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EUROPEAN INNOVATION ACADEMY 2017 – ITALY

European Innovation Academy’s extreme entrepreneurship program in Turin is an introduction into the real world of business. It takes future entrepreneurs and throws them into the hot seat removing them from the comforts of home and making them prove their skills, talents and leadership abilities in a high-pressure environment.  The program’s goal is to take an idea and turn it into a tech startup within 15 days. This goal is accomplished with the help of numerous mentors, investors and hundreds of other students.

”I just got back home and it’s safe to say that these were the quickest three weeks of my life.”

The 1st week was about team formation, idea creation, and customer development. In other words, you were asked to choose a concept that interests you, and to build a team that is capable of identifying and delivering what your target market needs. The first week was a trial by fire. We learned that it is best to build your team early instead of waiting until the last moment to try secure talents, as the people are your biggest asset. My greatest lesson from week one was that entrepreneurs need to be flexible, and capable of maintaining a solution-focused mindset in the face of adversity.

Meet and greet event on the first day.

Team formation class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

During the 2nd week we concentrated on developing our business model, marketing, and creating the minimal viable product (MVP). This is when mentors with UX/UI, marketing, and business development backgrounds were a HUGE help with very practical tips and tricks.

Product showcase expo in Rome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 3rd week was all about pitching and finance. We met investors and pitching coaches who prepared us to go further with potential ideas after the program.

Me doing the final pitch

 

 

Top 3 highlights of the program:

  • Practical tips and tricks for marketing (websites, free services etc.)
  • Realizing how world class AVP’s entrepreneurship courses are (honestly). I did the AVP minor, and during the EIA program I was listening world’s best professionals from US universities like Stanford, while thinking how I already know most of this…and afterwards when working with the other students I realized that a lot of them weren’t that aware of those insights.
  • New friends and business connections from literally all across the world.

+ 2 highlights of the free time:

  • Location of Turin allowed traveling to awesome places during weekends. We went to Milan, Rome, Nice and Monaco.
  • The weather – a real summer, not like in Finland :D

Top 3 learnings about being an entrepreneur:

  • You are not creating a business you want, you are creating a business your customers want.
  • Time flies – you never have enough of it, but you just get used to the feeling of constant urgency.
  • It is an emotional roller coaster – you get annoyed, stressed and tired, but also excited about the littlest things.

Iida Lasaroff
Management and International Business student
Aalto University School of Business