Posted by Kristi Vabamäe

The STARTER programme strengthens the startup mindset

We all have ideas how one or another situation could be improved. Often we do not think beyond the idea or even if we do, we immediately run into obstacles. But there are always people who have an irresistible desire to find out whether the idea creates value for many and is also a business opportunity. They differ from dreamers in their determination and willingness to risk, and confidence in their success. All these qualities combined form the startup mindset, which is discussed below by Maret Ahonen, Manager of the UT sTARTUp Lab and leader of STARTERtartu programme.

Although the emergency situation slowed down our usual activities, it also immediately triggered new approaches in both business and education. At times, there was no time to think about alternatives, as the speed of offering new solutions became important. A number of new services and products appeared on the market. Good examples of quick response were also Hack the Crisis and The Global Hack, led by Garage48. These hackathons resulted in a number of prototypes and technological solutions for coping with the new reality. While not all solutions may prove sustainable, the practical experience and the lessons learned are still valuable.

All who joined the STARTERtartu programme this spring got a unique learning experience. The participants had just been inspired by each other’s ideas and set up their teams, when the emergency situation was announced. The emergency situation struck the teams while they were conducting interviews and surveys with potential customers and trying to formulate their initial value proposition. The university switched to distance learning and many foreign students returned to their home countries. For some teams, it meant communicating in different time zones.

The new team leaders learned amazingly fast to keep their teams stick to the goal, however vague, through online communication. They had to get to know their team members and deal with differences of opinion. At the same time, they had their everyday studies, which meant that the teams often worked on weekends, in the evenings and sometimes at night. This was a great challenge, but belief in the business opportunity of their idea and the desire to follow a path that no one had taken before made the teams work.

The STARTER programme starts again in the autumn. You are welcome to join the programme in Tartu, Tallinn, Narva and Pärnu.

Read further HERE.


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