by Johnn Four
Do you have a plan for changing the world? It’s time to learn how to DO it! Romy Kraemer is one of the instructors at iversity’s new spring course, The DO School Start-Up Lab. This course helps people who want to change the world with their idea or passion learn how to bootstrap a startup and take it to the finish line. I spoke with Romy to discover more about this fascinating program.
An Interview with Romy Kraemer
Johnn: Hi Romy, thanks for speaking with me today. Your new course sounds very exciting, but the thought of starting up a new business is scary. How do I know if I’m the right kind of person to do something like this? How do I know if I’m an entrepreneur?
Romy: People aren’t born as entrepreneurs, that’s one of our founding beliefs at the DO School. Katherin, CEO of the DO School Inc. in New York, has also talked about this elsewhere and shared her own story of becoming a founding member of the DO School.
Entrepreneurship can be learned, and real-world experience and practice is the key to this. That’s why we support emerging entrepreneurs in the process of turning their ideas into social ventures that create real impact. Of course, there are context and cultural factors that encourage or discourage entrepreneurial activity. There are also individual differences, for example in risk-taking behavior. However, even a person for whom the thought of starting their own venture sounded scary a year ago might still do so. I believe this decision has much to do with a specific challenge or issue in a person’s environment that is important to them and motivates them to take action.
All of our young entrepreneurs are passionate about a specific topic they want to tackle in their country or community, or about an opportunity they want to address. Once you support young people to discover their passion and identify a specific entrepreneurial opportunity within this field, the setting up of a venture or project seems natural and not scary at all anymore for most of them.
So instead of asking yourself whether you are a born entrepreneur, ask yourself what you’re burning for, what keeps you up at night, and what you could talk about forever to your friends. This might be the first step in discovering your potential as an entrepreneur.
Johnn: I like that approach. Figure out your passion first, then worry about execution. That’s smart. Would the program be valuable to people interested in adding a social component to their existing business or project?
Romy: While the course is targeted at first-time entrepreneurs, it would definitely also be a good inspiration for those thinking about how to add societal value to an existing venture. Especially the second chapter, which covers the topic of adding value to society and your own life through your venture.
Johnn: Ok, but what if I do not have a concrete idea for a business yet, but have a strong entrepreneurial desire? Will I still get benefits from taking the course?
Romy: Yes, for sure. Especially the first two chapters and associated worksheets, which will ask a whole lot of relevant questions and offer tools to brainstorm and focus your ideas and thoughts. So if you have some sort of direction or topic you feel passionate about and would like to see whether you can come up with a viable idea, take the course and let us know what happened in the process. It should also be very inspiring for participants to connect to other course participants who are maybe a bit further in their thinking about their venture ideas.
Johnn: Do I need any specific technical skills to apply what I’ll learn in the course?
Romy: There are no technical skills required. However, what you will need is the willingness to go out and actually DO things – whether this is doing research with your target group or about your legal context, or soliciting feedback from others about your qualities as a leader. Again, the thing you need is a passion for a topic or field in which you want to set up your venture and the motivation to get active.
Johnn: What are your hopes and dreams for The DO School Start-Up Lab?
Romy: We developed the course with the goal of making available the experience of our large network of experts and Fellows to support more emerging entrepreneurs around the world in setting up ventures with a positive societal impact.
I hope the course will be an inspiration and resource for people who want to take action in their communities. It will also foster connection and exchange between participants to discuss country or topic specific issues in relation to their ventures.
Johnn: Well, the The DO School is definitely inspiring to me. Thanks for taking time away from teaching this extraordinary course to chat with me, Romy.
Dear reader, if you want to make a difference in the world but aren’t sure how to make your passion or idea reality, consider enrolling in The DO School Start-Up Lab. It’s free to enrol, but you will be spending something much more precious than money to succeed – your time. With amazing instructors like Romy, you really can become an important agent of change in your community, whether that community for you is your home town or the world.