My Summer with Startups

Lisa and I at an event

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own company? Well, you’re not alone if you have. Most people I’ve come to know in the past few years want to start their own business and I am no exception. Ever since I had abandoned my dream of not going to school and playing for Manchester United, I’ve spotted many new business opportunities and came up with a few ideas for startups but only managed to attempt a couple of them. The most significant output of these experiences was the need to understand the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem and the personal characteristics needed to be successful.

The above explains why I was so excited when I got a chance to work for a startup called Founder2be which provides a matchmaking services for would-be entrepreneurs. In fact my three month summer internship has provided me with that exposure in a different way.

Founder2be was founded by two co-founders just four months before my classmate Lisa and I joined to assist with the marketing and other activities in the company. We were located in Aalto Venture Garage which is part of Aalto Center of Entrepreneurship.

At the time the venture garage was full of startup teams composed of talented and visionary entrepreneurs who were taking part in summer programmes organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. The garage is basically an open working hub for all startup teams and anyone interested in entrepreneurship. It has many features designed to encourage networking and idea sharing. More than the free internet and not less than all the nice seminars, the kitchen was a very important part of the startup experience in the garage. It was easy for people to walk across the room, introduce themselves, ask your name, ask what you do, tell their own story, and give their personal view and feedback about the business you are in or your startup idea.  All this happens before you even finished your coffee or snack. I can only wonder how many ideas were born and how many partnerships were created there.

One of our tasks as summer interns was to create partnerships with companies which are somehow engage or connected with entrepreneurship. Most of the activities were carried out online. However we met different tutors, business coaches, and investors who gave us an insight into understanding what kind of service they want and we tried to use that knowledge as an input to our online service.

The odds of success in most startups are very high. A typical entrepreneur works hard day in and day out with limited resources to beat the odds of an idea which others ridicule. However, it is one thing to work on your own startup and another thing to work for a startup. I recommend the former. The experience and financial reward could be beyond measure.

Some startups may not be ideal places for internship as lack of resources and personnel could leave the intern with too much to do and too little to learn skills that will be useful elsewhere. If you are planning to work for one, there are some actions you can take to ensure a good experience. Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing more shortly.

Solomon of IBL08