Entrepreneurship 101 with Intel

We live in times of a changing, knowledge-based economy. Leaving the industrial age behind, we entered the age of information. Nowadays, job markets require different set of skills; the so-called 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, team work and many more. The concepts of “intrapreneurship” and “entrepreneurship” have become highly appreciated. But even though the world has changed, education has not followed. There is a huge gap between the knowledge and skills formal education provides and the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s business world.

Intel wants to follow up on the change.

Michał Dżoga, Head of Corporate Affairs (CEE Region) says, “At Intel, we believe that everything we do should matter to society.” That is why at the Europe Youth to Business Forum, Intel ran a workshop with 100 young leaders about the importance of entrepreneurship, start-ups and innovation.

Hard data proves that the entrepreneurship culture in Europe is weaker than anywhere else. This could be associated with the difference in perception the USA and Europe have regarding the outlook on failure when starting your own company. In the USA, failure is accepted as part of the natural process of learning and growing. Most of what you learn as an entrepreneur is by trial and error. In Europe however, people tend to be too cautious in their desire not to fail, which prevents them from taking healthy risks necessary for the success of their company.

Michał Dżoga asked the delegates at the workshop a powerful question – How often do students start a company straight after college and succeed without previous experience?

It happens all the time!

When starting up, it is important to remember that you don’t have to have absolutely everything in the beginning, because that’s very hard to achieve. The idea is to start and constantly add to what you have. As Michał said “There are more interesting ideas than good companies on the market.“

Another tip to keep in mind about entrepreneurship is that idea is small part of the investment; implementation is everything. In a science project, an idea is worth a lot. But since globalisation influences start-ups, someone else may be doing your project already. That’s why it is important to start as early as possible, with good mentoring and guidance.

At Europe Y2B Forum, Michał Dżoga also revealed the secret of Intel’s success “We really believe in what we are doing. People who were there in the beginning are still with the company. What Intel is most proud of is Moore’s law, named after its co-founder Gordon Moore, which states that the number of transistors on a chip will double approximately every two years. The company uses this as a guiding principle for growth and advancement. Intel has the legacy to foster innovation and leadership, which are embedded in the DNA of the company.“

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As part of this legacy, Intel is organising the Intel Business Challenge, an event which brings together the best engineers and scientists from around the world to present how they plan to make the world a better place through innovations and entrepreneurial skills! But the Intel Business Challenge is not only about the competition, but more about the platform that will help you fine tune your idea and gain mentorship and guidance from entrepreneurs all over the world.

Find out more at intelchallenge.eu. Apply, become an entrepreneur and make the world a better place!

Where Do All of the Good Women Go?

Every morning, I sit at my desk as Global VP of Public Relations for AIESEC International to do my daily news scan. I am instantly flooded with new articles about women not being represented enough in the top leadership positions; blog posts on how women need to take every opportunity they can at work; and reports on how to encourage female Millennials because we’re facing a leadership gap.

I then take a look around me.

In my office, there are women everywhere. Out of twenty-two full time staff on the global executive team of AIESEC, eleven of them are women – three of them are at the upper management level. Around 50 percent of our 100,000 members are women. As an organisation we are rich with “up and coming” young female leaders.

Even down at our national level where we have offices in 124 countries and territories, young women are consistently represented in the highest leadership positions. “I decided to run for President of AIESEC in India because I had something to offer and I had a vision for where I wanted the organisation to go” says Ramita Vg, Global VP Product Development for AIESEC International. “I never questioned myself because I would only be the second female President. I did it because I felt responsibility for the organisation.”

So if at a younger age our women are still striving for these upper leadership positions, where do all of the good women go?

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg ignited an international conversation about women and ambition with the publication of her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Her argument that women need to overcome internal barriers in order to advance as leaders has provoked significant debate. Skeptics claim that Sandberg’s message simplifies a complex problem and ultimately blames women for not making it to the top; supporters believe she is inspiring women to aim higher in their careers and offering practical advice to help them succeed.

From looking at the way our young women advance in AIESEC, we can pinpoint to four possible reasons why they do not make it to the upper leadership roles:

1. They are satisfied enough not to apply for these positions.

It is not always a natural next step to apply for a higher position within an organisation or to seek out more responsibility in a higher labeled role. Regardless of being a male or female, if someone is feeling happy, challenged and fulfilled in a particular position, they may not have the urge to apply to a higher position. It may be that they are already happy in their current role and in the impact they are creating. Generally, when people are happy they do what they can to keep that feeling.

2. They choose to have other priorities.

Not every woman will decide to put her career first. This comes down to what the individual defines as success; as their end goal for their lives. Some will choose their education level; others will decide that attaining a certain position will determine their success. For some the salary they make and the materials they own determine their success. Some women will decide that having a family and children is their idea of success. Each woman will have their own definition of success, and this does not always coincide with taking leadership roles within an organisation. There are certain tasks and behaviors that upper level management roles will demand that are unable to be balanced with other priorities. Maybe what needs to change is the way we view leadership roles and what is needed to fulfill them? If you were to ask someone what a typical day looks like for a C-level executive, they will most likely describe it with long hours, back to back meetings and an overall demanding lifestyle. Maybe the typical life of an executive needs to be redefined so that the opportunity can be taken by more individuals than just those who strictly prioritise work.

