After our Brussels summit it was time to get a bit closer to home for the BBAA conference in Brands Hatch (via Barcelona). The sun was still shining at that point. At the awards dinner the night before, I bumped into the very charismatic Richard Farleigh.
Back in London, I caught up with Ian Robertson from NCGE who told me they have 10,200 graduate entrepreneurs registered now. Flying Start helps university grads inventing products and services take them to market and start a business on the back of those ideas. We're hoping to announce a Flying Start for Software Entrepreneurs soon. We also talked about Ian's business dealings in China and I'm helping him find some partners out there.
I also spent some quality time with (Dr) Sally Ernst from Sinocode. They have 90 developers in Beijing and we are looking at ways to help more Euro-based software companies leverage their skills. They already do quite a bit of work for MCS on Sharepoint and for UK customers. Apart from doing business, Sally and I have become good friends. Sal told me about her involvement with the MIT Entrepreneurs Organisation. The EO as it's known is a club for successful ($1m+) entrepreneurs. That rules me out then. I spend too much on shoes. Sal does too but she managed to sell WebCentral in Australia when it had a turnover of $40m+ and now goes between London, China and Oz.
At the team meeting in Amsterdam last week it was time to catch up and see what everyone else was up to. My colleague Andreas just got back from China - he said the smog is really something. Andreas is very very tall. As are most Dutch people it seems. (Good blog from Matt in Beijing by the way). We talked about our team charter for the (fiscal) year ahead. We were brainstorming how to more innovative and effective! You have to constantly challenge yourself if you're going to make a difference at a corporate. That conversation reminded me to send them a copy of Tom Peters Re-Imagine Manifesto. Reading some of the entries on Change This is enlightening too. Better than reading the newspaper at the mo, which I find full of doom and gloom....
No time for that here. After stopping off in Dublin to see Enterprise Ireland again, I was back in Brussels for the JA-YE Europe Entrepreneurship Forum at the EU Parliament. What a great day. I was judging the student team entries for the JA-YE Enterprise Challenge (Microsoft Innovation) award with fellow judges Andy Reinhardt from Business Week, Brian Lang, VP at Mastercard, and Peter Baur from the Commission. Have a look at the pics here. Some of the ideas were really great. Many with an environmental angle - like the intelligent waste solution from the guys in Romania. Next Stop - California!