Uppsala network hosts entrepreneurship workshop

The Uppsala NFGL network recently held a workshop in entrepreneurship - and how to create a job instead of just looking for one. Network board member Maxim Vlasov explains what the team learned.

Uppsala network hosts entrepreneurship workshop
Photo: Mutasim Billah

It’s not a secret that finding a job in Sweden is not an easy task, especially for an international student without many contacts and with only foreign experience.

Imagine how instead of looking for a job, you could create a job for yourself and even for many others. The members of the Uppsala NFGL network took part in a creative workshop session on entrepreneurship led by Drivhuset, where they learned how to generate ideas and communicate them to others.

Photo: Mutasim Billah

Ideas are the root of any start-up. Ideas are everywhere – they come from research, news, books and even daily conversations, and success is in the ability to identify them. It’s not unusual that business ideas emerge from annoyance at certain routines like smelly clothes after a workout or ripped leggings, because there is room for improvement. 

Even more common are ideas that are just an addition to existing things. Remember – you don’t have to be unique, as long as you can detect existing problems and come up with an adjusted and superior solution.

Photo: Mutasim Billah

There are many ways to generate ideas. One of them is focused on problems: identify existing needs, narrow your target group and think of possible products and services that you might work with. Another way is to concentrate on yourself and see which experiences, interests, skills, resources and connections you have. If you are in a group, this technique can provide a precious pool of insights for generating new ideas.

Read also: Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of

"The workshop helped me realize that it is not always big, new or unique ideas that make a successful entrepreneur," said participant Huda Muhammad Abdurahman, at Uppsala University. "From now on, I will be keeping my eyes wide open for even small things around me that can be turned into opportunities."

Photo: Mutasim Billah

Having a good idea is not enough though – you also have to get it across! A famous technique called pitching allows you to make an impression on listeners with a short (30 seconds to 2 minutes) message. Imagine you are in an elevator with someone important, and in a limited amount of time you need to convince this person to do the next step, be that exchanging business cards, booking lunch, or even buying your product.

A pitch consists of 6 steps:

1) Interest – create interest with a rhetorical question, metaphor, humor; good rhetoric is important

2) Problem – say what the problem/need is, what consequences and impacts it brings

3) Solution – offer your solution and say how it solves the problem

4) Benefits – elaborate on benefits/values that your solutions creates

5) Competition – show why competitors are inferior to your idea

6) Close – what has to happen after the pitch? (ex. sign-up for newsletter, visit your café)

The main rule is to stay clear and focused. It is important to create trust and to show your passion.

Photo: Mutasim Billah

Business is also about routines – how to protect your idea, secure funding, seek permits, choose a right corporate form and manage bookkeeping. We briefly went through these technicalities and learned about some recent start-up examples from Uppsala.

The entrepreneurship workshop was so inspirational, insightful and motivating," SLU student Jackson Musona said.  "We learned how one can start a successful business in Sweden and the likely sources of support for such.Thanks to SI and organizers, and I think that workshops of such nature should be organized more frequently."

There might be numerous realized ideas out there, but it doesn’t mean there is no place for you to enter the scene. Even if your first attempt fails, don’t give up. Never be discouraged and walk to your dream with your head up.

P.S. Did you know that as an international student you can get visa based on your own business? Read details here – Migrationsverket.

Text written by NFGL member Maxim Vlasov. All photos by NFGL member Mutasim Billah. 


Volvo profits plummet on rising material costs

Swedish automaker Volvo Cars said on Thursday that rising raw material costs and inflation had driven down profits in the third quarter.

Volvo profits plummet on rising material costs

The group posted a net profit of 665 million kronor ($61 million) in the July-September period, a drop of 71 percent compared to 2.3 billion kronor during the same quarter a year ago.

The figure was far below analysts’ forecasts of between 2.15 and 2.19 billion kronor, according to Bloomberg and Factset.

The company’s share price was down by around seven percent in midday trading on the Stockholm stock exchange.

Chief executive Jim Rowan said the company was hit hard by rising raw material prices, record inflation, higher interest rates and the war in Ukraine.

“The macroeconomic uncertainties around the world weighed on our third quarter performance”, he said in a statement.

Revenue meanwhile rolled in slightly higher than analysts’ expectations, rising by 30 percent to 79.3 billion kronor, boosted by “robust” demand for the company’s SUVs.

Analysts had predicted third quarter sales of between 78.1 and 78.7 billion kronor.

Retail sales declined however in some markets, including its main markets Europe and the United States, where the number of vehicles sold fell by 14 and 32 percent respectively.

The carmaker insisted however that its order book remained solid.

Volvo Cars, which aims to have an all-electric fleet by 2030, also reported “sharp pick-up” for its fully-electric vehicles at the end of the quarter, especially in September.

It said sales of fully-electric cars soared by 87 percent in the third quarter, accounting for seven percent of its total sales during the period.

The company, a subsidiary of Chinese group Geely, said manufacturing output continued to improve in the third quarter, but “unforeseen factors” such as power outages and Covid-19 related lockdowns in China “slowed down the pace of normalisation”.

It expected production, wholesale and retail growth in the second half of the year.

“For the full year 2022, we expect slightly lower wholesale volumes than 2021, assuming no further major supply chain disturbances. Wholesale and retail volumes will be on similar levels”, it said.