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Lessons Learned While Catching the Entrepreneurship Bug

By:  Kevin Burke Jun 19, 2014
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UP Summit

Recently I let go of my email, ignored my voicemails and caught the entrepreneurship bug.

As part of Coca-Cola’s partnership with UP Global and the vitaminwater brand’s involvement in the program I was invited to attend the UP SUMMIT, the world’s largest grassroots gathering of startup community members that brought together 500+ entrepreneurs and community leaders from 70+ countries.

UP Summit

During the 4-day summit I collaborated with innovation leaders from major corporations (Sprint, Google, & General Mills to name a few), I was motivated by stories from thought leaders on entrepreneurship, I participated in panels on brand marketing for startups, and I witnessed people from all races, religions, backgrounds and economic classes work together to grow entrepreneurship in their communities.

I am now a very small part of their family and I am writing this to compel you to be a part of it too.

When it comes to working faster, smarter, and leaner, we can all benefit from entrepreneurs like the ones I met last week. Here are 4 lessons I learned during UP Summit.

1. Get Involved - Entrepreneurs are Everywhere
Entrepreneurial communities exist everywhere from Fargo to Shanghai to Gaza to Sao Paulo.  Events, meet-ups, and educational programs in this space are everywhere and they don’t just focus on technology. These communities are powering innovation around things like education, finance, fashion, music, government and manufacturing. Entrepreneurs are improving the world one idea at a time, and there’s plenty of room to get involved.

2014 UP Summit

2. Collaborate – Because We’re Better Together
Another thing that struck me as remarkable from the attendees of UP Summit is that they network by sharing, helping and learning about each other’s challenges. They ask questions, dig deep and get to know each other on a personal level. They openly share ideas about projects & businesses they are working on. There are no silos or secrets within these communities. They look at their challenges as opportunities that another entrepreneur can help them solve and they openly welcome the support.

I am envious of these entrepreneurs and their way of working. We can all improve by being more willing to work together. We should act more like entrepreneurs and tap into the community of experts around us every day to do our jobs better.

3. Act – Stop Talking and Start Doing
Stop talking and start doing.” 
“Do More.”
“Go do something about it.”

These were phrases that were repeated over and over during the Summit. This “do” attitude is something that is ingrained into entrepreneur’s daily routines. If they have an idea, they act. They build it. They test it. They figure out what is wrong with it. Then they build it again. They are lean, and they are fast. Learning is driven by this “Do” philosophy and it is incredibly powerful to witness in action.

4. “If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together”

Where is the coolest place you've traveled?

Steve Case (Chairman of the Board of UP Global & Startup Weekend) used this African proverb during his address at the closing dinner of the UP Summit. This proverb perfectly sums up the relational thinking of entrepreneurs and the mission of UP Global. The 500 entrepreneurs I met last week are focused more on building long term, win-win relationships within their communities and less on being solely goal-oriented. They act, shape, think and dream all moving together in the same direction. They are focused on changing the world through entrepreneurship, together.

Get Involved!

  • Attend at Startup Weekend event in your area.
  • Follow us on Twitter: @CocaColaCo  /  @Kevn_Burke

Kevin Burke is Senior Brand Manager of Glaceau.