A day long venture into the ever-changing world of startups

As part of this year’s World of Work Day (11.07.16), I shadowed Rajeeb Dey MBE, the Founder and CEO of Enternships.com, a platform that connects students and graduates to jobs and internships, many of which have an entrepreneurial twist.

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The fast-paced nature of entrepreneurship is striking, and I couldn’t help but feel you need the flexibility of an acrobat to succeed! With the desk often taking the form of a duffel bag, this is certainly not the career path for those who crave continuity. But most intriguingly, I found that while everyone was swinging from vine to vine in this wildly creative environment, there was a natural cohesion between all team members.

Regardless of one’s role in the company, I learnt that it is absolutely crucial to be able to communicate what you are working on to the rest of your team. Often colleagues have very different academic backgrounds, but I was amazed by the way everybody translated their developments into a language all the team members could follow. From chemistry to history, web development to economics, the office is like a motherboard where all the components communicate, with the result a whirring machine of productivity and efficiency.  

The first expedition consisted of a business breakfast co-hosted by Nesta and the Entrepreneurs Network. ‘Scaling Together’: an impressive panel compiled of some of the leading members of the entrepreneurial community, ranging from CEOs to Growth Builders, and Corporate Affairs Directors. After tentatively reaching for a croissant from the breakfast table, I slipped into the chair beside Raj (myself without a nameplate), very aware of my status as ‘Guest’. A circle of brief introductions opened my eyes to the faces behind the names of some of these corporations, and the sheer amount of experience around the room loomed ahead of me like a crag.

I was held in the curious silence that comes hand in hand with awe, as the discussion visualised the concepts behind procurement processes and the corporate groups’ interests in start-up accelerators-  at least for an amateur still picking up the jargon. Needless to say, the room was a sponge of information during those 90 minutes and I did everything in my capability to absorb a great deal – though the only explanation for the shaky handwriting in my notes was my overwhelming nervousness! The morning passed quickly, and I also found that the croissant was also of the finest quality.

In a silent struggle to keep up with Raj’s fast pace, we arrived at our next meeting just on time – which was a one-to-one meeting at the law firm ‘Jag Shaw Baker’. I was over my head with long words and short abbreviations which were unfamiliar to me, however the relaxed and friendly environment made the experience a very valuable one, where my questions were clearly answered! I had, for a long time, been lead into a misconception that corporate or business work was restrictive or monotonous, but the biggest takeaway for me was that this is not true, and there are faces and vibrant personalities behind every hidden curtain.

In short, the whole day was a new experience and it opened my eyes to the versatility and openness of work in or with a startup business. I’m extremely glad to have spend World of Work Day 2016 in an ever-changing environment- where there is so much to learn from.

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