Pre-assignment

Interview an entrepreneur

You are to interview an entrepreneur about his/her entrepreneurial journey. Suggested leading questions are:

  • What was the reason or what motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Why was employment not an option?
  • How did you arrive at your venture idea?
  • How did you secure funding?
  • How did you acquire your first customers?
  • What are the challenges you faced?
  • Do you enjoy being an entrepreneur?
  • What are your long-term plans? Scaling, exiting, starting something else,...?
  • Any advice for someone who would like to be an entrepreneur?

Feel free to go beyond. Treat this as a learning experience, and an enjoyable one, for both the entrepreneur and you. Everyone loves talking about themselves, especially when the listener seems genuinely interested.

Please note that entrepreneurs are not just the ones in the field of hi-tech, but can also be from the food industry (food truck operator, franchisee, etc.), construction, auto mechanic, apparel, etc. Please go outside your immediate circle of acquaintances, which implies that near family (parents, siblings, partners), co-founders and employers are not permitted. Please ensure you interview entrepreneurs who have an ongoing venture or ones who have started and operated a business within the last 5 years. Future wannabe entrepreneurs do not count. The entrepreneurs do not need to be located in the Helsinki region - feel free to reach out to individuals in other locations, and use Skype or other means. Do remember to request their permission to record the interview.

You would need to prepare a 3 page (font size 12, double spacing) report based on the insights collected from this interview. Just reporting the findings is not good enough. You need to provide your insights and abstract the motivations and challenges of an entrepreneur. Please feel free to add your views on the topic, and how some of them were potentially challenged.

As an appendix, you need to upload interview audio of 20 - 30 mins. length. The interview should be in English, and in case that is not possible, we would require extensive notes to be submitted. As mentioned the interview can also be conducted over Skype, and recorded. For editing you can use Mac computers’ iMovie, youtube, or other free software. Aalto’s Panopto desktop and mobile apps can also help you capture / edit / store audio. You can find more instructions on how to edit and upload videos to Panopto here: https://wiki.aalto.fi/display/OPIT/Panopto. When you have the final audio, store it on the cloud (e.g on dropbox, icloud, youtube or Aalto’s Panopto). Please remember provide the link in your final submission.

Please note that non-completion of this assignment, or securing a grade of 2 or lower will result in unenrollment from the Venture Ideation course.

EDIT: While the pre-assignment report should have your insights from the interview, please do report your interpretation of what the entrepreneur has said, where relevant. Also, feel free to use direct quotes from the interview, to report impactful statements. The report should be readable on its own, with the actual recording only provided as an appendix.

EDIT: Please don't forget to reference the evaluation rubrics for this assignment, while writing up the assignment!