DO! Goes USA 2018 – DAY 1 & 2

It’s been about 3 months since Tibbe Verschaffel won the DO! Goes USA 2018 competition with Planet B at Ghent University, which gave him, together with Maté, the opportunity to pitch at the Global Entrepreneur Challenge at Virginia Tech, USA, with the chance to win $30.000.

Tibbe has spent the last week in New York City, where he received pitching advice from experienced entrepreneurs who are currently scaling their businesses in the USA. On the 16th of August, the Global Entrepreneur Challenge started out with a 2-day trip in Washington DC. Maarten from the DO!-Team flew out to Washington DC to participate in the Challenge as a Ghent University representative. These first 2 days were filled with panel conversations, networking sessions, sightseeing moments and a tour at the amazing 1776 accelerator offices.

Many great stories were told and many experiences were shared, so instead of breaking down our days here in Washington DC, I’d like to take the time to share some of the learnings from those first moments with you:

  • You want to be on top of people’s mind when a relevant opportunity presents itself, such as an interesting or valuable connection with another company or individual. Make sure that you show your face by popping in every once in a while so you’re the first one people think of when they hear about a relevant opportunity. If it’s not you they think of, it’s someone else! Don't forget that you’re always welcome to pass by The Foundry to have a chat with the DO!-Team of course!
  • There is a magnitude of programs and support out there for you to take advantage of. Don’t let them slip away! Very few entrepreneurs are aware of the different embassy resources. Very often you’ll see that they organize international missions or events that might be valuable to you, free of charge.
  • Pay a lot of attention to your team and diversity of talent. It’s the people who do the job, not the idea itself!
  • Once you show success, everyone wants to be your friend. Make sure that you look at mutual value and benefits, as well as how people make a positive difference to you and your business. Take this into consideration before you commit to someone!
  • Company culture is not about free food and nap pods, etc. but it’s about accountability and achieving a common goal. Getting people aligned towards a common goal is the strongest and most important connection within your organization.
  • It’s very important to realize that a great business should be independent of any individual. CEO of Kitewire Jere Simpson even made employees go on a forced sabbatical for 3 months to see whether the business still thrives without them. Only then your business is really healthy. Of course it’s important to have the right people for the job, but it’s even more important for the business to not rely on an individual itself.
  • Be as flexible as you possibly can, because you’ll get a lot of resistance, even from your customers. People don’t like chance, and they’ll very much resist it in the beginning, regardless of the benefits. If you’re flexible, you’ll be able to co-create a solution that bypasses that resistance, resulting in faster success.

We’re heading down to the Virginia Tech Campus in Blacksburg for the remaining 6 days, so stay tuned for regular updates from now on!

Let’s finish up with these 2 quotes from yesterday:

  • “Work with people that don’t freak out when you mess up”
  • “Success is where a lot of hard work and luck have a date”

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