I woke up 5:30am EST. Yes, after not getting to sleep until 12:30am, I should still be sleeping; however, my sleeping pattern from Moscow won’t let me. (Note: I used sleeping pattern vs. jetlag)
In my previous post, I mentioned taking a two hour nap prior to writing the post. Afterwards, I showered, dressed and went out with a colleague for dinner, then walked around the city– our hotel was located just a ten minute walk from the Kremlin. The city is beautiful ! Did I mention the sun can still be seen until midnight and it rises again around 3am ?? You try sleeping through that. I ended up taking 2 hour naps twice a day, every day I was there.
The Kremlin and Red Square (“Beautiful Square”)… so breathtaking and full of history. In my next post, I will post pictures.
Anyways, the conference was absolutely amazing. The Global Innovation Labs set up the event at Moscow State University, the top university in Russia, and entrepreneurs came for the four-day conference. Throughout the conference, Roy Rodenstein of Hacker Angels, Alan Lucas of MassMedic Angels, Martin Long, a mentor at MassChallenge, and I spoke about how to raise funds to start one’s company, IP protection, creating term sheets and engaging government for assistance. It was obvious that the attendees were thirsty for knowledge. They were even given the chance to pitch their ideas and business plans. Throughout the four days, we assisted them in listening to their pitches and suggesting how they can improve their pitch and business model. By the last day, 5 finalists were chosen as winners of the Founders Bootcamp and we gave them our feedback for the last time as they pitched their startup with our suggestions.
You never know how lucky you are to live in a supportive environment until you visit another area of the world that either doesn’t have it or is very weak. During my panel on the “Global Innovation Ecosystem”, Russian government representatives and I were questioned about what we do, what we represent, and how the audience could contact us for the programs we offer to entrepreneurs and businesses. Massachusetts is home to so many governmental programs and communities that help other entrepreneurs and businesses win. Private / public partnerships are what we support to make this happen. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Russian government or even Silicon Valley, for that matter. (Yes, I know Silicon Valley was established originally by government support, but no longer– private entities are what fuels Silicon Valley now). After answering the questions I was asked, it was clear the attendees wanted to hear no more about what Massachusetts offered, but how their own government, the Russian government, ccould help them in the future. My opinion on this matter was gathered from speaking to the attendees and their feedback of the conference.
Neither the Russian government nor the entrepreneurs can be blamed for the poor connection in promoting programs and accessing resources to help the business people succeed. For one of my answers, I mentioned how interconnected the world was and how one cannot fully rely on government to support one’s business– entrepreneurs have to build a community to help each other and from there, the support from both the private and public side will strengthen. The Russian government currently has programs in place, though, MAJOR changes are still needed. By collectively working together, Russia’s dream of maybe creating “Silicon Valley” or “Boston” may become a reality. I know that the Russian government is working hard to improve their programs and their ways of engaging the entrepreneurs; however, change doesn’t happen overnight.
From this experience, I observed how incredibly driven and passionate the attendees were. What I love most about entrepreneurs is that if there is a problem, they want to solve it and are convinced their product / idea is the answer. From day one to day four of the conference, they improved their presentations so much so that we were convinced a few of them were ready to go. I enjoyed meeting and working with the attendees and I admire their drive and passion for their business.
This post is dedicated to Igor Balk of the Global Innovation Labs for organizing such a successful conference and to the attendees– God speed! I believe I speak on behalf of Roy, Alan, and Martin when I say we feel honored in knowing we made a difference in the lives of those who attended the conference. Thanks to Igor and the other Muscovites who showed us how amazing the city is. Очень приятно. Большое спасибо ! I hope to visit again one day.
Also, you can follow what we did during the conference via my Twitter @MCLampaSays #GlobalInnovationLabs.
For more information on the conference, please see: http://www.innovationlabs.net/founders-bootcamp/