Monday, 18 November 2013

1st-2nd of November, Matchmaking Conference in Kirkeness...

The Kirkenes Conference is a part of the ENPI Kolarctic project called Young Innovative Entrepreneurs. A project where the overall objective is to support economic and social development of the Barents region by facilitating innovative entrepreneurial initiatives by young people in order to contribute to the development of the employment and entrepreneurship in the region. The dissemination of project results to a wider public in the region will support the development of multilateral involvement of the regional actors and thus securing the support for the project activities and its sustainability
The conference gathered 77 participants from all four Barents countries. Most of them already running their own business or planning to do so within a short period of time. In the opening speech given by Rune Rafaelsen of the Norwegian Barents Secretary, he noted that there were a lot of aspiring female professionals present. Actually were more than half of the participants female. A mix not often seen in the male dominated Barents business sphere.
The conference was built around two main topics; human centered innovations through design thinking and pitching your ideas. Federico Lozano started the two day program by introducing the participants to the concept of design thinking, before bringing them through an exciting day consisting of three different sessions. Session 1:  Empathy & Need Finding, Session 2:  Ideation and Session 3:  Rapid Prototyping & Define. Through these three sessions participants learned how to produce rough, rapid prototypes, elicit useful feedback, and iterate.  We also explored prototyping for less-tangible services and processes through role-plays and storyboards.
Innovative products and services are not enough to ensure your company’s success. Everyone needs a simple and compelling way to explain what they do. It's the key to successfully prospecting networking events, chance meetings and parties for new business. But unfortunately the way most people explain themselves comes off self-indulgent and boring resulting in wasted conversations and fruitless encounters. Steinar Korsmo from Seed Forum taught the participants how to quickly and simply define their, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition to their products to investors, customers and partners.
The conference results were astonishing. The participants answered that they increased entrepreneurial competence, increased business competence and increased innovative competence. They also reported that they extended their business network by participating in YIE.

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