Dana Dementyeva came from an international relations background when she began studying at Business School Lausanne. Having previously worked with the United Nations, she had become frustrated with the lack of openness to change within different industries. “The corporate world can be very resistant to change and averse to risk,” Dana explains, “I wanted the opportunity to start something myself.”
Seeking an avenue through which she could enter an exciting, progressive new career, Dana found herself at BSL. “I’d never been to Switzerland before, and it was all very new to me,” Dana says, reflecting back on when she first arrived.
As Dana began her studies and learned more about the business environment in Switzerland, she made a startling discovery. She noticed that Switzerland could be quite closed off to entrepreneurs, and decided to personally take it upon herself to change the situation for the better. Dana partnered with BSL to form incub&co, an incubator that helps support new startups in the country. Continue reading to learn more about this collaboration, and how Dana has been changing entrepreneurship in Switzerland.
How Our Business School in Switzerland Helped Prepare Dana for Success
The education that Dana received at BSL helped to prepare her for her later success with incub&co. “BSL provided me with a lot of business knowledge, which I needed to actually start this current initiative,” Dana reflects fondly. She recalls how she was surprised at how different from Anglo-Saxon education it was, with BSL professors spending a lot of time personally helping students prepare for success.
Part of the benefit of attaining an MIB degree at BSL is the small class sizes, enabling closer attention from professors, as well as fostering connections between peers. “The connections I made with other students while at school was invaluable,” says Dana, adding that “This helps me in my current work, as a number of my past classmates are now my clients. I made connections with people all through the world, in Kenya, Australia, Canada, the US, and throughout Europe.”
Switzerland’s Need for Startups
The incub&co initiative was created in collaboration with BSL out of a real need, noticed by Dana during her studies. “It’s important for international students to stay entrepreneurs and create their own startups,” Dana argues. “This is essential for a healthy business environment in Switzerland.” To help put her solution to action, Dana collaborated with BSL and a few colleagues to create incub&co, renting out a floor of the BSL building.
incub&co is an incubator for new entrepreneurial ideas. “We bank on entrepreneurs themselves. We’re innovative and idea-centric, with a special focus on any investment, advisory, and legal issues that foreigners in Switzerland might have,” Dana explains. incub&co offers idea support, partnerships, and IT support to up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are interested in developing their ideas into something big.
incub&co’s Fantastic Entrepreneurial Work
For students enrolling in this business school in Switzerland, the existence of incub&co and the support it offers can make all the difference. BSL and incub&co collaborate closely. “BSL is involved in content curation and part of the advisory board,” explains Dana. “They curate the startups and provide a lot of helpful advice.” Excitingly for future and current students, incub&co is also now integrated directly into the education at BSL through the Capstone programme. “Students have the opportunity to create startups while they are students. This works to foster entrepreneurial spirit,” says Dana.
Currently, incub&co is involved in several exciting projects. “Startups we’re working with are interested in solution-based initiatives for the COVID-19 crisis,” says Dana. “One company developed an app that uses QR codes to track infection spreads, for example.” Many startups are tech-focused, involved in blockchain or cost-cutting digitization. But they are as diverse as BSL students and their many interests. “One company we’re working with is a watchmaking business,” says Dana. The incub&co project is just one exciting part of the educational experience at BSL.
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