Startups are all about the team, this was the simple advice put forward to attendees of AUB’s Entrepreneurship Week, June 27 to July 1.
Ahmed Fares, cofounder and CFO of Acsys Technologies, was one speaker to give advice to youngsters looking to expand on business ideas and concepts.
“You get married to your team,” he said. “Your team should have the same harmony you would want to have with your husband or wife, and truth of the matter is that you will probably have to spend more time with them than you do your own family.”
Fares, who was giving a talk on tactical business planning, directed his knowledge into affirming that no matter how the organizational structures within big companies turn out to work, the team has to always start “linear” where all its members communicate together and stand on the same level.
For the first time AUB’s Center for Research and Innovation (CRInn), partnered with AIESEC, a global “youth-led network”, to host an interactive week of multiple guest speakers’ expertise and networking possibilities for young and hungry entrepreneurs. Different sessions were held, providing general learning on entrepreneurship, stress-management and business planning.
Attendees were keen to learn. Largely university students, and the odd parent looking to learn more about what direction their youngster might be heading in, there were differing interests across the board.
At the interactive sessions students came with basic business designs, all keen to learn about entrepreneurship, startups, business planning, work-life balance, and team management.
They came with ideas from homemade dessert catering projects, to an innovative blood donating strategy.
With an average of 60 to 70 attendees per session, and some reaching 100, organizers were surprised by the turnout.
“The week went great,” said CRInn’s Diala Daoud. “We were not expecting this number of attendees.”
Fares' advice to the attendees was to listen to the needs of the mass market, and provide a solution. He stressed that in order to assess the market into accepting the ultimate business product, future entrepreneurs need to adopt a gradual process where the main object is listening to the public’s demands and applying a ‘step-by-step’ progression before reaching the final product.
Meanwhile Abdallah Harfouche, founder of AH Financial Consultancy, took part in refuting the general concern that Lebanon is a risky country to invest in when speaking about financial intelligence.
“We have one of the best investing cultures in the world, shareholders actually want to invest their money on startups,” said Harfouche, and continued by stating that it is important to “make use of this situation, and don’t be scared of the field.”
Entrepreneurship Week: beyond tips and guidelines
Participants Wamda spoke to said they were mainly looking forward to meeting with the scene’s most prominent personas.
Yervant Shallagian, is a young and excited entrepreneur, who is soon to launch a health and fitness startup, with his cofounder Roy Zarife. He attended in the hopes of meeting the right people that would push his excitement in the right direction and offer important tips.
Talking about the stage he was at with his business idea he told Wamda that for him what mattered most was support and motivation. “During this week, I got great insight from Andre Abi Awad and Randa Farah.” The former, he said, was able to provide important material needed for his startup, while Farah gave good advice about stress management.
According to Daoud the daily networking get-togethers between sessions were also of great interest to participants. For Shellagian they were an opportunity to meet potential business supporters and “an excellent way to witness the field on the ground and learn how to approach and sell your idea to shareholders that might boost your business.”