“Is it possible to have a job and start a business at the same time? How can you answer the calls from your own clients when your day-job boss is right behind you? Are Taiwanese companies less efficient than European companies? Where do you raise money for a new start-up? What really is a fapiao?”
These and many other questions were discussed when Elias Ek, CEO of Enspyre, gave a guest lecture at the Master of Global Entrepreneurial Management (MGEM) program at Fu Jen Catholic University led by Professor Shih-Yang Tsai.
Born and raised in Sweden and with several start-ups under his belt, Ek encountered all these issues and more.
The students in this class vary from their 20s to their 50s with a wide range of life experiences behind them. Out of the 40 people in the class, there were also some foreign students from Spain and France. The varied backgrounds showed in the questions asked.
Some students who were interested in startups wondered how Ek decides to start a business in a specific industry. “I am just curious and want to know what will happen,” he replied, “In fact, who you work with is much more important than what you do.” Ek encouraged ambitious young entrepreneurs to meet people and share ideas with others by joining events like “Startup Weekend,” a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities.
“As a new company, how do you find early adopters and investors in the conservative Taiwanese society?” asked Wilma Liu, who has started the business Move On Education Consulting to help high school students figure out their career path. Ek cited the bestseller book “Lean Startup”, which argues that instead of launching products already perfect in detail, it’s more efficient for new startups to focus on creating something quickly and test if the market accepts it. Entrepreneurs should always stay aware of and cater to what the consumers want, as this is what keeps the company going and makes impact on the society.
At last, Ek stressed that entrepreneurship does not necessarily mean to start a company, but to have ideas, convince others and pursue your goals. He hopes Taiwanese students can have more internships and part-time jobs to develop a better picture of what they really want before graduating and hopefully becoming real entrepreneurs. He was very supportive of Wilma’s vision in enabling high school students to search for their true interest, and he suggested that they work together with local companies.
Dr. Yaonan Lin, the director of MGEM, also expressed his interest in cooperating with Enspyre to provide his marketing students with internship opportunities in the company. No doubt there is still a long way to go, but hopefully in the future, not only the ones who attended the speech, but all Taiwanese students can become successful entrepreneurs in various fields.