2 | Akcees
Akcees | 3
Message for the readers (p 5)
One year of Akcees (p 7)
The people behind the projects
Akcees story: to be continued! (p 36)
One step further
Idea Exchange (p 10)
Start Me Up (p 26)
Entrepreneurship Trainee (p 22)
Skills and competences
Career Leader (p 18)
Weekend Seminar (p 14)
A distinct entrepreneurship school
2013 Calendar (p 38)
Diana David (p 10)
From Chile, with love
Vlad Tudose (p 28)
Vision and fashion
Denis TodiricÄ&#x192; (p 24)
Happiness as a lifestyle
Andreea Luiza Iovan (p 20)
Accesories with passion
MÄ&#x192;lina Iordache (p 16)
The guy from Puzzled.by
Bogdan Iordache (p32)
4 | Akcees
Innovation and technology in Bucharest
The Akcees Team (p 34)
Project after project
Bucharest Tech Feast (p 30)
Entrepreneurship out of passion
Akcees in pictures (p 9)
That moment when...
The man behind How to Web
A D E R,
Do you remember that moment when you felt that joy was so overwhelming that you could barely control your emotions? That moment when you felt you really did something special that you were proud of? When was the last time that you’ve been in such a situation? For us, young entrepreneurs, such moments are not quite uncommon. On the contrary, we enjoy them often, their frequency depending on the passion and amount of work invested in our projects, on the desire of doing things right for and reaching our objectives. For us, the Akcees team, the first such moment was on February 25th 2012, the day we officially launched what was going to become our beloved project, the organization that made our dreams come true. We shared a common vision: we wanted to see more young people to listen to their calling and to find he strength to start on their own. We met 664 young people last year, 664 Akcees alumni whom we impacted and challenged and dared to challenge themselves. We have inspired them and made them believe in themselves and in the beauty of their dreams. The moments when we felt an incredible joy were as numerous as our alumni and they gave us a satisfaction that could not be expressed into words.
Editor-In-Chief Irina Scarlat, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our determination comes from this satisfaction, from the joy we feel every
Mihaela Neagu, email@example.com
time we receive an e-mail with positive feedback from the participants, from those special moments when we get back home exhausted and
cannot wait to read the feedback forms. That’s what drives us forward!
Teodora Rădulescu, firstname.lastname@example.org
When you’ll read these lines you’ll know that for us yet another dream has
came true! This dream is the Akcees magazine, the magazine of young entrepreneurs! You will discover in our pages the stories of those daring young people who had the courage to act, to believe in their dreams and make them happen. Akcees magazine will bring you closer to you the people and the information you need to help you take the first step in launching your dream business.
Otilia Scarlat, email@example.com
Events Cătălina Gaboră, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing & PR
Akcees magazine marks a new beginning and brings a new challenge, a challenge to which we will respond with professionalism and proactivity,
Giorgiana Ene, email@example.com
passion for progress and performance!
We hope you will enjoy the Akcees story presented in this anniversary
Șerban Mogoș, firstname.lastname@example.org
number. Welcome on board this amazing journey!
Serban Mogos, Akcees President
Akcees | 5
6 | Akcees
one year of Akcees
ebruary is the time of the year
Too often we found ourselves fighting the
when love is celebrated in
scepticism of the others, their doubt in our
all its forms. February has a special meaning for the Akcees team as well, but not because
of Valentine’s Day or Dragobete, it’s
ability to make things happen. It’s been one year now and today the numbers speak for themselves. All our projects exceeded
Romanian counterpart. For us, February
the expectations of participants, partners,
marks an equally special moment and it’s
speakers, and even our own. We gained
also about love: love of entrepreneurship.
the trust of people around us by hard work
February 25th marks one year since we started an amazing journey together with
and sustained effort, by developing our optimistic ideals into measurable results.
a team of exceptional people, determined aid in the development of new generations
In the past year, we’ve proved that our
of young entrepreneurs. 2012 was the year
values are more than just mere words
when Akcees started, grew and evolved,
written on a piece of paper, and the
the year when we understood what it takes to be an entrepreneur with the good and the bad, the hardships and successes.
you notes make us proud and fuel our desire to continue and develop new and better projects for young entrepreneurs. In
see what we have built, an organization
the future, we’ll keep doing amazing things
that makes a difference. It seems almost
together with dedication, professionalism,
one year ago, when Akcees had a different name every week and we couldn’t sleep at nights worrying about logos and strategies,
passion and that tiny drop of insanity needed to move mountains and make the impossible happen.
talking for hours or dreaming of what was about to happen. Idea Exchange, Weekend
Finally, it’s no coincidence that we celebrate
Seminar, Career Leader, Entrepreneurship
our anniversary in February. It’s our way of
Trainee and Start Me Up were just dreams back then, dreams that came true because of hard work, dedication, professionalism and perseverance.
constantly received feedbacks and thank
We look back with emotion and pride to
funny now reminiscing about that time,
Our goal is to become the most powerful catalyst for the entrepreneurial aspirations in young people
proving that we do it all out of love. Love of entrepreneurship!
