Originally published in Spain, in the Gaztenpresa blog, we had it translated into English:
Yes. You can. If you really want it you can convert yourself into an entrepreneur. An expert is telling you this. Oscar Muguerza, the Director of Trade of LABORAL Kutxa Enterprises and Gaztenpresa’s coach, participated in the “Innova Bilbao 2016,” an event that set the standard for entrepreneurship. Taking advantage of the occasion, we had the opportunity to talk with him for a couple of minutes. What he told us will interest you a lot.
Gaztenpresa Blog: What are the essential qualities to start up an enterprise?
Oscar Muguerza: You need to have an appetite. I don’t believe that entrepreneurial people have a specific DNA, each one of us has our strengths and weaknesses.
The appetite, the necessity, is what moves the world. In the launching process, having an appetite means being tireless, moving past obstacles, fighting when others give up… always taking a step further.
B.G: Does one need a specific trajectory or can anybody be an entrepreneur?
O.M: Anybody can. As long as there is the desire, the individual can learn whatever he or she does not already know. To identify areas of successful business, one must explore his or herself and ask, what am I good at, how do I stand out, what motivates me.
B.G: What sectors are likely to have more successful start-ups in Euskadi?
O.M: Logically we have to continue developing the industrial tradition, creating new businesses and spin-offs of already existing activities, as well as exploring new products or services, or new markets.
Although more tied to already existing businesses, the expanding of the service industry is here to stay; it involves offering solutions and adding services to products. Surely there are opportunities. An entrepreneur in collaboration with already established businesses can more rapidly advance and go further.
Similarly, I think Euskadi still offers opportunities in tourism if we are capable of offering unique experiences to clients. We have the resources to do so.
B.G: I want to start a business. How do I finance it? How is innovation financed?
O.M: There are three relevant keys that must be combined. The good thing is that they are not mutually exclusive:
- Public support and financing: grants, endorsements, and direct financing. Multiple programs in town halls, provincial councils and the Basque government exist. We have an excellent coverage in this sense.
- Own Funds or FFF (Family, Friends and Fools): we must support one another. Without some individuals’ capital contributions it’s almost impossible
- Bank financing: in undertaking risky activities, the bank needs security; we must remember that 80% of new businesses fail. We must immerse ourselves in the mix of European programs, societies that back one another in a mutual way…Through your bank you can access these tools; and if you don’t have them, well then, change your bank.
These three main axes finance 98% of entrepreneurship. There is also space for business angles, partnerships based on venture capital…
B.G: Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to join the mentoring program? Why?
O.M: Without a doubt. It is one of my best experiments in the recent months. Apart from helping and returning to the society what we have received, it is an incredible source of energy. It is like recharging batteries. You learn a lot and receive a good dose of humility.
B.G: What is a good benchmark with regard to culture and entrepreneurial infrastructure?
O.M: Well, mentioning the typical foreign sites is okay and always inspiring, but I sincerely think in Euskadi we have the necessary infrastructure. If you talk with venture capital funds, they will tell you that there is more money than projects; if you talk with banks, they will tell you something similar, some public support programs don’t deplete your whole budget… However, talk to entrepreneurs and they say they don’t receive help, nor financing, nor support. What is failing is the bridge between the infrastructure and the entrepreneurs, we speak different languages and it is difficult to understand one another.