Continuing our series of interviews with young entrepreneurs, we asked three questions to business owners on the challenges they faced when starting their companies, and what inspired them to launch their business ventures in the first place. 

Edology meets young entrepreneurs

Christiana Zoupa, co-founder and CEO of Oceanus Foundation

The Oceanus Foundation provides solutions which accelerate new technologies, notably blockchain, to improve the future of the shipping industry.

Christiana Zoupa

1. What inspired you to start your own business?

Innovation, ideas, and surrounding myself with people from different areas of business are the things that motivate me, and make me take action for positive change. Before the establishment of the Oceanus Foundation, my journey towards business initially began with my engagement as a volunteer for NGOs in different fields, and then with the establishment of an innovative educational NPO in Greece.

2. What challenges did you face?

Each business faces its own challenges. One of our biggest challenges was introducing such an innovative technology (blockchain technology & digital currencies) in the daily function of one of the most conservative business areas - the shipping industry. Another was the recruitment of the appropriate specialists with our limited budget, since we are a now-developing and self-financing company.

3. What’s your top piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?

There is no single piece of advice, since each company faces different challenges. The only advice that can be considered as useful by any young entrepreneur is to build a team with common vision, and that you can trust. Your team is your company, your family. Your team is you and what you represent. If you have a team that you can trust, then you have solved the biggest and the most severe challenge you will confront. With the right team, either in the easy or the difficult way, you can achieve anything.

Jules Schenkel, founder of Typeboost

Typeboost is an innovative app which helps support students around the world with the writing process using music.

Jules Schenkel

1. What inspired you to start your own business?

In high school I became very interested in building software. It was a dream of mine to build an awesome product and then to see someone that I didn’t know using it. My current company, Typeboost, was started because I struggled with writing essays in school. I felt I was wasting too much time, so I came up with the idea to use music to incentivize me to write continuously and finish my essays more quickly. Music plays when you type and the music stops when you stop typing, so you have to keep typing if you want to hear it. I built a beta version of Typeboost for Mac and released it to friends and classmates for free. I received great feedback and realized that Typeboost could really help people. Typeboost now has over 1,600,000 words typed, 1000+ users, and $6,000+ revenue since our official launch in October 2017.

2. What challenges did you face?

When I first had the idea for Typeboost, I didn’t have the technical skills to actually build it. Over the course of my freshman year in college, I taught myself how to program using online guides and videos. I am an economics major, so it took persistence and self-motivation to learn how to design, develop, and launch apps on my own.

3. What's your top piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?

My top piece of advice for young entrepreneurs is to validate as soon as possible whether people actually want your product or service. My understanding is that this can be done in two ways. If you are technical, you can build a simple version of the product/service quickly and see if it sticks. If you are not technical, you need to talk to your target customer and really understand the problem you are trying to solve and validate whether the problem is important to them. With Typeboost, I was solving my own problem and building a product for myself. When I launched, I got the feedback that I needed to verify that other students had the same problem as me, and that my product was adding value.

If you want to develop the skills needed to lead the businesses of the future, why not start it with Bachelor Business Management degree from The University of Law Business School?

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