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Akcees | 9
Efficient networking business ideas special guests Pitching
Idea Exchange is a special networking
The first Idea Exchange edition took place
important asset is his
event where participants have the chance
on April 6th 2012, an evening when the
phonebook”, said Dragos
to meet established entrepreneurs and
lounge of Readers Café was filled with over
to validate their business concepts by
70 young people eager to connect, discuss
Partner Think Digital) at our fifth edition
pitching them in front of an audience. We
ideas and meet potential clients or even
of Idea Exchange. His statement is
started Idea Exchange with the desire to
future business partners. From that day
generally accepted, but it becomes
develop a group of young professionals
onward, we continued to bring participants
even more relevant when it comes to
with shared interests and values, a strong
discussion on both entrepreneurship and
young entrepreneurs. In this case, an
community that exchanges information
networking, and further more offered
and identifies new market opportunities.
each participant the chance to receive
increases his chances of obtaining
The fact that over 300 participants took
constructive feedback for his business
financing and makes his product known to
part in seven Idea Exchange events so
idea. Over 4 new projects were pitched
the market, thus leading to a direct impact
far, proves that we managed to reach our
and debated during these series of events
on his success.
much sought-after goal.
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Idea Exchange’s success recipe was completed
and answered questions.
entrepreneurs and renowned business
“I have met remarkable people who
men and women who shared their
inspired me and I have discovered very
experience and secretes. We had the
good business ideas. I am looking forward
fortune of more than 15 successful
to future Idea Exchange events”, said one
entrepreneurs supporting our initiative,
of our participants, proving once again
with a special mention for Bogdan
the quality of Idea Exchange, an event
Iordache (Co-Founder How to Web), Bobby
that offers a useful experience for the
Voicu (Co-Founder Mavenhut), and Felix
attendants and allows them to reach their
Pătrăşcanu (Co-Founder FAN Courier).
During the event they openly discussed with the participants, offered feedback
It is an excellent initiative, an event that brings together highly trained people and interesting ideas.”
(Romeo, participant) Akcees | 11
diana david Accessories with passion
iana David is a 23 year old young woman from Ploiesti, a small city near Bucharest. Despite her young age, she speaks with the confidence of a woman with a great experience. When taking into consideration her involvement in extra-curricular and volunteering activities, her attitude only natural. She is sociable and spreads tons of energy with those around her. She always has a bright smile on her face and is very confident in her own abilities. Diana has had artistic skills since childhood, when she started painting on glass and wood. However, she did not follow her calling when she came to Bucharest and she started studying economics. Yet, she did not forget her passion and started to create jewellery in her spare time. That was her first step. Her friends and colleagues noticed her special jewellery and started asking her to create accessories for them, too. Recommendation after recommendation, Diana discovered that she could build up a small business by following her dream. It was a business that fit her aptitudes perfectly, a start-up that represented her. That is how â&#x20AC;&#x153;Accesorii Aleseâ&#x20AC;? was born. Diana makes all her jewelry manually, customizing them on reguest in order to fit her clientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tastes, personality and outfits. She makes unique products such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces, hair accessories and testimonials for weddings and baptisms. She always works on developing her collection and to enlarging her current product portfolio.
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When it comes to competition, Diana is not afraid. That’s because she knows how to give her clients a unique experience, how to make them feel special. By choosing the right products for her clients, she helps them save both time and effort. She knows how important customer satisfaction is, and that’s why she offers consultations and valuable advice, always looking to exceed her customers’ expectations.
She is aware of the importance of
Although she also knows that the handmade jewellery market is rapidly growing in Romania, she is certain that her passion, creativity and determination will help her face the competition.
cism by the people around her and she
Her face lights up when she talks about her project. She talks about her project whenever she’s given the chance to do so and convinces people with her contagious passion. That’s why she chose to pitch her project in front of the audience at Idea Exchange. She is aware of the importance of meeting the right people at the right time – and that is how her business started.
being surrounded by positive people, with common passions and interests, so she is attends networking events in order to find new ideas, business partners or clients. She started this journey with a desire to make the world more beautiful, but she soon realised that this wasn’t such an easy job. She was met with sceptistarted fearing failure, but managed to find the strength to carry on with the inspirational help from mentors who succeeded before her. This is the reason why she believes young people need models, mentoring and support in order to start their own business. Diana looks confidently to the future
Hand-made accessories, custom for every client
and wants to further develop her project and change the way the handmade accessories market is perceived in Romania. Knowing her, we are certain nothing is going to stop her.
Her face lights up when she talks about her project and she infects other people with her passion.
