Everything started through a regular e-mail, which sent to my YPARD Russia group, where I’ve asked the participants whether they have some ideas or wishes to perform some actions together. I got a reply from Katy Bessonova (Project manager at SIANI and YPARD Russia group member) who introduced me to the world of SIANI – Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative. After a few emails back and forth we realized that YPARD and SIANI have a lot in common and in turn opened fantastic opportunities for future cooperation.
I was invited to present the YPARD network at the workshop on Sustainable Agriculture in Stockholm held in May 2017. The workshop was organized for young professionals, mainly for students in Sweden. It was a one-day workshop, devoted to agricultural agripreneurship with specific focus on Africa.
Great speakers, like Kostas Karantininis (Professor in Business Administration, SLU), Ylva Hillbur, (Pro Vice-Chancellor for International relations at SLU), and Steven Carr, (Independent Consultant) made presentations during the event.
I was especially inspired by the speech of Micael Edler, who moved from Sweden to Africa to start his business; he organized the production, packaging and export of cashew from Africa to Sweden. Being Swedish, he perfectly knows the final consumers preferences and requirements and has organized the business to reach them.
Besides the various speeches and presentations, there was also a panel discussion and work in group during the workshop during which I was positively impressed by active participation of youth, their interest in the topic, their knowledge and enthusiasm. Three Ph.D. students from Upsala University presented their projects which were perfect examples of youth building up a successful career in agriculture.
Little lessons learned
- If you want to start your business, start it on a small scale, see how it works, learn from mistakes and then scale up. The only way to do business is by trying and failing. Failing is a part of success.
- Entrepreneurship requires two types of skills: management, which one can learn and entrepreneurial spirit, which is in born;
- The true entrepreneur doesn’t need free money, just good conditions to borrow them;
- Take a lead and be an example for others;
- Get to know and use your own strength, and integrate them in a local context;
- Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks, to step into the unknown;
- Open your mind and look for opportunities even where you wouldn’t expect them;
- Be creative;
- Help other people, providing them jobs, knowledge and opportunities;
- Work down the supply chain;
- Be competitive – innovate!
- Just do it!
I hope that you can pick up some of them, and apply in your future career and life.
I am very thankful to SIANI and to YPARD for giving me this great opportunity to participate in the event, to share my experience, to exchange ideas with others and to gain knowledge and inspiration.
My advice to you my fellow young entrepreneurs “Be active – build up your future!”
You can view or download the video and presentations from the event here
Picture credit: Iana Perevoshchikova