Kathryn Huynh (BCom ’17) – European Innovation Academy 2014
I think the most valuable thing that I’ve learned after my time at EIA was personal development as a business student and also as a person as a whole. My growth as a business student came down to the knowledge I’ve acquired from the lessons taught at the program, facing challenges and acquiring new skills when put into physical work for the competition, and lastly, just connecting and learning from the most awesome participants from around the world; from the brightest UC Berkeley students to master graduates to already existing entrepreneurs just attending to gain funding for their businesses.
The program itself really dived into the specific how to’s and step-by-steps in starting a new business venture. To elaborate, I now have a firm grasp on (bear with me the list is long): customer validation, pivoting your business model, working out a scalable business model, market acquisition, patents and legal aspects, customer engagement with gamification, designing a prototype, piloting a prototype, how to create the perfect pitch, negotiating with investors and securing investments. And as a do-as-you-learn program, I came out with a better understanding of each process when actually putting it to the test and applying it to our own start-up. The competition was intensely condensed being in the span of only three weeks. Given the strict set deadlines, nine to eleven hour days of work was the norm. This was when teamwork challenges and business challenges arose but amazing learning experiences came out of it. Just to name a few, I got to exercise and develop my skills in time management, project management, market research, teamwork, communication, and presentation from this experience.
But the biggest highlight from attending EIA was without a doubt coming back with an exhilarating passion for entrepreneurship. This was something I didn’t know prior to EIA. I always had n-times pivoted business ideas running around in my head, but when I actually getting to make ideas happen, a love for it emerged when doing it felt extremely rewarding. That being said, the excruciatingly tough bumps were definitely there, but there is something about treating your idea like your baby that when challenges step in the way, it’s like flooring the accelerator with no brake.
After attending EIA, I decided to get more involved with the entrepreneur scene and have joined eProjects as this year’s Social Media Director. With the hopes of implementing an accelerator program through eProjects by the next academic year, I plan to provide a similar learning experience as EIA, and target younger students learn and get involved with entrepreneurship through hands-on work versus limited exposure.