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Competences and abilities through non-formal education
interactive training sessions throughout two days to develop your key competences
We all know that the school system doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t offer an adequate education, correlated with the needs existing of the job market. There are several fundamental competences, crucial for the professional development of young people, competences that are unfortunately not taught in schools. These competences make a difference on the long run, offering a competitive advantage and thus significantly impacting the capacity of young people to reach their goals. Weekend Seminar arouse out of the desire to help young people develop this kind of competences and knowledge through non-formal educational techniques. The intensive two-day training sessions touches on subjects such as personal branding, project management or sales, and they have a real impact on participants by offering them a solid base that can be further developed in practice through daily activities. We organized four sessions in 2012, amounting to 64 hours of training offered to a total of 88 participants. The finalists were selected out of a pool of more than 300 applications and the feedback received was 4.7 on a scale ranging from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5.
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Project management is a key ability for young people interested in personal development, and it is also one that is not easily learned in school. The first edition of Weekend Seminar was all about learning project management skills and abilities. During the event, the participants learned how to manage a team, its activities and the budgets of their own projects in order to reach their objectives.
During the two days, the participants understood the fundamental project management processes and they applied the theoretical concepts through case studies and interactive applications. Remarkable trainers and guest speakers guided their steps and shared secrets from their own experience. In May, Weekend Seminar focused on personal branding. Throughout the event, the participants had the chance to discover and develop themselves. Furthermore, they learned how to manage their personal image with regards to employers, business partners or clients using consistent communication and web 2.0 technologies to their advantage.
The edition meant two days of debates on how you can discover your personal brand as a reflection of your talents, passions and values. Two days of developing a conscious strategy for communicating and keeping a strong personal identity. 25 participants had the chance to build a strong personal brand that, in turn, will help them in reaching their objectives.
Along with the beginning of the winter semester, the Akcees team delivered a new edition dedicated to communication skills. This time 30 participants had the chance to
cross public speaking boundaries, learn how to effectively communicate with the environment and also to express their both verbal and written skills to accomplish their goals. The theory was put into practice through engaging games and workshops with a high amount of coordination and focused team efforts. The training session was held by Otilia Toma, Trainer at BRD Groupe Société Générale and a Drama School graduate. She is actively involved in training young people in developing their “soft” skills in order to produce “hard” results. Throughout the event participants had the chance to learn from remarkable guests: Adela Jansen (HR Executive Manager at BRD Groupe Société Générale), Niels Schnecker (TV presenter) and Cristina Călin (actress).
Weekend Seminar events were extremely appreciated in the Akcees community because they
Nowadays public speaking is by far the most important skill one should have. It directly affects the communication and persuasion process and the reaching of one’s objectives. For a young entrepreneur, public speaking is an essential skill for successfully pitching his business idea to investors, partners, suppliers or potential clients.
brought in front of the participants highly skilled trainers, special guests and engaging activities with immediate workability.
On our third edition of Weekend Seminar participants had the chance to master public speaking, with the help of Paul Olteanu, professional trainer and communication specialist. Within the training session they learned how to use information from different areas (psychology, diction, theatre and negotiation) in order to effectively use their emotions and become remarkable public speakers.
Akcees | 15
Iordache happiness is a lifestyle
ălina Ana Iordache graduated from the Faculty of Letters and never dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. Neither did she know very much about the subject, despite the fact that her father had been a business developer since the 90’s. After graduation she tried to explore, develop her hobbies and discover her passions. After she tried working in showbiz and media, but decided that being an employee did not suit her. She managed her brother’s business for a while but in 2000 she decided to go on her own. The first business Malina developed was a failure that taught her a lot. Even now she gets gloomy while talking about it: “It hurt! It was like ending a relationship that you don’t want to end and it took me almost a year to recover emotionally”. Her winning spirit helped her to pull through, dust it all off and move on.
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Einstein used to say that everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Every person is an entrepreneur…” Being passionate about entrepreneurship and personal development, she decided to give it another try and start a new business. This time, a social business, focused on education: The Institute for Happiness. For Malina, happiness is a way of living. All of this can be read in her eyes: the content, fulfilment and satisfaction of things made out of pleasure. “I feel like I’m on seventh heaven each day! This is because I do not work; I practice my passion each day. I don’t think there is a greater joy than this”, she says smiling. The idea of transforming happiness into a social business came out of chance. In 2011, a friend shared on Facebook a link to a documentary on happiness. She loved the idea, bought the broadcasting rights and wanted to gather 40 friends to watch it on February 11th.
She started to promote the event four weeks in advance and got the response of over 200 eager participants. Malina decided to create “The Institute for Happiness” after observing both the impact she had and the wish people have of discussing happiness, exchanging thoughts and meeting like-minded people. She is convinced that happiness can save lives and is happy to be part of such a project. “Many times I think that perhaps the Institute chose me and not the other way around” confesses Malina with excitement.
In the middle of a negativistic society, the Institute for Happiness is a ray of light that offers a positive alternative for people. Malina and her team are preparing to launch The National Program of Happiness Education and the first National Center of Happiness Education in Bucharest. She has many plans and projects which she wants to pursue and she knows she can make it because, as she says, entrepreneurship and happiness run through her veins.
