GEC 2016 – Empowering entrepreneurship

I today confirmed my registration for GEC 2016 in Medellin and are looking forward to what I believe will be a great conference and celebration of entrepreneurship. Do you want to join us or just want more information, have a look at http://www.gec.co/

gec2016_screenScreenshot: http://www.gec.co/

GEN – The organizations that power the Global Entrepreneurship Network in 160 countries gathers for their annual meeting each year at the conference.

Every year, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress gathers together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 160 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world. At the weeklong GEC, delegates make connections, gain insights, learn about new research, and leave ready to renew their programs, policy ideas or firm founder skills.

In the approach to the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network annual meeting, GERN has sought to explore important entrepreneurship research themes, particularly those around unaddressed – or less than thoroughly addressed – questions about entrepreneurial dynamics.

See more about GERN and their initiative at http://www.gec.co/gern-explores-new-research-questions-ahead-gec-medellin#sthash.yXzGEi3H.dpuf

I will blog from the conference and you are welcome to follow me at @vikingangels.

Do not degenerate yourself and your visions

We had a wonderful 10th anniversary in Norwegian Entrepreneur Association and we had engaged the comedian and entrepreneur Jon Schau. He was quite an experience. One of his main messages was “be true to your idea and who you are”, and I wanted to play a little further on this message the next day. I wake up and made a blog post that have made several Norwegian entrepreneurs and a few politicians reaching out to me.

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Jon Schau at the 10th anniversary in Norwegian Entrepreneur Association in Drammen. Photo: Odd Moe

The situation in Norway is special because there is a lack of private business angels. Seed funding is mostly provided by the government through their state organisation called Innovation Norway. There are some professional seed funds that are coming up and running now funded with 50% oil money, and that will hopefully be a game changer.

In Norway most of the entrepreneurs from day one have to adapt to the system by having to have one gameplan towards Innovation Norway relating to getting funding and grants while the real plan lies in the back of their head ready for use when they have the money. My recommendation in the blog post was;

“Be true to yourself , say what you believe is right and do not degenerate yourself and your vision in the face of the system”. “Wherever crazy, politically incorrect or spectacular your idea is, you will always find investors, partners and others who have thought some of the same thoughts as you and who understands you. It takes just a little longer!”

So do we have a problem in Norway? I think that too many bright people and good ideas have left this beautiful country because of reasons mentions above.

I feel it is happening positive thinks and we have a government that really want to do something and change the system. There are a lot of good intentions, but there are issues regarding cultures that changes slowly up here in the north.

“Norway can never be Silicon Valley – but we can be much more if we define our space.”

We for sure have the financial power of the oil fund if we are willing to us it to create the future.

New majority owner in Phonero AS

Norvestor VI, L.P., a fund managed by Norvestor Equity AS, have bought 56 percent of the shares in Phonero AS. The company has grown to be Norway’s next biggest telecom operator in the business market, with telecom solutions SMEs and large enterprises. The company is projected to have revenues of more than 1 billion NOK in 2015.

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19 year old Aurora Aksnes from Os, Norway, gets millions of shares on YouTube

There are many interesting things happening in the Norwegian music industry, but I was shocked when I learned that totally unknown Aurora Aksnes was the voice behind this year’s John Lewis Christmas Advert. I song is also rising on iTunes and are as we speak at sixth place. Where will this end for young and for sure talented Aurora?

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 – #ManOnTheMoon

Are Norwegians fat, lazy and beautiful?

This talk I gave at a local TEDx event, in Bergen produced independently of the TED Conferences. I am talking about the present and future of entrepreneurship in Norway and try to examine the challenges of Norwegian startup companies on the entrepreneurial scene. Why is it so hard for startups to survive and grow is such a rich and prosperous Scandinavian country?

I am working on refining this lecture and on a book focusing on challenges Norway have ahead, so all feedback and comments are of high value for me.

SELL, SELL, SELL

Sometimes, I wonder if the Norwegian entrepreneurs are allergic to selling and prefer to innovate and write business plans. Time and again I saw they have written great plans but has done little get in touch with the market through sales. I think that first have to sell your product/service before you spend too much time and energy on developing and writing business plans. Time is a precious resource = money, and many times it is possible with simple means to accelerate time to market and through feedback from real customers do a product and service that the market wants.

