MEST Welcomes I-Dev International, Main One Cable Company, Honeywell Group, and more for Guest Lecture Weekend

Sylvana Lewin, Wednesday June 20th 2018

It’s hard to believe, but three months have already gone by since the last Guest Lecture Weekend at MEST! We’ve reached the halfway point of our final NewCo projects, and this year’s Entrepreneurs in Training are hard at work preparing to pitch for seed funding in August.

On the weekend of June 16th, the MEST Community came together to welcome I-Dev International CEO Jason Spindler, Main One Cable Company CEO Funke Opeke, Honeywell Group Head of Innovation and Sustainability Tomi Otudeko, J.E. Berman Associates CEO Jonathan Berman, and Holmes Weinberg Partner Michael Leventhal.

[caption id="attachment_6984" align="aligncenter" width="665"]MEST Community members celebrate Guest Lecture Weekend. MEST Community members celebrate Guest Lecture Weekend.[/caption]

Spindler Emphasizes Passion

Jason Spindler kicked off Saturday morning’s talks by introducing his passion framework for entrepreneurship. He urged community members to find their own passions and make sure they know their “why”. Emphasizing how difficult the entrepreneurial path is, he explained, “If you aren’t really excited about what you’re doing, it’s going to be a hard, hard battle.”

Talking about finding his own passion and launching I-Dev International, Spindler pointed to 9/11 as the moment he knew he wanted to work to create economic stability around the world. From traveling the world to being his own boss, founding I-Dev has allowed him to create a work environment he is truly passionate about. However, the path was not always easy and took a lot of turns. He told us, “Find out everything there is to know about your passion, and you’ll find some way to make money out of it.”

[caption id="attachment_6981" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Jason Spindler speaks to EITs at June 2018 Guest Lecture Weekend. Jason Spindler speaks to EITs at June 2018 Guest Lecture Weekend.[/caption]

Opeke Talks Success

After a brief outline of her career and how she ended up as a later in life entrepreneur, Funke Opeke delved into what makes an entrepreneur successful. From the proper preparation to a few failures, to a little bit of luck, Opeke stressed that there are a lot of ingredients that go into creating successful entrepreneurship. She stated, “Knowing your market is key. Understanding government policies and potential changes to policies is another important step.”

When tackling the African market, Opeke believes there are both unique challenges and phenomenal opportunities for success. She explained, “The opportunity we have as Africans transforming Africa is that we can transform people’s lives and gain global recognition.”

[caption id="attachment_6983" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Funke Opeke speaks at June 2018 Guest Lecture Weekend. Funke Opeke speaks at June 2018 Guest Lecture Weekend.[/caption]

Otudeko Looks at Herself as an MVP

Tomi Otudeko took a different view of her entrepreneurial journey, choosing to see her journey as her development, incubation, acceleration, and growth as an MVP. In each stage of the journey, she emphasized there were important and unique lessons to be learned. Earlier on in the journey, she stressed, “Be open; see the world. It changes your perspective. Even within your own country.”

Moving forward, she recognized the power of being a generalist, the importance of pivot-ability, and the never ending power of learning. When discussing drive, she stated “It’s important to know that no one owes you anything. Nothing comes for free.”

Speaking in particular about the Nigerian market, she encouraged our entrepreneurs to never compromise their values, stating, “Running a business in Nigeria is a hard slog. Through that, it’s important that you maintain your values. You can’t compromise. Sometimes you want to take a shortcut, but you know it will come back to bite you.”

[caption id="attachment_6982" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Tomi Otudeko gives MEST EITs pitch feedback during June 2018 Guest Lecture Weekend. Tomi Otudeko gives MEST EITs pitch feedback during June 2018 Guest Lecture Weekend.[/caption]

Berman Talks Experience

Berman wrapped up the talks with an impromptu speech on fear and experience. He stressed the importance of using your fears to your benefit, explaining how he turned his greatest fears into his friends. Tackling the issue of experience, he explained that no one starts with a wealth of experience, but they grow it through hard work. He advised, “Begin with hard work to make up for lack of experience, and courage to back-up the hard work.”

Following talks from our guests, EITs hit the stage to pitch. Having reached the midpoint mark of development for their final business proposals in August, these pitches served as an opportunity to receive feedback from industry experts before pitching for seed funding in August. EITs pitched ideas ranging from health tech to travel tech to EdTech and beyond! We already can’t wait to see which companies will be joining the incubators in August!

Interested in learning more about what’s happening at MEST? Learn more about Dropque at the PeaceTech Accelerator and Qisimah at Primavera Pro!