In today’s competitive job market, young people need a combination of skills. They are obtaining hard skills at the university. However, they need to be complemented by a set of soft skills, like the ability to work in a team, and personality traits, like passion. Such virtues are not discouraged by companies and strongly add to the general occupational requirements. Young people need to understand the functioning and the dynamics of the companies and they are welcome to bring their fresh ideas and then try to adapt to the company’s culture, in order to create a win-win situation.
Very often young people leave university and this is when they discover the world of the enterprise and the employer for the first time. However, that is already too late. They need to take advantage of any kind of opportunity like the “Spark.IT” entrepreneurship camp, provided by an enterprise like Microsoft or by other top brands on the market. The participants of Spark.IT benefited greatly from this initiative, as they were encouraged to work in teams, exchange ideas and challenge themselves, which does not always happen at university.
In addition, the young entrepreneurs were exposed to advanced technologies and faced the latest coding solutions of Microsoft – like project Siena, helping them to create business applications for their new ventures. Enhancing their digital skills in such entrepreneurial direction will increase their productivity, give them an invaluable competitive advantage in the future, put them ahead in the digital market space and allow them to broaden the impact of their ventures.
There are only a few things more exciting than changing the world.
Talking about young entrepreneurs and my motivation to support and work with them – there are only a few things more exciting than changing the world. And who is changing the world today is not so much the science itself but it is also the people making use of it, those people transforming their ideas into business. These young people are the ones who will bring answers to environmental problems and issues with aging population. There are only a few things more inspiring than seeing these young motivated people develop great skills, helping them create the world of tomorrow.
My advice to European youth:
- Do good studies – go to a good university, do good courses and go to the end of your studies.
- Never stop studying, keep your passion, dare and take some risks. If you have a dream, don’t give up – achieving your dreams starts with little steps.
- Look for happiness within your work place. If that is not the case, you need to go elsewhere.
The voices of the young Spark.IT participants:
Antoine Dewit, Master in Management, Solvay Business School
“Spark.IT taught me several useful skills, among which to give impressive presentations, convince the audience of the added value of my product and have confidence in my ideas and be perseverant. Finally, I got a grasp of some fascinating projects Microsoft is working on, such as project Siena, which is going to bring coding everywhere thanks to its easiness. Initiatives such as Spark.IT are very useful for young people as we get a sense of entrepreneurship and know that great companies such as Microsoft are also there to support our initiatives. Finally, they might end up sparking new ideas!”
Christian Essomba, Condorcet High-school, Mons, Member of “ Elembo ” young enterprise
“I went beyond the definition of a ‘Business Model’ and understood the importance of the business strategy over the long term. I understood it’s very important to protect our ideas and the session on intellectual property was really interesting. I found building my first application with project Siena very difficult as this was my first coding experience but I downloaded it at home and I want to improve myself. Initiatives like Spark.IT are very important to open young people’s mind and be closer to the world of entrepreneurship.”
Alexandre van Oldeneel, Master student at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management
“Spark.IT Entrepreneurship Camp was an amazing experience full of useful tips on how to tackle issues that every entrepreneur is going to face during his long journey – building business model, pitching, protecting their intellectual property and building a business application. Thanks to amazing experts that are sharing their knowledge and experience, every participant was able to ask specific questions related to their concerns and learn.”
Thomas Vanhees, Student Industrial Engineering, University of Antwerp
“The Spark.IT initiative is a perfect match with the Small Business Project we have been working on the past year. A very open environment where excellent speakers and active participants create a dynamic that really encourages you to start-up. If our team had had this input during the project I am convinced our product would look different. Not being initiated into the wonders of IT before, it was an interesting welcome to see how Microsoft is bringing to creating an app as close to non-technical people as possible. That was a wonderful experience for enthusiasts who want to act now! It was like an introduction to an operating system for entrepreneurship.”