|Isabel Gaspar Pereira @ Linkedin|
Born and raised in the Centre of Portugal, my first degree was in Mechanical Engineering. Being the first child of an engineer and a teacher, my actual first contact with Entrepreneurship was in University. Challenged by a professor, who would soon be both my thesis mentor and supervisor, I enrolled in a Technological Entrepreneurship course held by the University I was studying in. The course did not go as intended but I came out of it with a great will to make experiences and launched what today would be called my first start-up soon after. It did not last long but was important enough to plant the seed of Entrepreneurship inside me.
When I graduated I joined a large industrial group and, a bit by chance and a bit due to my characteristics had the opportunity to participate in two different new ventures: one was the installation and kick-off of a new industrial unit and the other was the launch of a new market where the company had barely started to work. These two opportunities made the Entrepreneurship seed become a sprout.
When I applied to MIETE, I had been living in Brazil for a year and a half. I had been there launching a new factory and business for the industrial group I worked for and felt like I had accomplished my mission. I also felt that launching new businesses and making them sustainable was meant for me and I needed a formal education to enhance it. Always eager to learn more, I looked for what I could get in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, which led me to the MIETE blog. A Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in a highly rated University in a great city such as Porto – it was the perfect combination.
After reading one or two posts and checking out the syllabus, I decided immediately to apply (and to come back to Portugal). It was possibly the fastest life-changing decision I have ever made. Luckily, I was accepted and booked my flight back to Portugal.
Throughout the masters’ program, I had the chance to renew my knowledge base, acquired in my Mechanical Engineering degree and in a post-graduation I had completed in the meantime, and to study in depth other fields that were entirely new to me: the world of start-ups, strategy, product development, the whole ideation and market testing needed before launching a business, technology commercialization, the financials behind a successful project, etc. I also learned how to do research and how to write a formal paper (recently published in an academic journal), which was quite unusual for someone working in a corporate environment for almost 10 years.
All this new knowledge allowed me to evaluate my professional path and to understand what had gone wrong and right in my business ventures (for both myself and my employers). I quickly understood one of MIETE’s main pillars: get out of the building and test the business model!! I wish someone had taught me that 15 years before. I have grown professionally because of that: I have now a broader view of businesses, in particular of new businesses and start-ups.
I also now understand businesses in general and start-ups in particular from the investor’s point of view: having focused a lot on sales and contract management in my pre-MIETE life, I finally understood that, apart from organic growth brought directly by sales, the value for the shareholder is equally or even more important. This knowledge is fundamental now that I work as a Growth Manager for BOAVISTA Windows (www.boavistawindows.com ). BOAVISTA is a highly innovative window systems developer that produces window frames out of composite materials.
I came across this company when I was still in MIETE, when I was “getting out of the building” testing a business model for a patent from the Porto University. I scheduled a meeting to understand if this patent I was working with was compatible with BOAVISTA’s business model, and ended up collaborating with its founders to set up a Sales and Marketing strategy and department. Initially, BOAVISTA was a small start-up located in the historic district of Porto but, with its continuous growth, became an industrial company located in one of Vila Nova de Gaia’s industrial park. The knowledge acquired at MIETE was fundamental for me to understand the specificities of an innovative start-up trying to disrupt the market it was in. It was also very important to help me make the transition from working in a large corporate group to working in a new venture, with all that it takes to make it grow.
I recommend MIETE to anyone who wants to make a transition from large corporate to the start-up environment and to anyone who has the entrepreneurship seed inside.
Isabel Gaspar Pereira studied @MIETE: 2014-16
Listen to Isabel @AROCHA Podcast (Portuguese only)