How to become a tech entrepreneur: that’s what CEU students have learnt as they drew on the expertise of successful entrepreneurs such as Fran Estevan, CEO of Innsomnia, and José Bermejo, CEO of Startup Builder and CEU graduate.

Imagine having the opportunity to tackle one of seven challenges in legal-tech, fin-tech, health-tech and marketing set by real entrepreneurs – CEU alumni who have set up successful start-ups. That was the chance given to Law, Political Science, Business Management and Marketing students at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University, as they took part in the first edition of Global Startups Day. For this unique online event, the students were split into teams, each of which had its own professional mentor, and then they had to come up with and present their own solutions and proposals.

The experience for the students taking part in this innovative initiative was enriched by the contributions of some top experts in entrepreneurship and digital training. These included Fran Estevan, CEO of Innsomnia, Maribel Castilla, head of CEU Digital Tech programs and José Bermejo, CEO of Startup Builder and a CEU UCH graduate.

María Ortega was one of the creators of the winning project at this first edition of CEU’s Global Startups Day.

How to become a tech entrepreneur

The winning team, made up of María Ortega, Isabel Fuster and Ángela Nadal, took on the challenge set by CEU graduate Jorge Valencia (from Legal Speech VR) regarding the use of virtual reality in education.

“We were particularly excited about this challenge,” María told us, “as it was an issue we’d been talking about for some time. Our proposal, UNI-NET, is the result of our curiosity and desire to find the positives from the difficult situation which we’re all experiencing.”

‘Global Startups Day has given us back our passion for our degree again at this difficult time’

“The objective is to bring professionals and students from across the world together and create a medium through which they can interact with each other, in a way that can really enhance the university experience, prepare us for our future careers, but most especially help us progress in our personal development,” said María, who is studying for a Dual Degree in Business Management and Law.

As an innovative businesswoman in the making, she’s very satisfied with her experience of this event organized by the University: “Despite the fact that this was first event of this type that we’ve attended online, the challenges and talks all took place without a hitch, and we’ve really enjoyed this experience, as we’ve been able to speak to those who already have great careers in the areas we want to work in and exchange ideas with them.”

“Global Startups Day has given us the chance to find out about the concerns and interests of other students in the same situation as we are. So, we’d like to thank the University for this opportunity, which has given us back our passion for our degree in these difficult times, at which we have to adapt to the circumstances.”

Tueri’s founder is in favour of young people getting involved in innovation and forming part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Discover emerging talent

The event’s major figures, our entrepreneurial alumni, were also very happy with the outcome. One of these was Guillermo Flor, the founder of Tueri, who set a challenge concerning the contracts of the future.

The CEU graduate thinks that the Global Startups Day “is a fantastic initiative, because young people need to get more involved in innovation and I know that they’re hungry to form part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. That’s why this opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs will help them to see what kind of things they could do in the future and it certainly stimulates their curiosity, which is the most important thing for them to grow.”

‘For entrepreneurs, this is a great chance to discover up-and-coming new talent, to experience different ways of thinking and to give creativity an outlet for expression.’

Tueri’s founder also believes that the learning process went in both directions: “For the entrepreneurs, I think that this is a great opportunity to discover up-and-coming new talent, to experience different ways of thinking and to giver creativity an outlet for expression – because, sometimes, it’s difficult to keep that going when you’ve been focused on one thing for a long time.”

The entrepreneur was very happy to come back to the University, for which he was full of praise, and to be able “to contribute to the education of the current students and support the startup ecosystem in Valencia. After this experience, I’m really keen to see more and larger events of this type, involving more entrepreneurs and more students.”

Challenges in the key of tech

María and Guillermo are like two sides of the same coin and show the value of these seven challenges set by these entrepreneurs and CEU UCH graduates.

In addition to the challenges put forward by Tueri and Legal Speech VR, the CEU students also had the chance to present solutions to the fin-tech challenge set by CEU UCH graduate Salvador Lukas (The Logic Value), which concerned thinking about financial processes and how to digitize these, and the legal-tech challenge from Álvaro Pérez (CifrasLegalService) regarding how to implement a ‘smart’ contract in a company with many clients.

In the case of health-tech, the would-be entrepreneurs took on the challenge set by CEU graduate Alfredo Rico (Mindhope), regarding the applying technological solutions in the healthcare sector.

As for marketing, the challenges were put forward by CEU UCH graduate Fran Vicente (Homia), about how to reach householders with technical problems so that they can request an estimate for repairs via an online platform, and José Carlos Ferrer (Beachbol), concerning getting a larger number of companies and institutions to work with the startup.

The students had the chance to learn how to provide technological solutions to business problems and present their solutions to successful entrepreneurs

An extraordinary education

In addition to working closely with successful entrepreneurs, the CEU Cardenal Herrera students also had the chance to attend online meetings events with experts in entrepreneurship and digital training.

The event was opened by Maribel Castilla, head of CEU Digital Tech programmes, and was brought to a close by the CEU graduate and CEO of Startup Builder, José Bermejo.

Just before the work on the challenges began, the participants had the opportunity to gain some useful entrepreneurial advice from the expert Fran Estevan, who gave us the key takeaways from his latest book on entrepreneurship,  La gran travesía del emprendimiento.

Estevan congratulated CEU UCH “for this educational initiative, faultless from the methodological point of view” and went on to provide a raft of recommendations for young people looking to establish their own startup.

‘Don’t go it alone. Listen and then put your proposal out there in the marketplace so that you can get constructive criticism which can enhance your project.’

“Get training and improve your skills, look for intelligent and appropriate funding (don’t ask for more than you need and don’t spend what you don’t have) and don’t go it alone. Listen and then put your proposal out there in the marketplace from the very beginning so that you can get constructive criticism to enhance your project,” he advised the audience.

“Get the right tools and get out of the office, because entrepreneurs have to remain in contact with real life,” he said.

Industry 4.0, one of the ‘blue oceans’ mentioned by Fran Estevan

Blue oceans

Estevan urges young people to seek out their own “blue oceans”, with this being especially important in areas such as digitization, health, industry 4.0, sustainability, green future and mobility.  

Taking care of yourself is, he thinks, another key to success. “You won’t get much sleep – keep a notebook on your bedside table, in fact, keep one with you at all times. You won’t go out much either. And be aware that there’ll be some very long days to deal with and many bills to pay (and keep an eye on your liabilities),” he told the listening students.

‘In the end, the reward you get is your freedom, which is something all entrepreneurs share.’

You certainly have to create your own luck, yet it does play a role in an entrepreneur’s success, he told the audience, adding the following advice: “Your life will be a rollercoaster, so get used to that, but try to find some balance between your professional and personal life, take care of your family and friends (you’ll need them to catch you when you fall), don’t spend what you haven’t got, and when you achieve your goal, don’t start thinking you deserve a medal, because being too self-satisfied is like a ticking timebomb. Staying humble is the key to sustainable entrepreneurship.”

At the end of all this hard work, there’s a great reward, he concluded: “freedom, which is something that all entrepreneurs share and have in common.”

This first edition of Global Startups Day was organized by the Faculty of Law, Business and Political Science, together with the Digital Transformation Unit,  CEU Alumni and CEU Emprende.

How to become a tech entrepreneur, the objective of Global Startups Day

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