UrFU held the business game ‘Build a company. Sell the company’ and a lecture by Denis Kovalevich
Photo: Ilia Safarov
The business game ‘Build a company. Sell the company’ took place at Model Factory on December 18. And on December 19, Denis Kovalevich, CEO of the TechnoSpark Group of Companies, told about serial creation of technology startups in the context of huge deficit of entrepreneurs and projects. These events provided by TechnoSpark School of Technology Entrepreneurship were initiated by the Ural Federal University Innovative System.
— Denis Kovalevich is a key expert in the Russian technology entrepreneurship. A deep dive into the range of issues of the technology entrepreneurship, a chance to learn more about the Russian and global challenges and trends, a possibility to try yourself as a tech entrepreneur, even if in the game, and get the firsthand answers to many questions of high interest – all these comprise valuable experience. Shining eyes of the auditorium confirmed that the information was useful and of high interest, – shared UrFU First Vice-Rector Deputy Nadezhda Terlyiga.
The business game ‘Build a company. Sell the company’, which is a tech entrepreneurship simulator, attracted about 90 students and employees from nine UrFU institutes. The players built engineering structures, established businesses (startups), had economic relations with other economic participants. The game ‘Build a company. Sell the company’ is the main teaching tool in the TechnoSpark School of Technology Entrepreneurship. Over the ten hours of the intensive session that unfolded a scenario which in the real time would have taken years, the participants took on the role of the technology entrepreneurs and tested their interest, self-motivation, discipline and determination. Thirty-six most efficient and ambitious players reached the final. According to the organisers, this is quite large number.
— What is the most difficult in the game is to get rid of stereotypes imposed through various innovation communication channels and to get away from the patterned actions. The myth of indisputable value of the team represents one of the stereotypes, which is extremely difficult to overcome. Indeed, the social bonds, friendship and teamwork are important. But just like the life, the game requires quick maneuvers and fast decision-making. The teamwork slows down these processes: figuratively speaking, the team is chasing the ball in a crowd. In the real life, a startup having 3-4 founders and 5-6 employees usually does not enjoy great success. A successful startup consumes 50% of the time of ONE entrepreneur and the efforts of 1-2 employees. Many participants did not understand this until nearly the end of the game when they did not have time for any restructures, – told Anna Yelashkina, Director of TEN.Education, TechnoSpark School of Technology Entrepreneurship.
Anna Yelashkina mentioned another stereotype usually common to the educational community – the approach to create a startup based on an invention. This does not always lead to success.
— A lot of players managed to get rid of this stereotype. The final distinguished some obvious leaders who successfully sold their companies. Some of the players missed the investment opportunities and ended up with a deeply negative balance. This does not mean they lost. They were very active, took a lot of risks and had the game been longer, they would have had a chance to exploit their new experience and retrieve the losses — Anna Yelashkina noticed.
The lecture of Denis Kovalevich provided some explanations on how it all works in the world of the technology entrepreneurship.
— We had been trying to understand and to take on the form of the life which was full of risk, drive and yearn for some result; a fail was considered as a challenge rather than “the last day of Pompeii”. When I was just starting my tech entrepreneurship, I had a useful talk with an investor. I asked him why the attempts to start mass launch of the technology innovations had no success in Russia. The answer was: “You are afraid of making a mistake and then think for too long how to avoid it in the future.” We should learn from the mistakes, — Sergey Kortov, UrFU First Vice-Rector added.
In his turn, Denis Kovalevich told the audience about the innovative process in Russia and in the world. His lecture was based on the experience of building over a hundred of startups in TechnoSpark and on his knowledge of the abroad practices including those used in KU Leuven and Cambridge Cluster.
— Different forms of innovation development have been tried and tested over the last 20 years: incubators, accelerators, mentoring, etc. It is time to admit that they all do not work the way we have assumed. Statistics shows that the efficiency of these forms is unacceptably low. In my lecture I told about the reasons. I would recommend the universities to look for and to try new forms, to find a compromise between the academism, depth of the subjects and the real economics, to interact with the business as per the rules of the business. This task is serious and requires as much creativity as require the studies and experiments in the science, — Denis Kovalevich summed up.
The rating of the Association of Clusters and Technology Parks of Russia recognises TechnoSpark as the most efficient technology park of the country for the fourth year in a raw. TechnoSpark builds the technology businesses and prepares them for selling. A company as a product of a startup factory is a new type of the entrepreneurship. It appeared in the 80th of the last century in Europe and became one of the major types in the Russian venture network.
Source: Website of Ural Federal University
Date: December 24, 2019