Digistart at ICT 2015

Digistart collaborated in a Networking session at ICT 2015 organized by Project MY-WAY - another Startup Europe initiative - on Wednesday afternoon. The session proved to be very appealing and fruitful, as our room was quickly packed with individuals from startups, universities and large companies, many of whom were willing to share their individual challenges and their personal experiences in confronting them.

The moderator, David Trayford, shortly presented MY-WAY’s objectives, scope and preliminary results, and engaged participants with an arduous question: what is being done currently to support young people willing to launch a new business? What could be improved and what has proven to be successful so far?

Nick Slater, from Capital Enterprise, shared his personal experience as a startupper himself, and underlined the importance of making students excited and self-confident. Aneesh Zutshi, project coordinator of Digistart, explained how positive examples from successful entrepreneurs can inspire and motivate students.

Ayelet Sapir, representing the Bar Ilan University, added a striking view over the unnecessary fear of failure: oftentimes successful entrepreneurs have experienced failure at some point in their lives, but this has not discouraged them and has in fact helped their further growth.

On the students support centres side, Holly Knower, from NACUE, highlighted the importance of tailoring the message to segments of students and to develop mechanisms of skills building, so that the students will be job-ready as soon as they leave education. In explaining this point, Holly provided examples from NACUE, which strives to provide channels for students to find the most appropriate resources and opportunities.

Representing the ePlus ecosystem project, José Barros highlighted existing challenges for startups in accessing talents.

Last but not least, Krisztina Toth, coordinator of MY-WAY, commented on a participant’s question by stating that mentorship, as integral part of university programmes, should improve via a bigger role of student support centres. Reshaping the educational offer is a long and complicated process, but student networks can play a supporting role in this.

The cheerful atmosphere created by David helped the audience react by sharing their personal experiences in channelling young prospective entrepreneurs to their companies and institutions. The networking session was successful in facilitating the establishment of new business connections for future collaboration, and overall the whole event was extremely well organised and fruitful.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 644847