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HSE Business Club Holds Its First Entrepreneurial Forum

HSE Business Club Holds Its First Entrepreneurial Forum

© HSE University

This event was timed to coincide with Russian Entrepreneurship Day, which is celebrated on May 26. Forum attendees included not only students of HSE University, but also students from other Moscow universities. They were able to learn about internships in forum partner companies, as well as interacting in person with successful Russian business businesses.

Business start-ups, ‘black swans’, delegating authority, social impact, time management, personal qualities that contribute to success, own production — these and other topics were covered during lectures by speakers at the forum. They were Russian entrepreneurs who had founded their own companies, and among them was Evgeny Demin, CEO and co-founder of Splat. He told participants how and why his team moved from distribution to in-house production.

Evgeny Demin
© HSE University

‘We then realised intuitively that the quality of the product had to be impeccable. And you shouldn't sacrifice that to cut costs, because that won't end well,’ he says. — I mean, you have to make cool things, and make them technologically efficient so they are not expensive, but you mustn’t sacrifice the perfect combination of factors for the sake of making them cheaper. Details mean a lot, so we’ve said that we will definitely make cool things that we and our loved ones like’.

The world is full of mediocre things, let's make something beautiful and cool

The Q&A session with Ascona founder Vladimir Sedov was equally interesting. He reminded the students once again that time is an entrepreneur's most precious resource, so time management should be given special attention. The businessman also pointed out why a company needs to be vertically integrated: ‘We always seek to enter a business if we see an opportunity to be vertically integrated, because otherwise it is difficult to compete, this allows us to feel much more flexible in the market. It also gives you a 1000% level of knowledge of the industry you are in. With just one niche, you only know your product from that niche position and you have no in-depth wider knowledge, which means the company becomes vulnerable — and so does your business’.

In addition to lectures from businessmen, guests were also introduced to the forum's partners. Representatives of OZON, Changellenge, KPMG, VkusVill, Ancor, HeadHunter, Center for Youth Initiatives of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI CMI), Puma, Sber, MTS and Netology told students about career opportunities with these companies.

 ‘VkusVill is a young, actively developing company, ready for cooperation, experimentation, and open to new ideas, and HSE students can provide just that, they are young, active, creative specialists. As a result, we could have an some interesting collaborations’, explained Olga Kravchenko, a representative from VkusVill.

The participants commented on the usefulness of the forum. ‘I have never been to a business event like this before, because I am a first-year student. But the event is good: very cool guests, lots of insights’, Daniil Morozov, a first-year student at the HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM) shared his impressions. — One that particularly stood out to me was an insight into delegating: about letting people make mistakes. Usually, when you outsource something, you try to get involved in the work and help with something, but here they said that you have to give people the right to make mistakes, and I believe that this is the correct thing to do’. Daniil also confessed that it was because of such events that he entered HSE University.

Daniil Morozov
© HSE University

Margarita Lazorenko, chief coordinator of the HSE Business Club, emphasised that the student organisation is always happy to see fellow entrepreneurs from other universities at its events.

Margarita Lazarenko, Chief Coordinator, HSE Business Club

© HSE University

‘The most important goal of our forum is to create a dialogue platform where big business ‘whales’ can share their experience with young entrepreneurs who are still at the very beginning of their journey. We have been choosing our speakers for a long time and with great care: this work has been going on for over a year. Most of them are very interested in events of this kind: they are all willing to share their experience.

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