Akcees | 17
talented youths top companies internships quality experience
Career event that emphasizes the importance of quality professional experience
n the beginning of their careers, students are looking for immediate benefits in their activities, benefits that are both tangible and concrete in order to offer them a certainty of achieving a set of initial goals. The often heard set of lines “What’s in it for me? – Experience” has become a sarcastic expression, creating a generally accepted mentality in which “gaining experience” is equal to “not gaining anything”. Have we ever wondered why so many startups created by youths are doomed to failure?
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When looking for suppliers for the products or services we want, we focus more on the experienced ones. We want an experienced accountant, experienced consultant, an experienced chef and so on! This happens because experience is a quality assurance for a professional, a warranty of their competences. Many times students tend to forget how valuable experience really is. They start their path with passion and determination, not knowing exactly what they have to do, not knowing the market, the business environment and the best practices in the respective area.
This strongly diminishes their chances for success. In order to reach the needs of inexperienced youths and offer them a chance to accumulate qualitative professional experience, we created Career Leader, a project that represents a connection bridge to top professionals in different areas. In this way, this event’s participants have the chance of working for a day with representatives from top companies in Romania. The best participants are awarded with internships and other surprises. At Career Leader, we prepare each day for a different business field,
with training sessions delivered by experts, interactive workshops and, in the end, internships. Throughout the two editions of Career Leader in 2012 we had over 180 student participants selected from more than 700 candidates. The event was supported by more than 45 media partners and across the country, over 250 articles were written on this subject. BRD Groupe Société Générale, Contrast Management Consulting, Microsoft, JTI and L’Oreal are just some of the
companies that decided to support our project. The excellent feedback received from both participants and supporting companies, along with the high number of applications, indicate that experience slowly becomes an important goal for tomorrow’s future leaders. Career Leader provides the set-up for gaining this experience in an informal, interactive and dynamic environment!
A very well organized event, from all points of view and an interactive meeting from which I have gained so much information!” (Alexandra, participant) Akcees | 19
luiza iovan Vision, ambition and passion for fashion
ndreea Iovan is someone who cannot go unnoticed. She’s full of energy and a true optimist. She’s restless when it comes to the business she’s built with so much love and hard work: chasing for fabrics, drawing or checking to see if her team of seamstresses has managed to translate her exact vision into the actual products.
and also supported her efforts, motivating her to follow her dreams. She’s not afraid to fight for the things she wants or to focus all of her efforts in a certain direction, but she is aware that she cannot do everything by herself, that it is important to have the right people along with you for the ride. She knows that she couldn’t have made it without them!
She has known what she wanted to do ever since she was four, when she started her first fashion house, dressing her dolls. She inherited her artistic inclinations from her architect father, who didn’t initially agree with her choice of being a fashion designer. However, she managed to convince him when she was admitted to an arts high school in Constanța. She continued her studies in this field, now having a Bachelor Diploma in Textile Art.
In her opinion, experience is one of the major factors that made her successful. She had the patience to wait for a few years before launching her project, years in which she worked and developed her skills. She started as a seamstress and worked herself up to being a fashion designer for another brand. However, she did not run from jobs that weren’t exactly fashion-related. That’s because she wanted to fully understand what a business is all about, to gain abilities that would help her manage her activities and to know how to communicate efficiently. “It’s impossible to start your activity as a fashion designer without ever using a sewing machine, without being in a creation department or in a sewing shop”, she states amused.
Being passionate about fashion design, she initially started creating for her friends, thus exponentially growing her business. Through word of mouth, Andreea managed to build a vast client base. This is what gave her the confidence to start her own fashion house: Iza Van Dee. She considers herself lucky because she has met all the right people at the right time, people who have inspired her
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She firmly believes that the diversity of her previous experience helped her realize exactly what she wanted to do, and helped her understand how she wanted things to
work in her own company. By working
line and opening a boutique. On the
she learned how to ask for what she
long run, she wants her designs to
wants and to give explanations; she
become a well known brand, in and out
understood how to coordinate people
of Romania, and to keep focusing her
and managed to build her company
work toward Iza Van Dee becoming an
just the way she envisioned it. In
international brand. She is aware that
addition, her experience in other fields
it all means a lot of work and constant
brought her down to earth and made
struggle, but she wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t back down
her rethink every step in a less artistic
because her passion for fashion keeps
her going. She will always be moving
She is not afraid to keep dreaming. Her
forward, no matter what life throws
plans include launching a production
She knew she was ment to be a designer since she was four years old and had a fashion house for her dolls.
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he evolution of technology has removed the physical boundaries between states and simplified the communication process between distant regions. The number of opportunities has expanded at the same time as the data base for potential clients has become more diverse, as it’s recommended that start-ups address the needs of a large number of clients, all around the world. These clients have different expectations and their behaviour is fundamentally altered by the culture that they know and in which they have grown. International openness is, therefore, essential for any young person who is developing a business that transcends the boundaries of a country or – why not? - a continent.
