There are a lot of formats for entrepreneurship events with students. This time at entrepreneurship class we tried a two days event with 200 undergraduate students, 40 teams, 40 new business ideas and a lot of coffee. We had organized this kind of events by almost three years (2 per year) and these are my thoughts:
Better people, better teams, better projects.
I can see a performance improvement of the people, every semester I see people with more preparation, with more experience, some of them had participated in a startup weekend, pitch contest, innovation challenge, or business competition. They are not new on business/entrepreneurship topics. Even engineering students come with a higher sense of business of their projects than years before. Since the University (Tec de Monterrey) is focus on develop entrepreneurship skills in all students (#23 entrepreneurship university), no matter their major or minor, we see results after at lest two years of intense activity.
Better people bring better teams, the mix between tech-business is more common between students. They are taking advantage of the relations with people from different disciplines and industries.
Better ideas, better projects, more innovation, more potential and more scalability. Not all of them, but at least 60% are really good ideas. Students are thinking on global markets, innovative business models, tech based products and services and business with a competitive advantage.
Still being academic approach.
Even the quality improvement of people-teams-ideas the approach still been academic. The students don´t realize that they can design the next big company. They feel afraid to interact with real customers or deliver the value. It is like if they feel comfortable like students, and don´t want to cross the line and become entrepreneurs.
We don´t create business, we create entrepreneurs.
The possibilities are really high, and we have some examples of people who are creating or running business created on this kind of events, but… the reality is that this kind of events are to awake people. Most of the teams or ideas don’t continue for several reasons. But people, people continues, they start to look for knowledge, new ideas, new founders and a few years later you can see them like entrepreneurs ( not students any more )
Energy, adrenaline & motivation are the core, not methodologies.
You can find a lot of methodologies, workshops and programs to run an entrepreneurship event. All of them are good and can give you excellent results. At the end what makes a big difference between good and bad events is not the methodology, is HOW you run the event. The people, the place, the music, food, mentors, facilitator, staff, schedule and all the details focused to the participant experience. Push them all the time, improve the level of energy, the adrenaline. At the end they must to realize what they are capable to do in a few hours.
The next step must be clear.
Millennials like big pictures, they don´t feel comfortable if they don’t know where are they going. So, it is important to show them what is the big picture of the event, and what is the next step after the event. If they know where are they going their performance is better, faster and found new ways to execute. Otherwise they feel confused, without motivation, and lose energy and focus.
These events are needed.
To create success new business, we need really good people, to have really good people they need to know that they are good. These kind of events do that. I know a lot of people on entrepreneurship scene who start on this or an event like this (like me).
The last year, a team formed at the same event was very good, they won the event, they continue and participated at Business Model Competition, they joined the business incubator, and now they are running a business with a lot of potential on biotech field. The last quarter they won the State entrepreneurship award! All that in just one year..
… and all started on a university entrepreneurship event.