“The only way out is setting up enduring businesses” Alexis Komselis on Kauffman FastTrac entrepreneurship courses
Alexis Komselis, Director, ALBA Hub for Enterprise and Development, reflects on Kauffman FastTrac ®, the globally successful program aimed at the development of new and established ventures, offered by Metavallon and ALBA Graduate Business School at the American College of Greece with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece.
Alexis is a Facilitator of the program, together with Alexandra Choli, Executive Director here at Metavallon. He is also member of Metavallon’s acclaimed network of mentors and experts.
M: Alexis, can you share the benefits and uniqueness of Kauffman FastTrac as an entrepreneurship program?
A.K: Entrepreneurship education has come a long way since the discussion started on how to optimize the training experience for people interested in setting up their own business. From static Bachelor Degrees to playful MBAs, the educational community has tried to invent the wheel of helping people shape an entrepreneurial mindset. Though most educational offerings for entrepreneurship have a value, university-based courses tend to take longer than an entrepreneur can afford. At the same type, most seminar based training attempts incorporate some kind of model that prescribes how participants need to think or act. The Kauffmann FastTrac courses are unique in terms of customization and adaptability. They are more of an experience than a course. More of a self-led growth process, than a prescriptive training session. Participants benefit from peer to peer learning (both within the classroom and through the global network of the FastTrac on line community), expert participation, and coaching. It is essential to mention that people delivering these courses are not termed teachers, but Facilitators.
M: Please describe briefly the main parts of the course and underline the ones you think are the most exciting.
A.K: This coming Fall we will be offering two from the selection of FastTrac courses. The NewVenture course that has been designed for entrepreneurs ranging from the idea conception stage to up to two years of operations. It deals with all the necessary elements of fine-tuning, or even changing, an idea to setting it up and planning the next steps. The GrowthVenture course aims at helping entrepreneurs with more than two years of operations to rethink their business and prepare it for sustainable growth. With an eye on strategic planning, it also focuses on re-energizing their innovative entrepreneurial spirit. Both courses follow the route from idea proofing to financing the venture. The outcome is a solid business plan crafted by the entrepreneur herself. I firmly believe that the most exciting part of the course is looking at ones idea from different perspectives and opening new windows of opportunity.
M: What is, in your opinion, the value that venturing can bring to Greece and what are the actions that aspiring and existing entrepreneurs can take to that direction?
A.K: The only way out is setting up enduring businesses with innovative teams. Innovation may be a wider concept than just the technological one. Even crossing the border and leaving ones comfort zone might lead to the invaluable personal stage. Venturing that will create social and taxable wealth will definitely help turn the page in Greece. However, it is important to focus on the unit as well and help entrepreneurs arm themselves for the battle. Starting or managing a business is not a sprint. It is a marathon and aspiring or existing entrepreneurs need to re-define themselves, identify risks and protect themselves. Only well prepared entrepreneurs will have an enduring growth effect for themselves and the country.