Updated: Aug 8, 2018
What will you do when you go home and after graduation? That was the question I got over and over again during the last few weeks of my master degree this spring. The 1st of June, the moment of graduation was there and this was the moment my student life was officially over for now. The 1st of June we all gathered in front of the main building of Lund University to celebrate that we completed the MSc in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, specialized in New Venture Creation. A year of personal development and valuable meetings had flown by. I learned how to create business ideas that meet the customer needs and equally important, I learned how to pitch these ideas in a way that people would be interested in my product or service.
During the master program, I worked on a business plan that involved relatively high startup costs and my business partner and I had decided to use this project to learn as much as possible from the course and to use this as a practice for the future. Every time someone asked whether we would execute the project, the answer was: “No, not at this point, we both don’t want to be fully committed in such a project at this moment”.
Which was true. Starting a commercial kitchen space for hourly rent for food entrepreneurs would involve an investment in a project that will be set on one location and for a longer period of time. Personally, I didn’t feel ready to take this step. Firstly, because I have this weird inner feeling that I constantly want to travel and explore the world and that I want to live in another country before I would settle down. Secondly, I felt that I didn’t have the right team of people around me to start such a project. Of course, I knew that if I would go to network events or just share the idea, I would find people, but I just didn’t want to this right now.
However, there was this unique situation that both my parents sold their company 1.5 years ago and have been working on several business ideas since then. They hadn’t found the right idea yet and were open to any idea when I got home. My personal goal is to have my own social enterprise up and running before my 30th birthday, which is still quite some time… My parents share the goal to start a social orientated business and we agreed on giving ourselves the chance to start a business together. I received the Leapfrogs Scholarship, which is a grant that allows students to work on their own business idea over summer. This money gave me a more financial freedom to take the summer off and to take the time and start working on an idea.
The day after I got home, we sat down and started to write down what each of us would love to do. We all shared the same ideas: sharing our knowledge and experiences with people who are not so privileged to follow (free) high-standard education and all the other things in life we easily take for granted. Additionally, all three of us share the love for Africa as a continent and would love to live there for a longer period of time. During this brainstorm session, I remembered a Facebook post from a Zambian guy who asked for help with starting a shared commercial kitchen in Zambia and I decided to text him. I was curious about the status of the project, if he still wanted to continue or whether he had started already or not.
The answer was: I definitely want to pursue the idea and I am in the middle of preparing a pitch to apply for a grant, but this is not my best skill. What happened after, all happened very fast. I helped to prepare the pitch, we had phone calls and started to brainstorm about the idea. Of course, this was a bit of a weird situation: talking about starting a business together with someone you don’t even know in person. That is why there’s only one thing I could do: book a flight to Zambia to check this all out! And that is exactly what I will do this autumn!
To be continued soon!