MIND student training at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

In the frame of MIND’s Work Package related to training, a delegation of six students and two coordinators from Kyrgyz National University and Osh Technological University (from Kyrguistan) visited Las Palmas University from the 1st to the 5th of October 2018.

The training included personal coaching related to each of the students business plans and visits to companies related to the activity that each entrepreneur wants to start up.

The first day, the students and coordinators were received by the Vice-rector of Internationalisation and Cooperation (Richard Clouet), the Director of Cooperation (Javier de León), the project’s main researcher, Juan Antonio Jiménez and ULPGC professor Francisco López, who is also supporting the project since June 2018, as well as the project’s coordinator, Amaya Blanco.

Afterwards, the students presented their business plans and received feedback about their feasibility from business expert Francisco Cárdenes.

During the second day of the training, two visits were held. The first one was to the Scientific and Technological Park Foundation (SPEGC), where the students were given two talks, one by the staff of the Foundation and another one by an entrepreneur specialised in tourism and development. The students were able to ask questions and learn from the entrepreneur’s experience.

The group also did a tour through the facilities of the Scientific and Technological Park and visited the App Development Agency, Squaad.

 

 

The second visit was held in the Society for the Economic Promotion of Gran Canaria, where the students could learn from the experience of another entrepreneur who came specially from Tenerife to talk to them about the most usual errors in entrepreneurship. Aspects like the Minimum Viable Product were addressed and happened to be key in the students’ apprenticeship.

As two of the students are going to start up a travel agency in Kirsguistan, the group visited a travel agency in Las Palmas on their second day in this city, where its CEO gave a long and interesting talk about all the aspects that should be taken into consideration when setting up a business in general, and a tourist agency in particular. The talk was very inspiring for them all and the people from the travel agency were very hospitable.

In the afternoon, the group visited the bakery company Bimbo, in order to give advice to the student who is going to open a bakery herself.

Although Bimbo is a very big factory, they opened their doors to the students and explained to them how they organise their logistics and how they innovate constantly to be able to compete in the global and local market. After the training visit, the group also had a touristic visit to the dunes of Maspalomas.

On the 4th of October, as one of the students wants to open a University residency, we visited Las Palmas University’s residency, where one of its managers made a guided tour through the residency, explaining its functioning and showing the facilities.

Afterwards the group went to their offices and were able to see the apps used for organising all the issues that are raised at the residency by students, and could make questions and get ideas for their projects. Later on, the group visited INFECAR (Canarian Fair Institution) in order to meet Fernando García, an entrepreneur specialised in app development.

This talk had a special impact on the students because the entrepreneur talked about life lessons obtained after hard effort and difficult decisions.

The last visit was organised for supporting a student who wants to provide local peasants product and supply. Therefore, we visited Mercalaspalmas, the biggest supplier market in Gran Canaria, where the group had a theoretical introduction followed by a tour guide through the market.

The training ended up with an evaluation session with business expert Pepe Cárdenes at the Rectorate Building, in which the students valued the lessons learnt and tried to apply it to their projects.

They all highlighted the great motivation that this training had given them for going back and starting their business. Through the training they were able to understand the importance of loving what you do, of hard work and of innovation. They also understood failure, not as the end of the process but as an inherent part of it.

The training gave them different kinds of knowledge, as they all got to visit a company similar to what they want to start up in their country, but also learnt in general about management, logistics, human resources, motivation, etc.

In just one week their business ideas evolved considerably and they introduced new elements like risk prevision or minimum viable products.

The personal and ethical value as entrepreneurs was also highlighted as very important.

On the other hand, the coordinators also valued the training as very fruitful and motivating. Therefore, they will keep on supporting the students for them to be successful in their businesses.