Entrepreneurship is one of IE´s pillars as a leading higher education institution in the world. We celebrate the bright minds that shape the world with their vision and creativity while giving them a space to face all adversity and challenges that involve venturing into the business world. IE is especially keen on the development of the entrepreneur, and I believe that it is also a magnet for people with the so-called “entrepreneurial spirit”.
I found myself fascinated by the idea. Could I discover similarities between these students regarding personality, mentality, stories, or philosophy? I had the fortune to interview three students currently running their businesses. Each of them was very different on a superficial level, but it was clear that they had some profound resemblance that led them to pursue creation and purpose through their businesses.
My first interviewee was Joy Saade. She is from Lebanon and is currently studying in Segovia. Joy runs a business dedicated to making large collages with pictures and quotes for decoration. The company is brilliantly called “Crafts Collages”. She used to operate in her home country and intends to re-launch the business. I asked how she began her venture, Joy said: “I just saw a TikTok of a girl doing crafts using Photoshop. I thought it was kind of cool. So I kind of went to the bathroom and there the name came to me and I did designs”.
Throughout the conversation, we talked about her business as a whole. I was deeply captivated by her focus on her craft. Rather than seeing her business as a simple money printer, she dedicates her energy to delivering something meaningful for her and her customers. She goes over the creation process with her clients to make sure that what they envision is created with the utmost detail, making for a product that makes them and Joy proud.
Another aspect of Joy that I admired was her commitment to delivering the projects. One Christmas, she had around ten orders from the same client. It was her last year of school and she had other plans for her vacation, yet she worked instead of attending family dinners. The sacrifice paid off, and she successfully delivered ten unforgettable Christmas gifts and now recalls the event as a learning experience. Finally, I asked her to give some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Once you have something in mind, explore it, and don’t be afraid to start it, even if it doesn’t work out. You’ll have gained so much knowledge from that already, which can help you if you want to start something new”.
My second interviewee was Elias Monferrer from Morocco. He is a BBA and Design student, and he currently runs a sunglasses e-boutique called Simi Boutique. He aspires to create his clothing line soon. I asked how he came up with that idea. “It was the most random thing ever. The day before my flight to Madrid, I was sitting in my bed with my best friend. We were just discussing business ideas and random stuff, like 3:00 AM talks. We started talking about sunglasses and it hit me. It was a blue market with pretty much no competition whatsoever. It was easy to get into and like manufacturing of sunglasses is not expensive. And so I thought it would be great like a business”.
Elias was particularly strategic in his vision for his business. We discussed his marketing plan for the upcoming months, possible new ways of selling his sunglasses through events, and mostly his preparations for summer, which will be a high season for his company. He unraveled his ideas effortlessly, emitting a strong sense of confidence and optimism.
Before we parted ways, I asked him for advice for those trying to start a company. “When you want to start something new, you always put all these barriers in front of you. You’re like: oh, this is gonna be an issue, and this is gonna be an issue. It just sums. Then, you just give up. But the thing is when you get through the first one, the second one, and the third one, everything in front of you turns so much easier.”
My final interviewee was Rebecca Nonal from Los Angeles. She is currently running a digital marketing agency with her partner, called FWB Managements. They provide all sorts of services, including content creation, social media management, and influencer marketing.
“I was trying to figure out something to do for work. I just saw a bunch of social media management stuff all over the Internet and I was like: I kind of want to try it. I found an internship to get me started. And from there I was getting paid for virtual assistant stuff like that. After that, I did social media management, and I was like, I want to do more. And then I moved into digital marketing.”
Rebecca did not necessarily experience the eureka moment my other interviewees did while deciding how to start their businesses. On the other hand, she had a massive desire to create something on her own. This allowed her to slowly but surely find an idea she enjoyed working on.
This process, however, was discouraging at times. Her mentor gave her great words of encouragement when she felt lost: “ When you do good, like doing what you’re doing, and showing up with the passion that you have, everything else will come.” It seems that her mentor had a deep influence on her.
When I asked her for some advice at the end of the interview she said “I think putting in good work. If you have like right intention and it’s not just to make money or whatever. Work because you love it. Then you will get the results, that you want.”
What Makes an Entrepreneur?
I enjoyed interviewing three fascinating and distinct students. Their unique personalities made it easier for me to see what was similar between them, like contrasting colors in a large pallet. All of them shared a clear passion for their work. Although the three orbited toward creative businesses, I can think of many more entrepreneurs that showed a clear passion for their craft and ideas. They all shared a strong desire for creating something of their own.
Being passionate about your work does not necessarily push you to become an entrepreneur, but the desire for autonomy does. Having something you can call your own, that you can feel pride in, and that grows as a reflection of your development as a human seems to be the key ingredient for the “entrepreneurial spirit”.