After 5 months of acting as the Community Manager of Xes Helsinki, an entrepreneurship society headquartered at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, I have gathered my key learnings and observations about the important role they play in our society:
- They are not only for entrepreneurs
Generally speaking, entrepreneurship societies are non-profit, usually student-run organizations that aim to be a supporting community for people with an entrepreneurial mindset. In order to become part of these societies, you don’t need to have your business up and running, nor do you need to have a killer business idea. Being curious is enough. If you, in addition, like to come up with new ways to solve problems and feel the constant need to improve your skills, you will fit in just fine.In other words, entrepreneurship is not only about doing business. It is also a mindset that innovates new solutions and takes continuous action on ideas. If you have this spirit, entrepreneurship societies are for you!
- They provide you with skills and competences that you don’t get from school
All ES’s have their own ways to support their members, but most of them have at least one educational program or event amongst their offerings. Xes Helsinki organizes weekly community events, called “Testing Tuesdays”. These are free, public events that usually come to life in the form of educational workshops about distinct topics. Last year, I attended workshops where I got introduced to the world of cryptocurrency and coaching. I also learned about how to boost my networking skills, how to be a better leader and how to invest in startups. These are skills, rarely or not at all, taught in universities. By attending workshops and events of ES’s, you can gain and practice important life skills that you benefit from, regardless of your background and experience.
- They are testbeds
During the past 5 months, I attended several pitching events hosted by Xes Helsinki and Haaga-Helia Startup School. These are informal gatherings where besides Startup School students presenting their business concepts, anyone else can drop-in and pitch their business ideas to the audience. What I love about these occasions is that there are no investors, no judges and zero money at stake, which means it’s a safe environment for pitchers to experiment and test ideas. Most of the time the audience represents different generations, cultures and industries and thus, provides diverse input and feedback to the future entrepreneurs.
- They create the feeling of belonging
The most important thing I gained through entrepreneurship societies was professional networks and great friends. When I moved to Helsinki as an expat, I was struggling to find meaningful connections and events that are beyond hanging out and having fun. I was hungry to learn and meet people outside of my school, but attending seminars and conferences was way out of my budget. Finding Xes and its free offerings was very valuable for me, and for many other people who join our weekly gatherings because of the networking and social experience.
Entrepreneurship societies play an important role in the startup ecosystem, by creating communities and meaningful connections between people and organizations. They provide a platform for enthusiastic and ambitious talents to try out their wings, test their ideas, and boost their future growth with skills and competences that they wouldn’t gain elsewhere.
If you feel you have a curious, entrepreneurial mindset and you would like to be part of a supportive community I encourage you to reach out to Xes or the entrepreneurship society of your choice and start getting active. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.