While the world-changing potential in startups is sometimes overhyped, successful startups do have the potential to create a significant positive impact on the world. And even when startups fail, they still have an impact, especially through the learnings for the founders, employees, investors and other stakeholders.
Tesla, for example, has led the way in redefining the entire car industry. Ten years ago electric cars seemed at best an oddity, but now they look a great deal like the future of cars. Without the pioneering spirit of Tesla, the car industry itself would have been very unlikely to take this new direction. The positive impact of Tesla on the climate is likely quite significant directly due to their being adopted and indirectly through the entire car industry’s shifting to more sustainable solutions.
Startups have also shaken the very foundations of our economic systems, in particular through the now commonplace “sharing economy.” Pioneers like housing-sharing Airbnb and ridesharing Uber, Lyft or Didi Kuaidi have led the way to a significant amount of new sharing startups enabling us to share bikes, electric scooters and even parking spots. This has a big impact on consumption and therefore not only the economy, but also the ecology of the planet.
Of course, there are more and more startups whose endgame itself is to have an impact. Finnish Meru Health won the mental health category at UCSF Digital Health Awards. Other startups are looking into climate change, education, health and food – to name a few key areas – with the aim of combining impact and successful business.
Startups are one of the most promising ways to solve the critical problems humanity is facing because they can react much faster to problems that arise and can innovate solutions more freely than traditional corporations. The startup ecosystem, in turn, enables the prototyping and market testing of a massive number of new potential innovations, accelerating the progress through which pressing global issues can be solved.
Finally, startups have an impact also on the lives of the startup entrepreneurs themselves. By embarking on a startup journey, the entrepreneur will learn a great deal about discovering actual problems, innovating solutions, analyzing markets and building the organization and processes to support these activities. This helps the entrepreneur develop an entrepreneurial mindset, through which they can also contribute to other life activities, even if they later end up working in a more traditional organization.
This is just the beginning
Entrepreneurship is about solving problems and building new things. Entrepreneurship is important especially nowadays when we have to learn how to operate in an increasingly changing world. It includes both a mindset point of view, where problems are seen as opportunities and failures as learning experiences, and skills that help you learn to solve problems and build something new.
Practicing entrepreneurial attitudes and abilities are useful even if you are not yet looking to start your own business. They help you to see the challenges of work and life in a more diverse way, and also to solve problems that would be difficult or even impossible to solve using traditional means.
If you find a problem, a solution, a market, and a team that truly inspire you, you can also consider starting your own business. Entrepreneurship is a great adventure and one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. At its best, it can bring significant opportunities for success. At the very least, it provides experiences for learning and development that would otherwise be unlikely to occur.
In this course, we have covered the basics of entrepreneurship and discussed the key points and practices of starting a business. With these tools, you already have the opportunity to push your business dream forward.
We hope that you have learned new techniques and insights into entrepreneurship during this course. If you do decide to go with your business, good luck! You are one of the pioneers for creating an ever-brighter future!
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Kiuas is one of the leading startup accelerators in the Nordics, bringing early-stage startups together and providing them with the best support and tools to take their progress to the next level.
Maki.vc is an early stage venture capital firm dedicated to partnering with founders who never conform to category standards.
AVP is the entrepreneurship education program at Aalto University. Students in multidisciplinary teams do hands-on exercises and gain tools, ready to be used to construct a startup or to renovate an existing company. We teach students to build like an entrepreneur.
Reaktor Education partners with world-class organisations and education providers to develop online courses and digital learning solutions designed to empower all people to participate in a rapidly-evolving globalised society.