Empowering Entrepreneurs: Key Insights from the INSEAD Entrepreneurship Forum 2023

Dean Francisco Veloso and Nancy Hseih Executive Director, INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship
Dean Francisco Veloso and Nancy Hseih Executive Director, INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship

The INSEAD Entrepreneurship Forum, organised by the Rudolf and Valeria Maag INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship, proved to be a pivotal event, uniting visionaries, budding entrepreneurs, and seasoned professionals in a celebration of innovation and transformation. This year’s forum, held in September in Lisbon in collaboration with the Portugal National Alumni Association, drew over 180 attendees and highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit that lies at the heart of INSEAD's values while offering attendees a wealth of insights and inspiration.

Attendees of the INSEAD Entrepreneurship Forum 2023
Watch the highlights of the INSEAD Entrepreneurship Forum 2023 on YouTube

"Entrepreneurship is the foundation and one of the core values of INSEAD." - Dean Francisco Veloso

The event commenced with an opening speech by Dean Francisco Veloso, emphasizing that entrepreneurship is a core value at INSEAD. INSEAD is ranked by Pitchbook as #1 outside of the US and #4 globally for MBA founders, having raised an impressive $23 billion in capital. Many INSEAD founders begin their entrepreneurship journey through the programmes offered by the Maag INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship such as the Startup Bootcamp and Venture Competition. 

A recurring theme throughout the event was the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in economic renewal and transformation, especially during turbulent times. The success stories of companies like Uber and Twitter, which emerged during the challenging year of 2009, illustrated how innovation often thrives amidst adversity.   
The event delved into the realms of science and technology. Collaborations between universities and high-tech firms were showcased as drivers of innovation. These partnerships exemplified how scientific ideas can be transformed into marketable products and services. The impact of 5G on innovation was explored by NOS, a Portuguese telecommunications company and one of the Forum’s sponsors, and its role in bridging the corporate-academic divide.

The need for practical skills amongst entrepreneurs was emphasised, noting the significance of leadership training. Veloso discussed the transition from foundational skills to an entrepreneurial mindset and underlined that being an entrepreneur can often mean taking on multiple roles.

Carlos Moedas, the Mayor of Lisbon, drew parallels between entrepreneurship and politics, highlighting the need for initiatives that foster innovation, social responsibility, and a thriving startup ecosystem.
The second day of the Forum covered topics including funding, AI, machine learning, and the intricacies of startup exits. Attendees received practical advice on securing venture capital, building investor relationships, and cultivating a robust support network.

"INSEAD Entrepreneurship Forum is a unique place to discuss recent trends and to meet current and future unicorns." – James Kellet MBA’20J  and co-founder of Spot Ship, a digital assistant for ship brokers. 

The 2023 INSEAD Entrepreneurship Forum provided attendees with a rich tapestry of insights, knowledge, and inspiration, in a safe environment that encouraged asking questions and connecting with alumni and fellow entrepreneurs. This event showcased INSEAD's dedication to nurturing and celebrating entrepreneurship, making it an invaluable resource for students and alumni venturing into the world of startups and innovation. 

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