Entrepreneurship Trainee (ET for friends) addresses those who have a true passion for entrepreneurship and who wish to work in a multicultural dynamic environment, but who also want to find the secrets behind the success of a start-up. The 2012 edition was a pilot meant to help us test the reaction of our target audience. We opened six positions, six paid internships at start-ups in Berlin and London. SponsorPay, HitFox, CloudControl and UberVU were the companies that chose to partner up with us. With over 250 applications, it was clear to us that the project was addressing a stringent need and
internships Start-ups international awarness
that this international exposure was valuable for young people on their
It all started last year, when Șerban, the President of Akcees, was concluding his master’s degree and an internship at a start-up in Berlin. Throughout the six months he had spent there, he had the opportunity to work with people of 27 nationalities, in a dynamic and interactive environment. In those six months, he understood how a successful start-up operates and what the premises of developing a global business are. We wanted to offer the same unique opportunity to other young people so we came up with Entrepreneurship Trainee, the first and only program in Romania that allows the gaining of a valuable international experience through paid internships at different European start-ups.
ways of becoming entrepreneurs. The selection process was very rigorous and competitive. The resume analysis was followed by interviews which lead to the finalists being put
Entrepreneurship Trainee is a project that
in contact with our partner start-ups
had a great impact
representatives. In the end, the best
upon my life, an unique
were selected to spend their summer working in Europe.
experience for a young
Today, Entrepreneurship Trainee is a
person that is fond of
reference point for the young people wishing to see what it takes to build a globally successful company, and we
entrepreneurship. It changed my life”
are preparing the applications for a new edition, which is bound to bring even more positions, more partner
start-ups and more opportunities.
Akcees | 23
todirică From Chile, with love
enis Todirică had wanted to become an entrepreneur ever since the moment he heard that Bill Gates was making 250$ a second. He was a second grader when he started taking informatics classes and his new goal was the have his own tech start-up in Silicon Valley. Today, at 24, Denis is at his third business. A visionary with initiative, he wishes the world to be a better place through his efforts. He has the power to convey this vision and to captivate from the first moments with his charm and exotic aura. Glazeon, the company that Denis is currently developing was set up after two other start-ups that failed. It isn’t easy for him to talk about those moments, but he is proud that he was able to stop, despite the promising numbers, the second he felt the company no longer represented his concept. He wanted to do something that truly made a difference. Though Glazeon, he wanted to diminish the world’s greatest problems, by allowing people to support their favorite charity. Through the platform, people can donate a part of the value of newly bought assets and chose the cause they want to direct a percentage of those incomes. The users have access to a personal profile where they can always find information about the causes they have helped, the status of the ongoing campaigns and updates of the new partner products and services.
24 | Akcees
With time, he has had the luck to meet amazing people, passionate just like him, and he chose the ones he clicked with. He knows nothing would ever happen without the Glazeon team’s understanding, efforts and determination and he is a firm believer that this is the main reason why Glazeon exists. That and his parents’ unconditional support of ensuring him the comfort of not seeking a job right after college, these things have made him successful. His positive, global vision and his previous experience contributed to him being where he is right now. Glazeon is the first Romanian Start-up selected by Startup Chile, an acceleration program supported by the Chile Government,
program that has the goal of attracting the most talented entrepreneurs and encouraging them to
businesses locally. He applied because it
way he could have worked
team for 6 months. He was drawn by the networking opportunities and also by the fact that once accepted, they were going to receive an initial financing of 40.ooo$, without signing off any parts of the company.
The satisfaction you get when you change the life of millions of people for the better is priceless and is worth every moment of hard work.”
He thinks of Starup Chile as the experience of a lifetime and he is proud to be a part of a group of international entrepreneurs. “Aside from the advice and constant feedback, we also connected very strongly. We are now a big family of entrepreneurs, always ready to help, to offer support or recommendations”, claims Denis. Finally, he realized that entrepreneurship is a perfect path in life if you have the right vision and attitude. After Startup Chile, he is more than sure this is the path he wants to follow. Furthermore, he would like to see more young people to becoming aware of this opportunity, being inspired and working to reach their maximum potential.
“The satisfaction you get when you change the life of millions of people for the better is priceless and is worth every moment of hard work”, Denis tells us gladly. He is set on doing this through Glazeon. He is getting the team ready to expand the concept in other countries, and his goal for 2013 is to help donate 1 million euro to different causes. On the long run, he would like Glazeon to become a lifestyle and to allow everyone to change the world, little by little, through their everyday actions. Until then, he continues to be a promoter of entrepreneurship, of grand projects and people who want to excel through what they do.
Akcees | 25
25 well trained young people selected from over 200 applications;
A different entrepreneurial school
an international trainer; 8 entrepreneurs and well known Romanian investors; 5 new business ideas; 5 responsible companies that offered scholarships for young entrepreneurs; 45 media partners
a new generation
and over 176 media appearances; a team that â&#x20AC;&#x153;donatedâ&#x20AC;? over 2
of young entrepreneurs
Start Me Up in numbers, the entrepreneurship summer school we
for romania 26 | Akcees
000 hours of volunteer work and made this project possible. This is
organized last year in Predeal.
