Have an idea for a startup but don’t have a team? Want to lend your skills and expertise to a new and unique project, but don’t know what to work on?
That was the idea behind “Build a Startup Team!” hosted by the IE Entrepreneurship Club on September 15th, 2015.
In late July, the coordinators of the club met as usual on a Tuesday afternoon. But this Tuesday was unusual. This Tuesday, we were looking for something different – a new way to add value to our members. The past six months had been full of speakers and seminars. In short, the usual stuff. But as we reflected, we came to realize the normal repertoire was getting old. We needed a new idea; something that would really help us and our members remember why we joined the club and why we chose IE over other business schools. For most of us, it was the chance to learn from the best collection of entrepreneurial role models and scholars and to try our hands at being entrepreneurs ourselves.
In just a few minutes, we decided we all needed more opportunities to engage with other like-minded students – to discuss problems, solutions, and the possibility of providing those solutions ourselves. We realized it was time for a “pitch-slam,” the hallowed meeting-of-the-minds that all entrepreneurs crave.
The idea wasn’t entirely new, in fact, the pitch slam is a common format for meetings in entrepreneurial circles. One of our classmates had even approached us requesting we host a similar event. But the club hadn’t hosted such an event in recent memory, and we weren’t sure how much interest our members and other students would have. We discussed the format of the event, created the agenda, and distributed flyers. Two days later, the event registration was full and we had to open the waiting list. Our concerns about interest were relieved.
The day of the event was hectic. We had to change rooms to accommodate the attendees only twenty-four hours before the event was scheduled. Initially, the sound equipment in the room was having problems. But all sixty of the attendees remained attentive and were receptive to the idea of starting into the pitches without amplification. At first, the idea holders were reserved and spoke modestly about their ideas and the potential of the companies they visualized. But as the audience became involved – asking questions, providing feedback – the pitches gained momentum. The idea holders presented with enthusiasm and excitement and the audience eagerly engaged.
The event was scheduled for one hour and fifteen minutes. One hour and forty-five minutes later, most of the audience was still in the room, and there were still ideas being presented. The club actually had to interrupt the flow and end the event because there was a later meeting scheduled for the same room.
As students from left the room, they engaged with one another, discussing ideas and exchanging information all the way out of the building. The coordinators received many thanks, and requests to hold more similar events. All in all, the even couldn’t have been more of a hit.
Many thanks from the coordinators to their classmates and all of the students at IE. Thank you for reminding us why we chose to attend IE Business School, to join the club, and to explore the hectic, challenging, compelling, and rewarding world of entrepreneurship.