Any student who chooses IE for its entrepreneurship program dreams to get to Venture Day. IE chooses the best startups to pitch in front of investors and industry leaders. These startups are chosen by a panel of judges after being incubated in IE’s Venture Lab for almost three months. The judges believe the business plans presented have a chance of succeeding after students finish their respective programs. Reaching Venture Day is already an award itself. It means months of market research, surveys, pivots, negotiations and financial models. Making these startups happen while balancing school work and social life is hard. Add coordinating a club to that, and it makes it really tough.

My team’s project, Gastro Ventures, is a platform that combines a food hall and restaurant accelerator / venture builder. We want to bring in talented cooks and host them in our food court, help them build their concepts while they validate their ideas with the public, and finally launch their own ventures.  As coordinator of the Gastronomy Club, I had access to a series of leaders of the gastronomy ecosystem in Madrid. I used my networking skills to reach out to these contacts and ask them for help. People who I met through the club’s activities ended up being our mentors and helped us validate our final product. The fact that we had heavyweights involved in our project was an indicator of trust for investors.

Although we did not win Venture Day, Gastro Ventures was chosen as the crowd’s favorite project. For this, I thank the Campus Life team who are always so supportive of our initiatives and trusted us in all our crazy endeavors.

Ernesto Méndez Chiari
IE Gastronomy Club


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