“Discovering my Entrepreneurial Side”
by Raquel Pestana*
One more year, a new experience.
This year INESC Porto invited me to supervise the Ciência Viva work placement on “Discovering my Entrepreneurial Side”, and once again I accepted the invitation. The aim of the programme was to promote the methods and processes necessary to create a mini business plan for a new technology-based company.
The programme was once again short, but with ambitious targets. However, the group joined forces to beat the ticking of the clock and even found time to enjoy themselves a little and get to know the sites in the city.
During the week the students had the opportunity to visit the research Units at INESC Porto, work with the researchers, who kindly presented market oriented projects and they were even able to revise some of the material learned at school.
The aim of the programme was to develop the student’s entrepreneurial capacity by introducing risk-taking competencies. The students gained a new perspective on how the market works which helped them to build ideas and led to the results obtained. These are the visions of the potential innovators of the future.
In just one week of hard labour, the students that took part in the “Discovering my Entrepreneurial Side” programme demonstrated:
- Courage in the choices they made.
- Vision when taking already existing products and reinventing them with big product and business ideas.
- Independence in their search for information to develop the project.
- Team work, essential for achieving their objectives.
- Solid knowledge of the material learned at school and the capacity to apply it to new technological solutions.
- The ability to defend their solutions.
- Flexibility when interacting with groups and looking at the business potential of each of the projects developed.
Knowing that there is no lower age limit for being entrepreneurial, these six students began their adventure starting with pre-defined requirements in order to find their “business opportunity” and to gain confidence in their ability to reveal possibilities that are previously unheard of in this uncertain future.
Being entrepreneurial implies being prepared, studying, analysing, anticipating market tendencies, talking to other players in the business world and exchanging experiences with the world. Creativity is inherent in the creation of a technology-based business or company. Knowledge, competencies and the training of each entrepreneur will also help to find this balance.
We can confirm that we saw a change in the profile of the young Portuguese students when we saw how they were ready to “change the world” or the reality that surrounds them. We can see that youngsters increasingly want to actively participate in and take responsibility for economic change, contributing dynamically with entrepreneurial ideas.
These young learners with scientific hopes, our future representatives, want to immerse themselves in the origins of science to investigate the infinite number of possibilities of applying this knowledge to reality.
Our job is to provide them with the experience and tools to prepare them for the ambitious future ahead because research and development (R&D) institutes and Portuguese Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be the vehicles that will transport these “great minds”.
* Work placement supervisor Ciência Viva