Being an entrepreneur is a personal challenge and great opportunity. Entrepreneurs let visionary ideas become real, drive the economy and development of their countries, create jobs and endlessly thrive for the wellbeing of their families and communities. The EU-funded project ”Future Young Entrepreneurs” helps school-to-work-transition by providing business mentoring and first hand practical work experience for young people from India, Indonesia, Malawi, Netherlands, Romania, Vietnam and Germany. The project is planned and managed by Goethe-Institut e. V. read more...
Vahid Imani, founder and CEO of FITrate GmbH and mentor of the German FYE project partners, reports on current trends in the start-up scene, his experiences as a mentor and the emotional state of the participants from Olching a couple of days ahead of the finale in Berlin.
You are the founder of FITrate GmbH, a successful Munich-based start-up. What kind of an experience is it for you to change your perspective and role and to support the Future Young Entrepreneurs as a mentor?
From the very beginning, I was enthusiastic about the idea of mentoring. The cooperation with the students was even more fun than I had expected. I was impressed by their motivation and by the maturity of their business plan. For me, it was very important to share my personal experience with them – no matter whether positive or negative - besides technical and professional components. I tried to prevent the students from hesitating too much. There is no start-up in the world that is not facing obstacles and you must understand that you learn the most from you failures.
What do you think of the ideas of your Future Young Entrepreneurs from Olching? What surprised you? What needs to be done next?
I really like both ideas! I was positively surprised by their entirely sustainable approach. Both teams planned every single step astonishingly professional, from the idea to the launch of the product. Even potential challenges and obstacles were already considered. Needless to say, due to the lack of experience the young entrepreuners need to go the extra mile when it comes to things like market analysis and financials. That’s the next step.
Both business ideas deal with apps and the digital economy. Will all of tomorrow’s start-ups develop apps?
That was one of the most important questions during our first meeting. At FITrate we have just now started to develop an app – more than one year after founding the company. There are definitely business ideas that require an app development right at the beginning. Nevertheless, I think it is essential to have a sound and solid business idea before you blindly spend money and, even more so, time on app development. No app in the world can turn a start-up without a sound business model into a success. Thus, it is often recommendable to start off with a beta-version of a normal website and to focus on the core product. For FITrate, it was the right decision to postpone the app development.
By courtesy of Mr. Bücken from UnternehmerTUM Munich, one of the judges at the national pitching competition in Olching, you will be able to visit the university’s MakerSpace with the two teams. The MakerSpace is a 1500-square-metre high-tech workshop open to the public, providing access to machines, tools and software as well as a creative community. What do the teams and what do you expect from the visit?
The students are looking forward to the visit as much as I do. They want to get in touch with other entrepreneurs and want to experience the nearly unlimited opportunities that you have as an entrepreneur and that are displayed and bundled at MakerSpace. Also for me, it is the first visit at MakerSpace. I am looking forward to gaining insight and meeting interesting people.
The workshop week in Berlin is about to start. Without giving away to many secrets: How excited are the students from Olching and what are you doing to prepare your teams in the best possible way?
People from Olching are calm and serene as a matter of course, never showing any sign of nervousness. Just kidding! I think both teams are excited as well as full of a feeling of pleasant anticipation. I just told them to prepare in the best way, to enjoy the week and to try to grasp as many impressions as possible.
The Interview was conducted by Benedikt Edeler, FYE-Team
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication (communication) reflects only the view of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.