Is entrepreneurship luck or hard hard work?

Donnerstag, 27. August 2020
The Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and SMEs (CENTIM) at Bonn Rhein Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS) - organises a conservational hour with start-up founders “sprech:stunde “. This is an opportunity for students and aspiring entrepreneurs to learn about the journey and the experience of other young entrepreneurs and to exchange ideas with them.

In June 2020, we had the opportunity of welcoming two guest lecturers to a virtual sprech:stunde in the International Management class: Eda-Sun Dogan and Lucas Paes de Melo took us on their own personal journey and showed us what makes their founder experience unique.

Eda is a fulltime student at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University is also the co-founder of Scherzcakes, a startup that specialises in designing and baking customised premium cakes and pastries. Lucas is the co-founder and CEO of AMPARO, an award-winning social impact entrepreneurship that develops innovative and affordable prostheses.

Ein buntes Bild mit Kuchen auf Spießen, sogenannte Cake-Pops.
© Scherz Cakes & Bakes

Eda’s story: “Entrepreneurship is not luck; it is a mixture of opportunity and hard work”

Some student entrepreneurs arrive on campus knowing that they want to start a company and others were born knowing they wanted to be an entrepreneur. When Eda-Sun started her International Business studies at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, she came as an entrepreneur.

Eda-Sun is the co-founder and head of Finance, Marketing and Operations at Scherzcakes, a family venture that sells handcrafted premium cakes in and within Cologne. “Scherzcakes is a product of hard work, determination and passion” says Eda-Sun. Fatma, Eda-Sun’s business partner and mother, crafts the cakes which are customised to meet the customers’ dietary and budget requirements. The company uses social media and its website to communicate to its customers and process all orders. Since its founding, Scherzcakes has always focussed on creating a value for its customers has helped create a loyal customer base which has proven beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked what entrepreneurship to her: Eda-Sun shared that she believes that the success she and her family has had is due to hard work and perseverance. She explains that there are many challenges you have to deal with on your way to success and for her, the difficulty of managing coursework while managing her own company is real.

The takeaway: “To be a successful entrepreneur, you must have a passion for learning – from customers, employees and even competitors. Secondly, you need perseverance, when challenges arise, you do not give up on your ideas but instead pursue innovative ways of overcoming them " –  Eda-Sun, Co-Founder Scherzcakes

Ein Mann mit einem Bein sitzt auf einem Stuhl. Eine zweite Person hält den Stumpf in den Händen.
© Amparo

Lucas’ story: “know yourself and your values before starting a business”

Looking back, Lucas never thought that his background in Public Health and Design Thinking would lead him to where he is today. Lucas is the CEO and co-founder of Amparo – an impact-oriented tech start-up that provides innovative and life-changing prosthetics for below-knee amputees around the world.

“Can you imagine that around 80% of the world’s lower limb amputees do not have access to modern ...”

“The road to entrepreneurship is non-linear, it is filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks and dead ends – so you need to know yourself very well” commented Lucas. Despite having a brilliant idea, Lucas and his other co-founders experienced drawbacks in different phases such as the prototype development and, of course, funding did not come through immediately. These hardships that caused sleepless nights did not stop them but instead motivated them to bring their vision – to provide affordable and comfortable prostheses.

With time Lucas and his leadership team have used the vision to create and establish an embracing organisational culture which is underlined by shared values of the people working together.

When asked about the key elements for starting and running a successful business: Lucas replied “a vision, a great team and learning”. Lucas stressed that having a great employees big part of his company’s culture and that being an entrepreneur comes with a huge learning curve.

The takeaway: “Vision drives an entrepreneur, the leadership and the entire team. And being a successful entrepreneur also means being people-oriented. As an entrepreneur you have to build a strong team with people who share your values and cares about their work - you personally invest in your team for your idea to thrive.”

The Final Word

Although all Scherzcakes and Amparo have different backstories and circumstances, there is a common thread tying them together: The road to business success is not an easy one. You will experience hardship, obstacles, detractors, and decisions that seem impossible - but with hard work, perseverance, determination and an idea you are passionate about, you can get yourself on the road to success. Give entrepreneurship a try!

Thank you Eda-Sun and Lucas for your time and contribution.

About CENTIM

Are you interested in getting involved in entrepreneurship, but you are not quite sure where to start? We at CENTIM want to encourage anyone interested in entrepreneurship to give it a go.

This guest lecture was supported by the Global Digital Lecture Series.
We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Bode Vicepresident for International Affairs and Diversity and Mrs Regina Brautlacht in her capacity as the Presidential Commissioner / Advisor for Global Digital Learning for the financial support.