A Day in the Life of a Co-creative Entrepreneur
I am a member of Co-Crea-Te; a free, innovative public space for entrepreneur-based collaboration in València and a pilot of the CoSIE H2020 project. The ideas, knowledge and experiences of its users come together in order to create synergies to develop projects that will culminate in the creation of new companies and business initiatives. Currently more than 160 members with over 90 projects come here armed with dreams and aspirations of forming a successful startup. Many entrepreneurs arrive at Co-Crea-Te with fear, uncertainty, expectation, disorientation and with very little training but with the desire to live this dream called entrepreneurship. In order for you to understand and imagine what Co-Crea-Te is and its community, here is a brief description of my day-to-day life as an entrepreneur.
I make the most of my time, so while I’m on the bus to Co-Crea-Te, I check my social networks. Engrossed in my tweeting and instagramming, I miss the stop and end up doing the bus route till the end, so you can imagine how long it takes me to get there!
When I arrive, of course, I can’t miss out on my usual morning coffee, and this is where my day really starts, checking my emails and my schedule with activities planned the night before. I start with my project at the point where I left off the previous day. In the course of the morning, a few doubts begin to appear in my mind. I realise I need the technical advice of a mentor to be able to advance. Unfortunately, the technicians are meeting other colleagues who had previous appointments, so I have to wait my turn. Sometimes this can take hours, or in the worst case I have to wait till the next day. Faced with these unforeseen events, which fortunately are not so common, I take the opportunity to make some calls that I have scheduled and / or take a break with another coffee in the kitchen area. Here I comment my doubts with a fellow entrepreneur, who helps me with a possible solution.
In all honesty, those moments when entrepreneurs meet in the kitchen area is when co-creation flows most fluidly, since you realize that 45 minutes have gone by and you realise you’ve practically solved all your doubts and concerns. There is an exchange of knowledge and experiences that can be invaluable. When I come back from the kitchen, I see a mentor leaving the room, so I explain my doubts and concerns. The mentor offers me his knowledge, his experience and point of view, thus managing to solve some of my issues. In addition, the technician refers me to a colleague to talk about the points we have in common, and how we could help each other. I return to work on my project and apply the suggestions received, both from the technician and from my fellow entrepreneur.
The time for a workshop on design thinking is approaching. I consider the workshops given here to be very useful for the development of my project, offered mostly by other entrepreneur specialized in that discipline and at no personal gain, committing valuable time to informing others. However, many colleagues do not turn up to the workshops… could it be that we don’t value things that are free? After the workshop, during which I take copious notes to apply to parts of my project, it’s lunchtime. In the kitchen, I coincide with several colleagues in an environment of cultural diversity. During the meal, we discuss different topics, such as the business pitch, which we practice on Thursdays, rehearsing the best way to present our project, or we talk about the ideas we can discuss in the ideas jam on Tuesdays, where we collaborate by providing ideas, experiences and opinions to improve the various projects.
There are so many issues and conversations that we have in the space, and someone suggests that we propose it to the Open Forum, where the whole community meets every Friday over a light lunch. We write the idea on a post-it note and paste it on the suggestions board, waiting for the decision and vote of the majority next Friday. Among many topics that we share at mealtimes, we often talk about our different customs and cultures, as the colleagues in the space are from a multi-ethnic background, and this is how we have managed to integrate better and get to know each other more.
At the end of the day, I feel satisfied that I have reached my goals for that day, and have helped others to achieve theirs. After an intense day, some technicians and entrepreneurs meet to have a beer and talk about the “immortality of the crab” .
That’s how I spend my days in Co-Crea-Te; days that little by little calm my anxiety, fear and uncertainty that plagued me 5 months ago. Thanks to the mentors, despite there only being 3 directly involved in the activities of each of the 170 entrepreneurs, and despite their absences for travel reasons, have helped me to have more confidence, security and clarity on where I am going and how. Thanks also to the co-creation among all the members of the space that day by day, and through the different activities that we organise, have managed to minimise these feelings that are common for any entrepreneur.
Co-creation is the new and the old that arrived in Valencia, and it is here to stay, because it has been shown to work, that it can and is necessary for citizens. However, it takes more resources, more commitment and a lot of participation from companies, and greater will and interest from the regional government.
Writers: Maribel Alfonzo from MarysMarketingLogbook, Josep Félix from CybersecurityValencia and Marco Geri from BonTrypTravel
Writers are all members of Co-Crea-Te València.