive, it’s good to know about the people who finance you.
So how to get the most out of BOSS?
It is much like everything else. 5 mins preparation has a huge payback. Look through the speaker schedule. Think about things you don’t know you ought to know more about, the skills you think you could never possess, and the things that you want to get better at. Google the topics/people who are giving the talk. Think of the questions that you would ask them if you took them out for a drink, how they are relevant to the things you are doing in your life. Go to their talk, ask questions, and approach them afterwards. If they say anything useful, you should ask them out for a drink.
How to be enterprising for the 51 weeks in the year when BOSS is not going on?
Obviously if you’ve got a business on the side, work on that, but assuming you don’t there are now (at last) plenty of places in Krakow where business people and entrepreneurs hang out. As well as BOSS, SFBCC has other great projects: Przedsi?biorcza Kobieta, Konkurs Najlepsze Zaj?cia z Przedsi?biorczo?ci, Przedsi?biorczy Kraków, Spotkania z biznesem.
Ramon Tancinco, the boss of Cisco Central Europe, gave this at TEDxKrakow. TEDxKrakow Cinema gives a chance to get involved with TEDxKrakow projects, apart from our once a year mega-events and experience the magic of TED in Krakow. Hive53 lets you experience Silicon Valley style web 2.0 start up buzz for free, Interactive Days from Pride and Glory set you up with the Interactive on-line media crowd, Global Entrepreneurship Week is active in South Poland, Innovation Nest from the guys behind Onet provides more than an incubator, training, capital. Krakspot is another place to meet technology entrepreneurs. The Krakow Network runs this English language gateway to Krakow for free. AIP runs several incubators, as does the Krakow Technology Park It’s not just about the existing insitutions. If you are a student in any part of the University or Polytechnic you can join or talk to your Student Body/Careers office about organising an enterprise day/event or competition, you will find that some alumni will come back. It’s all do-able and will help you use your time as a student to both learn and have fun at the same time.
? Autorem artyku?u jest Richard Lucas, który 30 marca poprowadzi warsztat pt. „Starting a business? How to improve your chances of success?” w ramach IX Festiwalu Przedsi?biorczo?ci BOSS
We decided to write about the values of our enterprise support activities.
Seeing so many misconceived, badly executed, government funded enterprise support projects, where the motivations of those involved were more to make money from supporting enterprise than genuinely believing in the cause, we felt it was important to say what this was about.
Voluntary: We do it because we believe in it. People who want to make money can do so but not by monetizing the network and making it unavailable unless you pay…
Open networks – We believe our network must be comprised of people and organisations who believe in open networks.
Status…. We believe that our community should be made up of people who believe that any social status is earned by their current activity, and contribution, not past achievement, fame, or “rock star” status
Money: Events we organise must be open to talented and motivated people with no money or contacts. In other words a “ladder up” for those who want it
Transparency: Financial and other deals with sponsors, partners etc should be clear and obviously stated. Everything in the light of day.
Good standing: As a community, we will do our best to keep out corrupt or dodgy people.
Private sector Led: We don’t to rely on the government or to be a channel for giving away tax payers’ money. We can partner with, link to the government, invite them to our events, use their buildings and facilities, but we do not want them to control our initiatives.
Freemium: It is fine for sponsors to pay for extra value added, such as covering the cost of events, but the majority of events should be free/low cost to visitors.
Linking: We are committed to linking to everyone who is relevant to the eco system.
Events: We will share info about events which we think are relevant for our community, while trying to avoid collisions and clashes.
Databases/Media: We will try to get a consistent pro-enterprise message out to all media. Our mutual challenge and goal should be to speak with a unified voice for Krakow’s enterprise community.
Mentoring/Support: We need to find every opportunity to encourage mentorship at all levels (experience and non-experienced, young and old, multinational and start-up). Mentoring is a way that people who have been successful can give something to the next generation of business people.
Children and Youth Engagement: It is never too young to learn about entrepreneurship, we need to pull together as a community to engage our youth in this area.