For us, the Akcees team, Start Me Up was a dream came true. We dreamed of an event that delivered the basic steps for young entrepreneurs to follow in order to make their idea happen, that offered a different experience, that motivated them to pursue their dreams and gave them the necessary confidence and know-how. We started planning this project armed with great determination and confidence in its success. We started planning it in May 2012, and by that time most people already had summer plans. We were a 3 months old promising NGO without a previous background, but with ambitious objectives: to develop one of the best Romanian entrepreneurship programs.
all those great people and responsible companies that believed in us when nobody did, supported us when we were discouraged and helped us in achieving our amazing goal! I cannot forget our sleepless nights or how we forgot to eat lost in phone calls, emails, the number of times we cried, groaned or enjoyed. All I know is that the final satisfaction has worth every effort, tears and restless moments ending in one priceless experience. Long after the event we read feedback forms, thank you emails and participants’ testimonials. This is what keeps us moving forward, making the impossible possible and making our dreams come true.
Few were those who believed in us! There were late nights spent in front of the computer, sending partnership proposal emails, financing proposals and invites, writing articles and press releases, preparing for our dream event. Our commitment was so great that even when it seemed that chances were against us, we fought harder to make things happen. I wish I could share all of the intense emotions we experienced during those 3 months, the countless moments when we couldn’t hold our tears of joy when receiving a positive response or, on the contrary, distress for polite declines. We’ve been through agony and excitement and backwards, laughing, crying, enjoying and groaning. It was an intense experience for a beautiful team that believed and had enough courage to pursue its own dreams. We arrived at Predeal with emotions filling both in our luggage and souls. I wish I could properly express my feelings of what Start Me Up meant for us or for our participants and how important the people who stood beside us were. Throughout one week, 25 wonderful participants generated ideas and developed their own business plans while meeting successful entrepreneurs. They gained self-confidence, learned through experience and games, worked hard and had fun together. Nobody slept the night before pitching. Participants were working on their ideas, preparing speeches and finalizing business plans while we were preparing to end an event in which we had invested a lot of hard work. In the end, participants validated their business concepts in front of the jury. They impressed through the clarity of ideas, the professional execution and they convinced with the passion of every word they said.
It was an experience that gave us wings in a world we didn’t know that existed, a breath of fresh air, a disruptive and extraordinary week.” (Sabina, participant)
We ended 3 months of hard work in tears of joy and applauses, feeling the overwhelming satisfaction of the thing well done and the priceless happiness of impacting 25 young people and changing their lives. I want to thank
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tudose The guy from puzzled.by
t only 24, Vlad Tudose launched his own start-up and already received his first financing support. He is competitive, fond of simple and smart ideas and he likes to spend his time working on useful projects. He is constantly involved in something because he likes to keep his mind busy with interesting things. We know Vlad as “the guy that kept threatening us with his project”. I met him last year at Start Me Up summer school. He impressed all of us with his perseverance and determination to make things happen and his rational, yet cool ideas. We didn’t know much about him or his long term plans, but we were confident that he wasn’t going to give up and that we shall soon hear of him and his projects. And we were right. His story begins in a usual way for a Romanian student: “a business student at Bucharest University of Economic Studies”. In his second year he got tired of all that theory he was learning in school and realized that he wanted to make something productive. Therefore he became “the student with no work experience searching for a job” and got lucky with Adulmec.ro start-up. There he met a remarkable environment, true mentors and fell in love with the online domain and its opportunities. After two years he left Adulmec.ro and became “the foreign student with a scholarship”. He graduated an Innovation Management Master program at Rotterdam School of Management in Netherlands. At that point he decided it was the right time to pursue his dreams and became once
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again “the student that kept threatening people with his project”. He decided to be an entrepreneur because the idea of being responsible for his own future and working for something he truly believes in suited him best. Moreover, it was his project, he was enjoying it and he was making his own rules. This is how he became “the Puzzled.by guy”. Puzzled.by is a Q&A online platform that gives people the chance to ask quantitative questions and receive answers from others with common interests. His objective is to build a community that shares opinions on different interesting subjects, helping members in making their daily choices based on collective intelligence. People can also satisfy their curiosity or receive feedback for their business ideas. The inception of his idea happened by accident one day when he was looking to question a business idea he had at that moment. He discovered that the alternatives were either expensive or affected by the subjectivity of his friends’ network, especially if he used Facebook. His decision to develop Puzzled.by started from a true need he discovered and a problem that didn’t have an available solution. He was lucky to find the perfect business partners to begin this project among his friends: a developer, a planner and a designer. With Mickey, Balazs and Lau on his team, they began working on the project. They grew organically and reached the point when they had to pitch their idea in front of investors. The feedback they received was positive: they
Start something, preferably a small project, anything that has a start and an end. All you have to do is to get out of your comfort zone and just do something.
