“Entrepreneurs jump off a cliff and build parachutes on their way down” – Reid Hoffman
This was the quote on the slides of Danny O’Brien, who is the Managing Director of EMEA & Global Programs at SVG Ventures. The MIAM 2021 had long been anticipating his arrival in Almería for the week-long workshop on entrepreneurship and startups.
Our students were divided into four teams and each came up with an agribusiness startup idea. Over five days, Danny taught them how to validate their idea, conduct research, quantify the market, conduct consumer interviews, and designate the roles of each team member.
Each group worked under time pressure to meet the deadlines between the end of each day and the beginning of the next, but they were fueled by enthusiasm and Danny’s assistance. Each team had unique startup ideas which were well refined by the third day, leaving just enough time for Danny to teach our students all about pitch decks and to help them develop and fine-tune their pitches before the long-awaited pitch day.
The final day was one of the most exciting days of the year for our MIAM students. Each team came to class ready to convince a panel of investors why their company should be awarded an investment. The panel included the CEO of ISAM, Germán Fernandez, Luis Castillo from Microsoft, and Leo Perez, formerly from Amazon.
Each team tackled an important and relevant problem in the agricultural sector, leaving the panel with a challenging decision when selecting a winner. Team Farm Fresh Fertilisers focused on reducing food waste and the consequential financial losses at the farm level in Nigeria with a composting and fertilizer solution. Team Flowerpop developed an innovative solution to simplify the sourcing of fresh flowers from Latin American growers to sellers based in the United States. Team Need for Seed applied modern dating apps to seeds, helping farmers and seed manufacturers to find their perfect match. The winning team, Team Zambisect, made use of a circular economy model to address animal waste and protein shortage issues in Zambia using insects to transform chicken manure into protein, lipids, and organic
Danny mentioned that he was very impressed with the quality of work the MIAM students were able to produce in such a short period of time. Our students thoroughly enjoyed learning from Danny and are definitely going to make use of the knowledge and skills gained from this session for their future startups.