Winner team of STARTERtallinn autumn 2020 was Paper Reborn. It’s leader Joanna talks about what she learned in program and how big was the role of mentors.
Where did the idea come from? How did you find your way to the STARTERtallinn program?
The idea first came to me in the August of 2020 and at first, it was somewhat different from what we presented in the finals. The inspiration for it came from my everyday life as an architecture student: we value paper materials as a means to help our ideas and visions come to life, but afterwards huge amounts of paper waste lose their value without being cleverly reused. In September, after some contemplating and research I then went to consult the project manager of the Research and Development Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts who suggested I join STARTERtallinn to acquire the basics of entrepreneurship and find a team to join me. Later on in the program he also became our mentor and I greatly appreciate that he advised me to take on this adventure of STARTERtallinn.
What are your next plans with the idea?
By today, our idea has already developed further and we are exploring several directions simultaneously because you never know, where a good opportunity might hide itself. Currently we are looking for possibilities both long-term in the research and development field as well as in product design to offer new solutions in the nearby future. Thanks to several prizes provided by the partners of STARTER we are certain that necessary guidance and support will be provided to our team.
Best advice you got from your mentors?
The very first advice I got from the mentor was to consider joining STARTERtallinn as a possibility to share my ideas and find like-minded people. He guaranteed that when you are confident, passionate and boldly audacious about your idea, it will be noticed straight away. I am very grateful for this very first push, because without it the idea might not have started to develop into reality.
Our mentor, Sven Idarand, had a big part in guiding us to the right direction, whether it was for new contacts or to define and design our system. At the beginning when the idea was quite general and the main focus was not clearly defined, he helped us decide which specific problem was worth prioritising and which was wise to keep for future plans. During the STARTERtallinn Speed Dating Mentoring event, we had a great opportunity to talk to several other mentors and get various feedback from representatives of different fields. If at first it may seem that controversial feedback brings more confusion than clarity, it really helped us to be more precise about our goals and think through nuances we would have not known to think of before.
Why take part in STARTER program in spring?
I think that fundamental entrepreneurship knowledge is necessary for everyone because more and more people call themselves entrepreneurs and do not define themselves by one specific field or profession. Whether you have your own idea or are inspired by someone else’s in the program, working through important topics practically and turning them into reality gives a lot more experience than hearing about them in lectures. Topics of intellectual property rights, team work, finances and taxes etc are something everyone might face in their future.
In STARTERtallinn you get valuable contacts to reach out to even after the program is over: your own teammates, other participants in different fields of expertise, mentors etc. This network developing during and after the program is an excellent way to broaden your horizons and knowledge.
The most important aspect of the STARTERtallinn experience for me was ignoring the fear of failing and not having the necessary knowledge, and just going for it against all doubts. The ideas worth working for are sometimes meant to be challenging but that input makes accomplishments through struggles and failures much more fulfilling. The hardest aspect for me in the program was definitely pitching my ideas. After being reminded that in fact, we pitch, i.e share our passion, with people every single day, either to convince a friend to join you in an activity or to advise them to reconsider a decision, it helped me rationalise my thoughts about the fear.
Do the creative industries and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand?
Creative fields/economy and entrepreneurship definitely go hand-in-hand, because as a creative person, you are single-handedly responsible for your own personal and career improvement, image as a creative person or brand visual, success etc. Being able to use your passion to make a living, especially in the creative fields, avoids the feeling of everyday routine and tedious work – you can face new challenges every single day and learn to cope with them. Entrepreneurship to me does not necessarily mean owning a business, but just to be active in taking on different challenges, generating ideas and discovering new directions for improvement.
Welcome to STARTER launch events:
STARTERtallinn LAUNCH EVENT
February 18th, 2021 at 14.00-18.00
TalTech Mektory (Raja 15, Tallinn), registration starts @13:30
STARTERtartu Idea Hackathon
February 18th at 16:00
UT Delta Centre (Narva mnt 18, Tartu)
STARTER@Kohtla-Järve Idea Hackathon
February 1th at 16:00
TalTech Virumaa College (Järveküla tee 75, Kohtla-Järve)
STARTERhaapsalu launch event
February 27th at 17:00-19:30
Tallinn University Haapsalu College (Lihula mnt 12)