Here are some examples;
Case A: I received a visit from some friendly people with an idea I liked. When I heard that they had spent one and half years to write a business plan and had not spoken to a single customer, I was ill. I asked if it was ok that I called to a potential customer that maybe would be interested. It took me a few minutes to find a candidate and called up and drove a short 3 min pitch. They were enthusiastic and wanted to have a meeting, and they did not only became not only became a customer but would also finance part of product development and to be a contributor in the process.

Case B: I always use to say that it is good to have a draft contract/letter of intent lying in the cloud if you are looking for customers or investors. I’ve done it several times myself, and it speeds up the process. Sometimes in meetings it is a “turning point” where the hot prospect says “this is interesting, and we would like to more into this”. That’s when you pull out an LOI (letter of intent) and starts to sell it and close it on the spot. Ones we had 34 meetings during seven days in Eastern Europe and returned with 22 LOIs. The tour was also a critical factor for us to succeed raising 4.5 million in seed funding.

The Gründernes Hus (The Entrepreneurs House in Oslo) we will have a focus on sales and acceleration of the process to get to market. We will also use our global network and expertise providing power to kick-start the growth of the companies. We are in the process developing a roadmap that we will be complete during the summer, but already have four companies one they way into the system and much more in screening and pipeline. The official opening of the 3rd-floor Accelerator is at the same time as the official opening of the 1360 m2 house. We have not written a business plan so far – just taken action and focused on business and has sold close to 100% of what we have on sale so far. Soon we start to sell memberships for Kafékontoret (Co-working space on the 1st floor). It’s just to get ready if you want to be a part of a great environment.

3 trends that excites Marc Nager – CEO of Startup Weekend

In an articel in IdeaMensch Marc Nager focus on the following trends;

marcnSpecialization of cities and their communities. “Startups” are getting saturated, so we are seeing a huge movement towards more focused and intentional efforts to specialize.

The government policy makers and big businesses are realizing the importance of investing in startups and innovation. It is fundamental to ensuring our growth as a nation and a world.

Ideas are worthless, its about the people. We try extremely hard to push the level of conversations across the board towards highlighting and supporting the importance of people/individuals. We can have all the programs, money, and incentives in the world to help ideas, but without the right people and teams behind the ideas, all of those programs are worthless.

Marc Nager is for sure an entrepreneur that have changed the world. Read this interesting intervju at IdeaMensch.

Author of the month – Eric Ries

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business, published by Crown Business.

He serves on the advisory board of a number of technology startups, and has consulted to new and established companies as well as venture capital firms. In 2010, he was named entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School and is currently an IDEO Fellow. Previously he co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup. In 2007, BusinessWeek named him one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs of Tech. In 2009, he was honored with a TechFellow award in the category of Engineering Leadership.The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review,Inc. (where he appeared on the cover), Wired, Fast Company, and countless blogs. He lives in San Francisco.

Learn more about Eric Ries…

260 Events In 202 Cities; Startups Raised $30M+

A post by Robin Wauters at TechCrunch

Startup Weekend, whose mission is to kickstart and foster startup communities worldwide through events and networking sessions, had a very lively 2011.

According to internal statistics shared exclusively with TechCrunch, the organization held a total of 260 events in 202 cities, in 67 countries (you can find the obligatory accompanying infographic below).

All in all, the ‘startup weekends’ attracted some 21,316 people, who collectively formed 2,817 teams.

Startups that were incubated at its events raised at least $30 million in outside funding in the course of last year, although Startup Weekend CMO Joey Pomerenke tells me there were probably more fundraising rounds completed that they simply don’t know about yet. Read more…

Investor Events January 2012

Seed Forum International Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation working out of London, and it is the international collaboration entity for the national Seed Forum not-for-profit foundations in various countries.
VikingAngels.com uses these events as physical meeting spots for our network.

Events in January: Singapore 17th, Shanghai 19th and Malmø 24th. Contact manager if you want to be invited to one of these events.