First ΜΟΟC Meetup in Athens – 3 mind shifts closer to launching a successful business

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What a turnout and lively discussions in the first MOOC meetup in Athens! The Massive Open Online Course “Beyond Silicon Valley: Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies” commenced last week, having found an astounding response across Greece. The launch was marked by an energetic meetup on April 30th hosted by the head organizer, ALBA Graduate Business School at the American College in Greece, and welcomed two remarkable guest entrepreneurs, Rebecca Pitsika (People for Business) and Alexandros Trimis (dopios).

The meetup brought forward a thorough discussion on the role of the state in relation to entrepreneurship. Following the screening of two Greece-oriented videos especially prepared to accompany the MOOC material, the participating aspiring venturers engaged in a Q&A session with the guest entrepreneurs, unveiling a wealth of information and insights.

The discussion sparked profound afterthoughts within our team at Metavallon. It all culminates in three perception shifts that are essential to take place in every aspiring entrepreneur’s mind:

1 – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The discussion with Rebecca and Alex -their answers and approach- was characteristic and exemplary of a core element we wish to convey: the entrepreneurial mindset. How was it so? The answer is focus, where they have until now and continue to focus on.

Three examples from the discussion:

a. Plan vs Planning. Following a question from the audience on business plans, both founders turned their focus on how to use a plan, how it is a dynamic process rather than a static document; they turned the focus towards planning. Indeed it is the breadth of information and insights you gain during your research in the planning process and how you compare your initial hypothesis with what really happens, that has the most value. As Eisenhower put it so many years ago, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

b. Problems vs Solutions. It may rather be an impulse to be drawn to the problems around us during a crisis; how the bureaucracy is time-consuming and how financing appears difficult. Yet, as the founders explained, their focus and concern was never on such issues but rather on what they could do: on the work they could carry out, the service they could offer, the value they could add – and so they did, add great value!

c. Funding vs Results. Simply put, funding is means, not a goal. As with all renowned entrepreneurs, these two founders as well had one thing in mind: to create something of value. Funding came along on the way, not at the beginning, and was their enabler, not their objective. What they focused on was bringing results – and so it happens that results are a funding magnet.

2 – The Entrepreneurial Playground

With the central thematic of this MOOC being economies in transition, our economic environment in Greece was naturally among the issues raised during the Q&A with the guest founders. How do you operate in this environment or rather how do you dare venture in the first place? The answer hides between the above-mentioned “problems vs solutions” approach and a unsuspected truth…

Contrary to popular belief among crisis-hit populations -yet strongly embraced among venturers at heart- is that crisis indeed breeds opportunity. Some of the most successful businesses worldwide were born and raised in what were perceived as unfavorable conditions; and these are no triumph myths or lucky bets. They are in fact the outcomes of an unsuspected truth: that a crisis is the evidence of something absolutely not working, of many things absolutely not working – and there lie momentous opportunities to create solutions that do!

3 – The Entrepreneurial Bedrock

Now here is where it all comes together – here is where this MOOC initiative truly adds its core value and shines: in that it is a program. It is systematic and holistic and develops across time; not opportunistic, not one-shot, not an event.

It is this systematic quality that sets foundations for people to absorb learnings, recognize opportunities, evaluate the potential, and take informed action towards solutions.

What lies ahead? We are indeed very excited for the wide success of this first meetup for the MOOC, this unique online course organized by ALBA Graduate Business School at The American College of Greece, the U.S. Embassy in Athens and Μetavallon. It was attended by numerous spirited venturers seeking inspiration and knowledge on entrepreneurship and we are looking forward to the next meetups in cities around Greece. Meanwhile you can follow the MOOC facebook page and twitter handle  to keep your feeds updated – and sign up to follow the course if you have missed out until now!


*PHOTO CREDITS: Alexandros Koromilas / TAC MEDIA

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