HST strives to encourage students’ entrepreneurial mindset and skills, no matter their program. But how does the school do this, and why is it so important?
If we’ve learned one thing from living through COVID-19, it’s that a lot can change in a year. Digital transformation and the demand for innovation has gone into turbo-drive, and the talent battle post-graduation in 2021 may be a tough one. So, what does this mean for HST students looking to stand out from the rest and seize the right kind of opportunities?
Entrepreneurship is a pillar of IE University, and HST makes it a priority for its students to see opportunities where others may not. From access to the Venture Lab to on-campus clubs and connections through professor networks, let’s look into how HST sharpens students’ entrepreneurial mindset, helping them blaze their own trail in the “new normal.”
Cooking up an entrepreneurial mindset in the Venture Lab
One of the most recognizable IE University initiatives, on and off campus, is the Venture Lab. The startup accelerator has nurtured, trained, and mentored countless young business people on their path to success while facilitating tremendous opportunities for external investment. Today, the Venture Lab is run by Managing Director Paris de l’Etraz, a seasoned angel investor and business founder deeply involved in the lab’s day-to-day activities.
“The Venture Lab provides HST students with the ability to put an entrepreneurship opportunity under their belt and CV,” He says. “Through this opportunity, these students can live through the experience of creating a company and fostering an unstructured approach to business. At the end of the day, entrepreneurship is a mindset, not a profession.”
This mindset seems to be plentiful, with IE University ventures attracting over 70 million euro in investment between 2012 and 2019 at Venture Days. However, the end goal of being your own boss is not necessarily the only benefit to joining the Venture Lab. “80% of students may not become entrepreneurs, but talking to recruiters from Amazon, Netflix and other big companies, they focus their search on those with startup experience,” says Paris.
He continues, “Dealing with extreme uncertainty with limited resources is a critical skill for any business today.” And it goes without saying that this is especially critical in a post-pandemic world.
Paris gives particular credit to HST’s Dean Lee Newman and President of IE University Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño for their entrepreneurial mindset and vision when creating HST’s programs. “The whole idea of combining technology with humanities was HST’s approach before the pandemic, and now the pandemic has reinforced this humanistic approach to technology. This methodology is instrumental to HST today and what drives the innovative mindset of the programs.”
Carolina Noa, a student in the Master in Corporate & Marketing Communication, is one of many enterprising individuals participating in the Venture Lab this year. Her education business, SmartStart, is a streaming platform with videos from experts that teach young people essential life skills, from taxes to emotional intelligence and everything in between. “The amount of resources that we have at our disposal—workshops, out-of-the-league mentors, advising sessions, the possibility of exchanging with other ‘newly born’ projects—makes the amount of work and commitment required for entrepreneurship worthwhile.”
Entrepreneurship beyond the classroom walls
The Venture Lab may be a beacon of entrepreneurship at IE University, but there are countless other ways to search out opportunities and grow your network within the school.
For instance, the on-campus Entrepreneurship Club is led today by Jeffrey Ziede. From Jeff’s perspective, students can easily see themselves in a fast-paced business setting simply due to the university’s unique environment. “IE University exudes entrepreneurial spirit: students are constantly encouraged to start new clubs and ventures.”
According to Jeff, professors from all walks of life and professional backgrounds place creativity and originality as highly valued skills, sparking a truly inspiring environment. “Tenacity is a shared value in our community, and it shows in the work and partnerships we develop through the club.”
One of these strategic partnerships is with codeFQ, a new entrepreneurship incubator focused on finding the perfect fit between candidates and partnered franchise business models. Led by adjunct professor Thierry Campet, the company helps entrepreneurs launch their business safely and sustainably through concrete legal, logistical, marketing, and financial requirement assistance.
“The initial idea for codeFQ was born at the beginning of 2020, as we saw the necessity to support the employment world differently. However, this project is the fruit of over two decades of experience in the franchise business and helping businesses launch.”
Now, codeFQ is available to IE University students and anyone in Spain, Portugal, and the UK—and soon to be Brazil, Mexico, and more—interested in alternative entrepreneurship and ready to take the leap. With a franchise comes a proven business model, the support of existing infrastructure, and a recognized brand, while codeFQ bridges the gap with increased access to financing and the ability to belong to an existing network.
In partnership with the Entrepreneurship Club, Thierry is now looking to help students find their own perfect business fit. “The spirit of entrepreneurship is what always strikes me the most with each new wave of students. Students approach me all the time looking for advice on launching a business. This is the future of our economy, and I want to instigate this as much as I can.”
Raine Lester grew up in Vancouver, Canada, spending her childhood exploring the great Pacific NorthWest with her parents, sister, and dogs. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology at the University of Western Ontario while simultaneously working in music and event promotion. After graduating, she took the plunge and moved to Shanghai, where she began her professional journey. In her time in China, Raine worked on both brand and agency side for hospitality, sports, and entertainment companies, focusing on corporate communications and public relations. She is now pursuing the Master in Corporate & Marketing Communication to connect her experience in Asia to the Western market.