On February 17-18, the third Biz4all offline training was held, offering the participants a chance to spend two days practicing their interviewing skills, pitching and listening to their customers. They also created a portrait of their ideal customer.
Biz4all-2 training is organized within the framework of the “Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” programme organized by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with the TNU Network University (Netherlands) with financial support from the European Union. You can read more about the programme launch and its first trainings on our website:
- Social Entrepreneurship Training Programme Biz4all-2: problem = opportunity
- Social Entrepreneurship Training Programme Biz4all-2: Change is Your Friend
- Social Entrepreneurship Training Programme Biz4all-2: Diaspora Representatives and Graduates
In the beginning of the first day, the participants analyzed their home assignments to each module of the programme. “The tasks have no right or wrong answers, you need to understand the topic of the module and complete your assignments, trying to assess the needs of your customers. When we give you a mark, we assess how much efforts you made, whether you have kept the logic and what results you got”, explained Maksim Padbiarozkin, manager of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” project in Belarus.
Maksim Padbiarozkin, manager of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” project in Belarus, at the Biz4all-2 training in Minsk on February 17-18, 2018
According to a new tradition, each day of the training begins with the teams presenting their projects in order to practice their pitching skills. This helps them not only to hone their skills for final pitches before potential investors, but also present their idea to other course participants, find potential synergies or even potential clients.
|Project “Babushkin Chesnok” (“Grandma’s Garlic”): fruit and vegetable bouquets made with produce grown by elderly people||Organic farming cluster|
|An eco tour agency “Pohod v Narod” (“Folk to Walk”)||Natural agriculture centre “Siyaniye” (“Shining”)|
The previous stage of the training included problem interviewing sessions. The teams planned and organized interviews trying to find out whether people actually had the problem they identified. The training on February 17-18 was dedicated to solution-oriented interviewing.
Masha Charakova, social entrepreneur from the Netherlands and ODB consultant within the social entrepreneurship programme: “Problem-oriented interviews have already been partially conducted, and the teams have already tested if their customers actually have the problem they envisioned. I will repeat this many times, because this is important: the most important question we should pose is whether we need to create this product (service). Not whether we can but whether we should — there is a big difference”.
Masha Charakova, social entrepreneur from the Netherlands, trainer of the Biz4all-2 programme at the training in Minsk on February 17-18, 2018
Then they went on to consider their product demos. This is an especially important point for the teams who do not have anything to show yet. Masha notes: “When you organize a solution-oriented interview, it is important to show customers what your product (service) is going to look like. People are very visual. Before setting up a new business, you have to organize a lot of interviews, in order to understand whether your great idea is going to work. Sometimes, your problem interview shows that a problem is urgent, while a solution-oriented interview proves that a product or service (a solution) you offer actually is not going to be in demand”.
Participants of the second social entrepreneurship school Biz4all-2 at the training in Minsk on February 17-18, 2018
Masha spoke to the teams about her personal experience, when she had an idea to set up a kindergarten for freelancer parents in the Netherlands. The country has many regular kindergartens and nurseries, because maternal leave only lasts for 3 months. Masha thought that the schedule of an ordinary kindergarten is not going to be convenient for parents who are freelancers. She held a problem-oriented interview and learnt that there is a need for a flexible-schedule nursery. However, when she did a solution-oriented interview, it turned out that freelancer parents are not ready to take their children to a flexible-schedule kindergarten or a nursery, because they are already in the queue for a place in a traditional kindergarten and are cautious about losing it, and they also want to give their kid more stability that a fixed schedule can provide. Thus, the interviews helped her understand that the target audience were not parents who had kids already but those who were only just expecting or planning to have a child. A more in-depth survey of this target group also revealed that these future parents also prefer nurseries with fixed hours, putting the interests of their children first.
Changing the world starts from your own dream
At the end of the first day of the Biz4all-2 training the participants heard from a special guest Rindert de Groot, master of entrepreneurship from the University of Amsterdam, entrepreneur and researcher in “Studio Zeitgeist” (Netherlands).
Rindert de Groot, Master of Entrepreneurship from the University of Amsterdam, entrepreneur and researcher in “Studio Zeitgeist" (Netherlands) at the Biz4all-2 training in Minsk on February 17-18, 2018
It was his first public presentation in Russian, and he provided the teams with important tips on entrepreneurship and leadership:
- Don’t take no for an answer: ask again. Convince. Stand your ground.
- Make sure that you have a social group to support you in your entrepreneurial endeavours. In life, you sometimes walk alone, but in entrepreneurship, you must walk together or you are bound to fall off a cliff.
- Never forget your dream. If it is achievable or not, that is totally besides the point. The point is if you believe in it personally. You may want to build in a reality check by loved ones along the way, who may steer you off a certain course, and redirect you somewhere else when needed. But believe me, if you are a real entrepreneur, guidance often won’t help, and you will have to take all these painful hits by yourself.
|Marina Gaevskaya, a certified trainer of the Council of Europe, Master of Economic Sciences, author and leader of 7 social and economic projects|
On the second day of the training, the participants worked on a portrait of an ideal customer under the guidance of Marina Gaevskaya, a certified trainer of the Council of Europe, Master of Economic Sciences, author and leader of 7 social and economic projects supported by the EU, the World Bank, the International Children's Fund, ISAR Inc. non-profit corporation branch and small the Small Grants Program of the US Embassy. Marina has 15 years of business consulting experience, 7 years of working as a trainer both in Belarus and abroad, she organized more than 500 trainings and authored the “Entrepreneur’s Guide”.
After drawing up the portrait of an ideal customer, participants were divided into small groups again to practice their interviewing skills and test their demo version of a product (service) on their colleagues.
Text by: Valeriya Nikalaichyk
Photo by: Anzhelika Grakovich
|The goal of the programme is to develop a package of social entrepreneurship training programmes in Russian using innovative international practices, as well as the experience of Belarusian diaspora representatives who have become successful entrepreneurs in European Union countries and the USA.|
The material was prepared within the framework of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator", implemented by ODB Brussels in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands), Belarusian Youth Public Union "New Faces" and International Civil Association "Union of Belarusian of the world “Motherland", with support from the European Union.