Latvian Best Agers Learn About Entrepreneurship
On 16 April 2012, 20 Best Agers from Riga and Latvian regions gathered at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga for the first day of the pilot course “Entrepreneurship for Best Agers”.
When applying for the course, potential participants were asked to describe their business ideas and their previous experiences. And who says that only young people can have great ideas?! Latvian Best Agers are willing to pursue business ventures in various areas - from more traditional businesses such as making souvenirs, manufacturing furniture, and bee-keeping - to ideas related to e-commerce, an oxygen bar, water tourism, and poultry farming. Many of the applicants said that they have the resources (real estate, previous work experience and know-how, a network of contacts, etc.) for starting their businesses, but lack the necessary knowledge.
On the first day, participants learned about the importance ofcreative thinking to success as an entrepreneur, team building, and networking. The next day, they concentrated on very practical, step-by-step development of a business plan – a pre-condition for talking to a bank or a potential investor. When evaluating the first module, course participants said that they really appreciated the practical examples and ideas that could be implemented in real life. Best Agers also appreciated the discussions during class that gave them an opportunity to communicate and to learn about each other’s experiences, and the lectures that stressed the importance of networking in building up one’s business. All course participants received a copy of the “Guide for New Entrepreneurs” - a vey practical guidebook for starting a business in Latvia, published within the Best Agers project.
Participants will meet again in May to learn about team building and the specifics of human resource management in a small company. The other modules included in the course programme are Effective Presentations, Marketing and Sales, the Basics of Financial Management, and Strategic Management. In all modules, emphasis is put on adapting the contents to the specific situation of start-ups, and lecturers combine theoretical knowledge with real-life examples. Participants are also required to work in groups for different assignments, which allows them to use their experiences and to learn from others.