Sunday, August 17, 2014

Entrepreneurs Learn How to Move Past the Startup Phase

Though most residents of Tallinn may be in the countryside, catching the final rays of summer, the startup community is continually abuzz, coding away behind their laptops or doing strategic planning into the midnight hours. US Embassy Tallinn had the unique treat this week of showing noted entrepreneur and UC Berkeley MBA Professor Naeem Zafar why this country is known as E-stonia.

Mr. Zafar visited Mektory, Skype, and the ICT demo center. He also spoke with the Estonian press.  The highlight of Professor Zafar’s visit, however, was his trip to Startup Wiseguys, where he conducted a workshop for the startup accelerators new “class” of entrepreneurs.

(Photo: Mr. Zafar's workshop at Startup Wiseguys/Will Ziesing)

Mr. Zafar quickly adapted his normal speech into an immersive conversation that fit the “students” quite perfectly. It was clear that Mr. Zafar, despite his extensive entrepreneurial bent, also possessed the unique qualities of a sophisticated collegiate professor. He addressed sales and company culture, in particular. He said “Selling is like being a doctor. It’s finding people with a problem, and then seeing if you have a solution.” Many students were quite captivated by Professor Zafar’s advice, and the directors at Startup Wiseguys were eager to plan a follow up event in the future.

As always, the team from US Embassy Tallinn that accompanied Mr. Zafar was pleased to further the link between the American and Estonian tech communities. With great mentors, ideas, and capital coming from both sides of the Atlantic, it remains exciting for the State Department to connect these two technology ecosystems. 

-Post by Will Ziesing

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