were excited by the product and its functionalities. The first offer came from an American investor to which Vlad presented his prototype at a friendly coffee meeting. Since then, they have worked for free and from the desire to develop something they owned. It wasn’t long before they got to the investment: $50 000 from an American group of angel investors. The moment they accepted the investment they realized things were about to change. He had to organize himself better, making this project a central point of his life, not just something he was working on with passion in his spare time hoping to get better. This investment made them to decide that it is time to pursue this idea forward. Today, Vlad works on developing Puzzled.by to be a disruptive product. He wants to compete in international
contests, to be proud of his creation and to see the benefits of his platform. On the long term, Vlad hopes to continue working at Puzzled.by with the same enthusiasm and also to develop other projects with his team. Vlad wishes to see more young people being conscious about what a start-up involves, people passionate about entrepreneurship that continuously experiment, test ideas and methods and apply them on the market. “Start something, anything, especially a small project that has a beginning and an ending. This way you will have a starting point and, once you gain confidence in your abilities and skills, you can start a bigger project. Keep on going!” Vlad recommends to those wanting to follow his steps. “All you have to do is get out of your comfort zone and start doing something!”
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Bucharest tech feast Bucharest â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The South Eastern Europe Capital of Innovation and Technology
n a country where excessive tax policy and political instability suffocate entrepreneurial initiatives, there are several young people who have the courage to follow their own path and succeed. Even though most of Romanian IT companies outsource their activities, there are events that emphasize entrepreneurship and innovation in technology. Our mission is to leave a mark on the development of the Romanian entrepreneurship ecosystem. We had the chance to be partners with the most important web, technology and entrepreneurship events in Romania. During November 5th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11th, 2012 Bucharest Tech Feast joined for the first time How To Web, Startup Weekend, Girls in Tech and other events during Global Entrepreneurship Week. It was an intense week and we had the chance to meet worldwide successful entrepreneurs and felt once again that our focus in the right direction has a true impact.
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It all started Tuesday, November 6th at the Romanian launch of Girls in Tech, an international organization whose mission is to develop a community of women working in technology. Thus, Bucharest became the third European city (after London and Paris) that joins a network of over 8 500 members worldwide. Girls in Tech launch event brought together successful women from two continents that shared own experiences and debated over the role of women in entrepreneurship and technology. On November 7th and 8th we continued with How to Web, the most important South East European conference dedicated to entrepreneurship and technology. HTW had over 700 participants and 40 international speakers from over 10 countries. The event was all about the evolution of technology and the power of innovation, the challenges that global web industry brings and its potential solutions.
Bucharest Tech Feast: from passion for entrepreneurship and technology, web and innovation. Passion for Romania!
During HTW, Startup Spotlight competition took place. This competition aimed for Romanian start-up teams to benefit from mentoring sessions and meet worldwide accelerators representatives and investors. Winners were rewarded with $20 000 worth of prizes. The week ended with Startup Weekend Romania, a 54 hours-long event that brought together over 80 young people with a passion for entrepreneurship. They formed teams, generated ideas, developed products and finally pitched their business concepts in front of a jury. Teamsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; efforts were guided by internationally well known mentors. Forward Thinking, the winning team, had the chance to compete in Global Startup Battle along with worldwide teams for Global Entrepreneurship Congress invites.
Finally, it can be said that these things happen in Romania, too! Even though the political, social and economic environment does not sustain young entrepreneursâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; initiatives, it has been proven once more that impossible can be made possible. Bucharest Tech Feast has truly impacted the Romanian entrepreneurial ecosystem and inspired people to pursue their passions, have self confidence and develop their own businesses. We were glad to be a part of the first edition of Bucharest Tech Feast, guided by our passion for technology and entrepreneurship, web and innovation and, last but not least, for our beloved country Romania!