3. They are not in the right environment.

A woman may be skilled enough to take on a leadership role, but if the environment around her does not encourage and support her to do so, it could never happen. This is down to the system and people that make up the work environment she is in. If the system is not open, progressive and does not embrace diversity it is very hard for a woman to push her way through it. If the people around her are not encouraging, and are not showing and supporting her through the path of advancement, she may never know the opportunity is open for her. Creating an environment that supports any skilled person, no matter their gender, to take on a higher position is the responsibility of the company or organisation.

4. They hold themselves back.

Do women question their abilities to take on larger roles and responsibilities? Does the male-dominated boardroom intimidate them? We can think of many questions when we look at the substantial drop in female leaders as we move up the corporate ladder. Is there a change in their ambition as they get older or are there other factors stopping them? In her books Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, states that women often do not aspire to more in their careers and in their leadership journeys. Maybe it is because they don’t think about it, or they don’t believe that they could actually succeed in reaching the goals they set for themselves; as women tend to not believe enough in their capabilities. After determining that they want to be a leader, women need to lean in and take every opportunity regardless of their fear of failure.

PwC is one global company that identifies with the Lean In movement and is committed to supporting an environment that will help women to achieve their full potential. The firm believes that it will take a collaborative effort of companies, leaders and from women themselves to start to close this leadership gap. According to U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz, “Leaders profoundly influence the aspirations of the people who work with them, which is why ambition requires mutual accountability. Companies have a responsibility to provide opportunities and support women as they explore career possibilities and life choices. That’s why PwC is leaning in.”

On 24 April from 4:30pm GMT, PwC will be hosting its first-ever global forum on women and leadership. The event is part of “Aspire to Lead: The PwC Women’s Leadership Series,” which includes a number of programs and workshops designed for college students who are looking to build their leadership skills.

Sheryl Sandberg will share her perspective, and answer questions on the challenges women face when transitioning from campus to career in a special live webcast. The event will be broadcast live from Facebook’s campus in California.  A replay will be available shortly after the live broadcast and translated versions of the webcast will be available the week of 5 May.

We encourage you to participate in this discussion by tuning into the live webcast or watching the replay at www.pwc.com/aspire. In addition, this webcast is open to anyone, so please share this unique opportunity with those in your personal, school and professional networks.

Maybe if we can get young women to start planning their career goals now, we have a better chance of helping them get there – and hopefully gain more good leadership that the world desperately needs.

The topic of women in leadership sparked a conversation throughout our office that we want to continue – stay tuned for more content coming in the next few weeks!

Are you challenging yourself enough?

Hugo Pereira, President of AIESEC in 2010-2011, recently held a TED talk at TEDxAUBG in Bulgaria about the questions that move us forward. He looked back at his 8 year experience in AIESEC as well as his volunteer internship in a non-profit in India to really figure out what it was that motivated him and helped him to grow as a person; he found it was human connection.

“Looking back I found that you find the right questions when you are surrounded by the right people…Do you know who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? Are they challenging you enough? Are they helping you find the right questions? Who are the right people for you?”

Watch his full TED talk here:

Do you feel yourself challenged by the people you spend your time with? How can you surround yourself with new people and different perspectives so that you are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?

To explore and develop your leadership potential by embarking on a global internship experience, visit www.opportunities.aiesec.org to get started.

Solving Youth Unemployment in Europe

“There are 26.2 million people unemployed in the EU today – an increase of more than 9 million people from 2008. This trend has significant economic, political and social consequences for Europe. The challenge for European leaders is to solve this puzzle and to help citizens find sustainable and long-term employment opportunities.”

(www.iiea.com – The Institute of International and European Affairs)

Sustainable and long-term employment opportunities do not include just generating new job posts, but also educating and preparing youth to be ready for responsibilities these job posts bring. Nowadays Millennials complain about the lack of open job posts, while businesses argue that Gen Y lack the needed skill sets.

Who is right and who is wrong?

Rather than taking one side, let us consider the fact that there is a gap in expectation setting from both sides: what young people want from their employers vs. companies’ expectations from their employees and the type of employee they would be more likely to hire. Imagine what would happen if we aligned supply and demand – the kind of the jobs young people are looking for and developing the set of characteristics young people need to perform in their dream jobs.

What is also often disputed when talking about youth unemployment is the mindset young people born as Gen Y share – they are ambitious but not humble; they expect excellent conditions from the get go; they are not prepared to start from scratch and work up the ranks, rather demanding everything right now. How can we make sure young people understand what is needed in order to land their dream job? How can we shift the current mindset?

As often happens, challenges arise from more than one source; it is the combination of everything mentioned above. On one hand, the education young people are acquiring is leaving them unprepared to deal with today’s job market reality. They lack practical knowledge, skills and strategic thinking, which are usually not acquired through formal education. And on the other hand, employers seek young people who are ready to dedicate themselves to work, learn and advance but who nevertheless have some previous experience or at least certain set of characteristics and skills. Do we as young people know what these characteristics are? And are we developing them?

On April 7th in Warsaw, Poland, Europe Youth to Business Forum will gather all stakeholders important in solving the issue of youth unemployment – young people, educators, government and business. They will have the opportunity to discuss and generate ideas on how collaboration can lead to solving this challenge in the region.

Join us on livestream (bit.ly/EuropeY2BF) and contribute to flipping the switch on youth unemployment in Europe!