The startup world is changing at a fast pace, and it will certainly change a lot before today’s students join it. Nowadays we are expected to do much more with less. The Internet makes the entry point to business much more accessible. Information, hardware and services on the Internet are considered common in the business world.
There is a strong hardware ecosystem in the UK and Startupbootcamp IoT wants to do more to shine a spotlight on it and help it grow. They also want to educate other entrepreneurs including students about scaling startups. They recently hosted a group of students at their November Hardware Hour event.
For one day, the IoT team took 50 enthusiastic aspiring entrepreneurs from the ISEP’s entrepreneurship club in France on a journey to discover the ecosystem in London and to connect with their new cohort of startup members.
We caught up with Andrew, a 22 years old student living in Paris, sharing his time between a master’s degree in Business Intelligence at ISEP, and his role as CMO for their entrepreneurship club, Hustle’ISEP. Andrew grew up as a big entrepreneurship enthusiast, and he absolutely loves helping creators achieve their goals. We wanted to learn about his experience as a student entrepreneur and what brought his team at Startupbootcamp.
1. What is the main purpose of this entrepreneurship club and how does the university support this initiative?
Our purpose is to build a vibrant and fertile ecosystem so that anyone can launch their projects receiving the support they need to succeed, yet be able to jump back on their feet and learn from their mistakes if they fail. Every day we meet talented and motivated students who do not even entertain the idea of launching their own company for lack of knowing what it is or what it entails, or because the ecosystem simply wasn’t there to support them. And as such, they crafted what became an organization to find & build the solution: Hustle.
To achieve this, we raise awareness and promote entrepreneurship as a valid option in life by hosting and organizing events, all the while following students who are starting their own adventures. We implemented new initiatives in order to help the club grow, such as the creation of three new formats: Visits – informal events where we exchange knowledge with other entrepreneurs, Workshops, and Hackathons as I strongly believe a digital entrepreneur should bask in a “hacker” spirit.
How did the university perceive our initiative? Well, there has been a lot of skepticism about our work at Hustle. We had to prove ourselves, and so we did. We believe our success is complementary to the university’s programs while the administration provides structural change and pedagogic assistance to advance entrepreneurship. Now we very much work together to support aspiring entrepreneurs.
We are not alone. We’re in cahoots with other student organizations like us, such as but not limited to, We_Start from Sciences Po and 42 Entrepreneurs from 42, which allows us to collaborate and grow together, helping each other when needed. This year’s been the most active in student entrepreneurship since we launched Hustle which makes us all push ourselves harder to always go farther.
2. Universities pre-accelerators, entrepreneurial classes and innovation labs is the new trend. Still, can entrepreneurship be taught and how important is it for you to join such an accelerator whilst you’re still studying?
You’re right! Universities pre-accelerators, entrepreneurial classes and innovation labs are the new trend! As a matter of fact, our school has just built an incubator that opened last year, as well as a custom-made syllabus for student founders. Beforehand, there were entrepreneurship classes, but nothing close to the level we’re seeing it go to right now. And this is popping up everywhere, with no signs of slowing down.
Can entrepreneurship be taught? I’m not convinced you can go further than teaching what not to do rather than what to do. The latter is that “seed” inside of you, which will grow by doing and receiving feedback from mentors, coaches and most importantly from your customers. And for that to happen you need to experience an entrepreneurial adventure, either by launching your company, by joining an early-stage one or by getting an in-depth look inside.
In my experience, most students still believe entrepreneurship is something you can only do after your studies, or even worse after you’ve achieved a high-level position. As such and still for much of them, they don’t see the interest in entrepreneurial classes and don’t have a project to be pre-accelerated or be built in an innovation lab.
Whilst a pre-accelerator or an innovation lab may not be right for everyone, you should keep looking up new projects, and study their feasibility on your own while looking at what others are doing. That’s why we wanted to visit Startupbootcamp and learn from industry leaders.
If there’s a single lesson you have to remember as a student, is that if you are even remotely interested in entrepreneurship or have an idea, this stage of our lives is the best one to explore it. It’s definitely not easy! As a student you will be experiencing challenges as such finding time between classes, keeping the motivation going, and accepting frequent & compounded failures on your path.
Yet if you’re willing to go on that journey, as Ben Hayes, CMO of Startupbootcamp IoT said when we met each other, it is an amazing opportunity to be around 1,000 potential customers at your school! One should seize that opportunity and explore his ideas as soon as he gets them, confronting them to this market!
3. We were thrilled to host you and your mates in London and to discuss the startup tech scene in the UK. What was your experience at the Hardware Event organized by our IoT program?
We were very honored to be here. The Hardware Hour resonated with us and we were impressed by the discussion panel who saw Tom from Beeline sharing his experience turning his product into reality. We really got into the core of the subject, learning some important tidbits and particularities on launching a hardware project, all the while speaking with other attendees who were also in various stages of launching a project. It is always very inspiring to get to know what others are doing, how they’re doing it and why they’re doing it.
We all learned a lot from this event, especially from the Q&A session. Ben’s presentation was really captivating and being able to interact directly with him as a small group was an amazing opportunity for all of us. That’s what we hoped this trip would be for us, an opportunity to learn from different people and experiences, and it exceeded our expectations!
Many thanks from Startupbootcamp to Andrew for sharing his thoughts. This has been a valuable experience for us all. Universities, startups and institutions are collectively increasing their focus on better preparing students for the workforce. We need more initiatives likes this one to prepare the new generation to lead teams and startup ventures.
Interested to join one of our upcoming events? See more here.