Attending International Leadership & Entrepreneurship Program (IVLP) in the USA
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
It was a great honor for me to join the IVLP Group on a tour in the USA. From meeting leaders, important figures and sharing values, we had a chance to also visit some historical places.
Our trip has begun with Washington D.C. - the city of my unrelenting fixation. From that spot, Martin Luther King Jr. The American civil rights activist delivered his public speech “I Have a Dream" at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28th, 1963. He made a call to action for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. Since then, many things have been changed in the country. A significant lesson learned is that every great dream begins with a dreamer. Everyone of us should remember that we have the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world!
As Lincoln said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” I strongly believe that we need to proceed with our dreams till it becomes a reality.
Washington D.C. was very productive - met many government officials and learned about governmental support and programs for entrepreneurs and small businesses. As part of my participation in the International IT Entrepreneurship program 2019, I had the great honor to visit: The White House, U.S. Department of State, World Diplomatic Organization, The George Washington University, Meridian International Center, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), United Nations Foundation, and many other private sector organizations, startups, accelerators, government institutions, where I met with investors and public figures, consultants and decision-makers. Not only have I learned about the international contribution they are making, I have also discovered the US system of the government (which is Federalism), and the decentralized nature which supports the startup eco-system from Mr. Akram Elias - the president and CEO of Capital Communications Group. Therefore, we have shared our ideas and proposals to make our regions and countries better.
Another yet important meeting was with Brian Park - the former CEO for startup Grind, and Mark Moseley the best kicker in Washington Redskins history and franchise developer for Five Guys.
San Francisco is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions including the University of San Francisco and Stanford University. It is the city of high-tech and startups, known as one of the truly international cities in the United States and a place noted for its picturesque beauty and hospitality. San Francisco is also a major financial and insurance center, an international port, and the gateway to Silicon Valley - America's premier high-technology center.
Therefore, I had the great honor to visit: 1. 500 Startups 2. Institute of International Education (IIE) 3. Haas School of Business - UC Berkeley 4. Sillicon Valley California 5. Plug and Play Tech Center 6. US Market Access Center 7. University of California
Learned about venture capital firms and Tech Innovation, women in entrepreneurship, how to have Silicon Valley pitching skills, funding and starting businesses in the USA market, alongside with many workshops and sessions with the biggest VC's, public figures and investors.
It was my honor to conduct discussions with brilliant people such as Ms. Nancy Hayes - Angel Investor/ Managing Director of Golden Seeds; Mr. Thomas Jeng - Director, Global Innovation & Partnerships at 500 Startups; Ms. Rhonda Shrader - Executive Director Berkeley-Haas - Entrepreneurship Program & National Science Foundation’s I-Corps, Bay Area Node; and Mr. Chris Burry - CEO of US Market Access Center Inc. (USMAC).
Our third visit within the international IT Entrepreneurship Program was in Chicago. This city is a leader in many key industries including: architecture, business and financial services, manufacturing, information technology, architecture, health services, education systems, tourism, communication and transportation. It has more than 400 major corporate headquarters and 31 Fortune 500 companies. During our trip in Chicago, we visited:
1- Ignite Technology and Innovation 2- Catapult Chicago 3- FinTank
Have personally met and discussed with wonderful people such as Mr.Tracy Powell, who is the Founder of Ignite Technology and Innovation Inc. He is a humble and amazing guy who built an astonishing co-working space for underprivileged youth in Chicago. The space is almost fully done from repurposed materials.
More than that, I have met with Mr. Edward E Gordon - the founder and President of Imperial Consulting Corporation in Chicago and the author of the book: "Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis." I even had the privilege of getting a signed copy!
Besides business, Chicago is a breathtaking place! Visiting SkyDeck Chicago (Willis Tower) where I saw Chicago in snow from the 103th floor standing on a glass was truly a unique experience. I understand now why Barack Obama said: "Let me tell you something. I’m from Chicago. I don’t break." People from here have a special spirit and a huge attitude to make change.
Syracuse & New York City
Mark Twain once said: "Make your mark in New York and you are a made man." My last but not the least stop in the USA was New York State, where I had the chance to visit Syracuse and New York City. Here, I learned more about IT entrepreneurship and economic development from small to medium enterprises and business development programs. Therefore, we visited inspirational places where tradition meets innovation in progress.
1- Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship 2- Syracuse University 3- The Tech Garden 4- United Nations Headquarter 5- Digital Media Center 6- Terakeet, TCGplayer.com
I have met and discussed with wonderful people such as Mr. Mark Kennedy - the President of Terakeet. Terakeet is an enterprise SEO company that leverages significant organic search engine visibility in highly competitive categories for Fortune 1000 companies and other global brands. Finally, it was my honor to have a meeting with Dr. Todd Moss - Chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Linda HartSock, Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad.
Being Part of IVLP Group in the USA was a privilege and honor for me. I am looking forward to implementing all the knowledge and skills earned from this trip through local projects, international mentoring and startups. I strongly believe that as a leader, I need to share values and experience that could be beneficial to youth and not only. That is why I am motivated to create projects where the knowledge share can be accessed by a wider amount of people who are seeking for mentoring or advice in business and technology.