I have been silent for a while. But I have a good reason. From July till August 2016 I’ve been working non-stop with Reload Greece** to bring to life the Reload Greece Bootcamp in Athens (which occurred between 5-9 September 2016).
The programme aimed to support early stage business idea holders in progressing an unshaped IDEA into an implementable BUSINESS PLAN (step-by-step)! In just FIVE DAYS we taught the essentials of entrepreneurship, through educational storytelling and international mentoring (by bringing 20 international business experts to Athens).
The RESULT? Attendees learned to: describe their idea in a 60 second video, validate their assumptions, debated important marketing principles, tamed their financials and pitched their business plan in front of judges in a competition to win €2000 pre-seed funding or a 50% scholarship in a Master’s Degree at the ALBA Graduate Business School.
So why am I telling you all this?
As a Business Coach I took the challenge to answer the question: How can you teach business in 5 days? I used this as an opportunity to have an immovable deadline to deliver against what I thought to be a “Mission Impossible”.
The grand plan was to create a “simulation” of an entrepreneurial reality, i.e. working with limited resources, time, information and under imperfect conditions, influencing people that you do not know, “selling” your venture in front of people all the time, changing direction millions of times, getting stressed, confused and frustrated. Our one and only mission was to create an IMPACT. And when learning is shared and experienced through action, it can change people’s lives. So we set up the “conditions” for others to TRANSFORM. And as it happens always… I ended up learning my own lessons! My best and worst self, came out. And I know why.
This project took me outside of my comfort zone. But this is the only place, where the MAGIC happens. And it did. I had challenges, difficulties and failures. None of these were private. They were all public, obvious, and there to be criticised.
I was scared to deliver this for the first time in Athens. I was putting Reload Greece, my business and my personal reputation on the line. I was terrified of a potential public failure in my homeland, where I ultimately want to return. And every single one of these fears knocked on my door! And do you know what saved me? The realisation that I was amongst peers and I was there to learn. Looking back, ultimately what we taught (and embodied) was HUMILITY.
Thanks to everyone who got involved (attendees, volunteers, mentors, speakers and partners) for teaching me how thrive despite my fears and failures. I now know that: People do not judge you for your mistakes. They judge you by how you handle them. 38 people attended and almost all gave us shining reviews.
As I was recounting the experience, I wanted to capture these thoughts, so that when things get tough, this Bootcamp will remind me WHY I do what I do. Eudaimonia was born to be a vehicle to create and sustain a Courageous Legacy for Greece. And for me, in case you ever wondered, the Reload Greece partnership is an indivisible part of the mission I am committed to deliver. I believe starting your own business is a mentally demanding game. It trains you to be courageous, resilient and it requires you to grow. That’s why I am in business and that’s why I consistently dedicate time to coach Reload Greece’s start-ups on their journey.
Pearls of Wisdom
Hang on, the reason why I started writing this was to share with you what I took away from the 5-day Reload Greece Bootcamp:
Share your ideas with experts / professionals you trust. – Joanna Stravoudaki , Deree (The American College of Greece)
Validate your assumptions. Assumptions are enemy Number 1. Don’t assume you don’t have assumptions. Release early, release often. – Vasilis Dimos, Skroutz
You have to be brutally honest to admit your failures. Then “pivot” (change your business model after you have listened to your customers and you have found a Product/Market fit). – Yorgos Nikoletakis, 100 Mentors,
It is not the Product that matters but the Business Model – Christos Makiyama, Silicon Planet
Marketing in business is like hops in beer. Adds bitterness, aroma and protects from oxidisation. – Alexandros Kouris, Nissos Beer
Our buying decisions are instant. No matter how early-stage is your idea, you can fit it in a 60 second intro video. – Marina Stamos, Stamos PR
Hire for attitude, train for skills. – Andreas Constantinou, Vision Mobile
You cannot teach someone to smile! – Brian Karey, Simply Burgers
Obviously I have paraphrased and forgotten many other golden nuggets, of what were some amazing presentations and workshops!
I hope you found your favourite one and feel free to comment with your questions below!
Notes on Reload Greece Bootcamp 2016
** Reload Greece (www.reloadgreece.com)** is an educational charity based in the UK that educates young (diaspora) entrepreneurs to set up and run ventures that have a socio-economic impact in Greece.
Reload Greece brought this programme back to my home country via powerful partnerships such as ALBA Graduate Business School, Deree (American College of Greece) and of course Eudaimonia Coaching UK.
My role (as Eudaimonia Coaching, partner of Reload Greece) was to curate the educational content, source and prepare speakers to create one off educational content, co-ordinate the mentors and run the event for the whole 5 days.
Here is the webpage: https://teamupstartup16.splashthat.com
The winners of the RG Bootcamp 2016 were the Protecht-ID team: https://www.facebook.com/protechtid/