Photographer:Fotograaf: ME Week'16
Maastricht Entrepreneurship Week 2016
MAASTRICHT. “Don’t listen to people like us, it’s your own path,” said Alejandro Barrera, owner of technology news site tech.eu, at the Centre Céramique last Monday. Nevertheless, many people had come to listen to entrepreneurs giving talks and workshops at the Maastricht Entrepreneurship Week 2016, from 9 until 12 May.
During the network event, students with entrepreneurial ambitions get a chance to talk to business owners, but also receive information from the Chamber of Commerce, were able to enter an idea competition and pitch their start-up. Monday evening successful entrepreneurs share their top tips in a Ted Talk kind of setup. The main thing, according to consultant Ketan Makwana, is to overcome the PPF factor: pain, panic and fear. “Pain is temporary, but if you hold onto it, it will block you. Panic makes you lose control about the very thing you’re trying to control. Fear will fill your head up, unless you take it on; you have to face it to overcome it.”
Someone from the audience has a critical remark on this last statement. “I’m from Syria. I’m one of nine who survived from a group of 440 that fled. This is because we were very afraid. We didn’t take certain risks and didn’t trust just anyone.” You need good guidance, agrees Makwana. “An expert, a kind of mentor. Someone you can engage with, share your troubles and secrets with, and who can hold you accountable for your actions without you thinking: ‘shut up’.” Sounds great, says another audience member, but how do I meet this mentor? “Stop looking,” says Makwana. “Then you’ll find them.”
Cecilie Lind, owner of the Protein Kitchen, a heathy lifestyle brand, has so many tips that they barely fit on her PowerPoint slide. “Can you still read it,” she asks the crowd grinning. Starting your own business is an emotional rollercoaster, Lind warns. “Remember your mission, stay true to your values, and be patient. Some people will laugh at you; you’ll have to believe in yourself. Be prepared to not go on holiday for several years. I once read this quote: Entrepreneurs are people who work 100 hours a week to avoid working 8 a day. That’s very true. But in turn, you’ll do something you’re passionate about every day.”
Although, what if you aren’t? That’s what happened to Alejandro Barrera of tech.eu at his first company. “I was dreading coming to work on Monday. That’s the point where people leave their day-job and start for themselves. Only, I already did that: this was my own company.” He decided to sell and start over. “This is why you never get rich being an entrepreneur. People will say: but you just sold this or that, where’s that money gone? Already invested in something new.”