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Bogdan Iordache Two years ago I found out about How to Web randomly and I was fascinated by the list of speakers they were going to bring to the conference. I found it incredible that such a conference would take place in Romania. At that time Akcees did not yet exist, we were just planning the organization we have today. When I saw the conference’s partners list, one thought came to my mind: “What if one day we would be partners at How to Web? – What would that be like?” That was a beautiful dream, too beautiful to come true, therefore we came back to our objective reality – we didn’t even exist and How to Web was somewhere up there, where we never
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thought that we could be someday. We were following Bogdan Iordache with great admiration, the man behind How to Web, reading his blog with lot of interest. Time passed and Akcees started to take shape. It was already 2012, we had the official Akcees launch and we were already organizing our first projects. When I saw a link posted by Bogdan, I remembered our old dream. Therefore I decided to write him, consoling myself in thinking that he will not take the time to read my message anyway. To my surprise, he answered! And not only did he answer, but he accepted to meet me and give me the chance to tell him about what
we were doing. It’s hard to forget the feeling I had when Bogdan accepted to become our partner, when I first saw the Akcees logo on the How to Web website. I had the same feeling afterwards, when I became part of the HTW’s PR team, having the chance to work with Bogdan. Bogdan Iordache is one of the entrepreneurs I respect and admire the most because he inspires me and gives me the belief that all things are possible. He graduated the Polytechnic University of Bucharest with a degree in Computer Science and the DEA program at Universite Lumiere de
How to Web has locally stimulated creativity and innovation and has moved forward the tech industry far more than I have could imagined.” Lyon. He had chosen the entrepreneurial path ever since he was a student, developing an e-learning company. Unfortunately, he had to close this first business off after one year, but he didn’t let this discourage him and he continued with www. stagiipebune.ro (today the best portal for IT internships), Conectoo (an e-mail based marketing platform), and How to Web, the most important tech and start-up event in the South Eastern Europe. He decided to start How to Web after attending similar conferences in Romania and abroad and realizing that there was a great amount of differences between them. He wanted to offer local tech people the opportunity to directly get into contact
with those who create products with global impact. And he made it! How to Web has had an interesting evolution from one year to another, both in terms of quality and quantity. The 2012 edition brought together over 700 participants, 40 speakers from all around the world and 12 accelerator representatives from 9 countries. It is not easy to bring this kind of people to an Romanian event, but Bogdan has his special way in convincing them. The things that help him most are his creativity and ability to present How to Web in seconds, catching all the attention. In his own words: “it is irrational that an event like How to Web is happening in Romania. And yet, it is happening and it has a great impact over the
local tech industry.” How to Web helps participants in many ways: meeting investors and getting the financing they need, getting accepted to accelerators or providing inspiration to innovate and initiate their own businesses. And there are lot of examples like these ones. One thing is clear: even though it is irrational that How to Web exists in Romania, the conference stimulated innovation and creativity and it pushed the tech industry further than we could imagine years ago. Through How to Web, Bogdan is changing lives! He changed ours for sure! We are honoured to know him and we thank him for being a source of inspiration!
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AKCees team The people behind the projects
13 youngsters who are transforming dreams into reality Nothing of what Akcees means today could have been realized without the help of a team of wonderful people, determined to make things happen. Their motivation and perseverance, professionalism, energy and overflowing enthusiasm gave them the power to make the impossible possible. They were rewarded with smiles and gratitude, feedback and appreciation, and all of these brought them more satisfaction than any kind of financial reward. They believed and had the courage to take action and make a difference! Serban, Irina, Giorgiana, Mihaela, Catalina, Teodora, Raluca, Otilia, Anca, Ioana, Ana and the two Dianas are those 13 people who dedicated their spare time with generosity, perseverance and seriousness in order to change lives. They are those who were working days and nights, untouched by scepticism and distrust, those who dared to believe in a better world and decided to do their best to get there. Thanks to them, Akcees exists and goes further!
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Akcees story goes on! New projects for 2013
We now come to the end of our first year of existence. It was a year full of activity, building an organization that contributes to the development of the young generation of entrepreneurs. All our actions were taken towards the vision of becoming the greatest catalyst of the entrepreneurial aspirations of young people. Through our projects and initiatives, we offered our participants akcees to education and great quality professional experience, as well as networking and financing opportunities. After one year of activity we look back with pride, one year in which we not only proved that we are an organization with great potential, but also that we know how to capitalize on this potential in order to reach our objectives. Now comes the moment for looking forward to the future, with hope and love of entrepreneurship!
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The projects implemented in 2012 offered young people all the resources and skills they needed in order to start on their own: a relevant contact network (Idea Exchange), skills and abilities that they cannot develop in school (Weekend Seminar), the best quality professional experience (Career Leader), international span (Entrepreneurship Trainee), and last but not least, the inspiration and vision they need in order to take the first step towards launching their own business (Start Me Up). The feedback we received showed that these projects offer solutions to young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs and desires, and they must be further developed and implemented. We will continue in 2013 with the wide range of projects previously developed, adding to the experience of the past editions the confidence we gained and the support of the wonderful people we met.
Our vision is to be the most powerful catalyst to entreprenurial aspirations of young people.â&#x20AC;?
But we are not stopping here! By the time you are reading these lines, a new Akcees project is taking shape. It is Akcees magazine - a magazine about both entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. In our pages youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find success stories of young people who had the courage to take on the journey and have made it, successful entrepreneurs, investors and accelerators, relevant events for the community and useful resources for business at their very beginning. Therefore we want to bring forward relevant role models and thus contribute to the development of the entrepreneurial culture in Romania.
schoolers aged 15 to 18, we are preparing Akcees Youth, a project where they get the chance to discover their passions and entrepreneurial skills.
Moreover, thanks to the feedback we have received, we are developing new projects with the aim of including other categories of target audience in our sector. Thus, for high-
To be continuedâ&#x20AC;Ś
However, we will not neglect our established target of young professionals. Thus, we will launch Akcees PROfessional, a new range of projects for young people who already started their businesses and want to progress, grow and develop. We will continue to write this wonderful story with dedication and professionalism, passion and that tiny drop of madness, necessary to make impossible things happen!
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