Archivo del October, 2012

Lessons from the euro crisis

barber 300x199 Lessons from the euro crisisLionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, came to ESADE this week to deliver an address on the euro crisis on a very special day for us: the opening ceremony for the 2012-2013 academic year.

We start this new academic year at ESADE in a context that is extremely difficult and uncertain. The economic and social crisis has reached its fifth year, and its negative impact on individuals, families and institutions continues to spiral. These are hard times for Spain.

Lionel’s speech about the euro crisis was very powerful, full of strong, well-argued messages that invited global reflection and kept its distance from the blaming game that dominates the political debate in Europe. If we want to get out of this crisis before it’s too late, we need to start taking serious action. Procrastination will only exacerbate the damage, and the consequences of inaction may be devastating. We cannot afford for this to happen.

Today, what we need more than ever, as Lionel said, is political courage and decisive action. We should not forget what John F. Kennedy once said: In a crisis, be aware of the danger, but recognise the opportunity. Europe can get back on track. We just need to remember that if we work together towards the same goals, we’ll achieve them much faster.

See the full text of Lionel Barber’s speech at the Financial Times

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Good News for Entrepreneurs in Barcelona

kantox 300x168 Good News for Entrepreneurs in BarcelonaI’ve always admired entrepreneurs – their ability to step out of their comfort zone and take risks, their creativity, their capacity to overcome adversity, their visionary attitude. They say that true entrepreneurs never quit, and that they always find the strength to keep going even when times get really tough. Stories of entrepreneurs are among my favourite, because behind a great idea there’s always a profound story to tell.

The other day I came across a few of these stories while reading the newspaper. It was an interesting article about new technology-based start-ups in Barcelona, and how the city is becoming a pole of attraction for entrepreneurs in the IT sector. Among these new start-ups was King, a social games platform that has settled in Barcelona with an initial investment of 2 million euros, and Kantox, an online currency exchange platform that saves users paying bank charges. Kantox was co-founded by Antonio Rami, a former ESADE student (Lic&MBA 09). His visionary business idea, which has just raised one million euros in funding, is a clear demonstration that successful innovation can come from anywhere in the world, and that Barcelona is a good platform to push ideas forward.

Another featured story was an innovative taxi finder app business, which has just closed an investment round of 3 million euros. Perhaps the most interesting part of this start-up is how it was created, thanks to the push given in the business accelerator Inspirit Labs, founded by entrepreneur Didac Lee. His high-tech accelerator has fuelled many new technology-based start-ups in Barcelona – Spamina, Zyncro, Conzentra and The eTailers among others – which are expanding through major venture capital investments.

Did you know that every year, more than a thousand new start-ups are created in the city of Barcelona through the City Council’s business incubator Barcelona Activa? Today, Barcelona is home to some of the most well-established start-ups with a worldwide presence. The city is becoming a cradle for digital entrepreneurs, and I believe that business schools, in one way or another, are contributing to this growth and emergence of new start-ups.

If I had to convey a message to an entrepreneur who was just starting out, this is what I would tell him or her: Find the courage to pursue your dreams, believe in yourself when you go through hard times, and don’t give up. The future is full of possibilities.

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ESADE Alumni: Builders and Protagonists of the Future

alumni 300x203 ESADE Alumni: Builders and Protagonists of the FutureYesterday, more than 1,000 ESADE graduates came together for the 6th ESADE Alumni Annual Conference. Madrid’s Palacio de Congresos was abuzz with excitement and positive energy: excitement at reuniting with old friends and classmates, and positive energy because our guest speakers – Spanish Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos, Telefónica CEO José M. Álvarez-Pallete, and ESADE Alumni President Miguel Trias – inspired us to look ahead to a future rich with opportunity that holds a place for every one of us.

Time and again, two themes emerged: innovation and entrepreneurship, two pillars essential to stimulating the national economy and repositioning Spain’s companies and professionals on the world stage. But there’s more to it than that. As José M. Álvarez-Pallete noted in his talk on initiatives such as Wayra, we need innovation and entrepreneurship to drive transformation and growth.

Many of our alumni take the leap and commit to an idea – their idea. To be sure, launching a business means taking risks and investing time and money. But with hard work, enthusiasm and motivation, these professionals have defied their main competitor – themselves – and made their dreams come true. I’m talking about Manel Adell of Desigual, Antonio Rami of Kantox, Andrea Lisbona of Touchland, María Alegre of Chartboost, Jacinto Roca of, Pere Costa of Bicentury, Miquel Àngel Bonachera of AB-BIOTICS, José Manuel Villanueva of Privalia… and many others.

In fact, yesterday’s participants included José Manuel Villanueva’s business partner, Lucas Carné, as well as Miguel Silva, who co-founded Blusens. ESADE’s Javier Santiso, in a vibrant talk entitled “Spain 3.0”, discussed his origins, challenges and successes. I came away with two insights about entrepreneurs: their passion and their ability to say NO to fear.

Like these entrepreneurs, many of you have found support at ESADE thanks to our faculty, experts and professionals, as well as initiatives such as the ESADE Entrepreneurship Institute, ESADECREAPOLIS, EGarage and our networking events.

Did you know that ESADE BAN has raised more than 20 million euros to finance Start Up Spain? Through this excellent initiative and others, Javier and his team have showcased Spain’s entrepreneurial capacity. I am so grateful for their steadfast commitment to Spanish entrepreneurs and the innovation economy.

Businesspeople and entrepreneurs: we are dedicated to people like you. At ESADE, you can share and develop ideas and embark on new journeys. At this hub of education and knowledge, you can acquire skills for today’s globalised world and learn to shape your own future.

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Why predicting climate change can be good for business

Foto 300x225 Why predicting climate change can be good for businessA few days ago, I received an email from the founder of Fahrenheit Risk International, Sergi Corbatera. He had attended my Entrepreneurship classes two years ago, and went on to found the company after graduating from ESADE (Lic&MDE, 2011). His business idea is interesting. The company offers tools for businesses to manage the financial risks derived from climate change.

Apparently, climate change can have an impact on businesses, and more than one would think. Around 80% of the world’s global economic activity depends on the weather, which means that any sector of the economy can be affected by climate change, in one way or another. Sergi’s idea is interesting for many businesses, and it covers a market niche in Europe. The company is growing quickly, and it has recently signed an alliance with Weather Trends International to offer European companies a system to forecast the weather a year in advance with 80% accuracy.

Sergi is a good example of an entrepreneur who embraces innovation. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.

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