Playing Bowling with Bumpers

When a student you live in this bobble of cool people, lectures, impressions, and if you are lucky you find some time to reflect on it all. According to the theory that is where the true learning is to be found; reflection.

My friend Oskar Kader shared this analogy of playing bowling with bumpers. At the time I didn’t think about it; however, when giving it some thought I realized that it’s a great analogy for growing up in Denmark. When living abroad you meet a lot of people from different cultural background. As you get to know these people and you hear their stories, it becomes obvious that the simple nature of where you were born has a great impact on the opportunities that is given to you.

When born in Denmark, you have to do pretty bad not to live a decent life, catering for the majority of the needs you might have. Every citizen is offered free education, access to free hospitals, and the government will even provide for you if you can’t do so yourself. These are privileges that people of the 3rd world can only dream of. The good thing is that they are actually dreaming and they are working extremely hard to change the nature of their social and financial status in society.

In other words; growing up in Denmark is like playing bowling with bumpers, whereas the majority of the world’s population is playing bowling without and is aiming for the strike.

Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010

Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010

Every year for the past 6 years there has been held the fair Ivaerk & Vaekst in Copenhagen Denmark, and I was visiting for the second time. Ivaerk & Vaekst is a forum for Danish entrepreneurs offering the opportunity to network with relevant expert, successful and experienced people, as well as likeminded entrepreneurs. A wide variety of interesting companies were represented at the fair and as well as less interesting organisations such as the Danish tax office. But common for them all was that they in one way or another could or would be relevant for business owners.

My own personal mission was to witness some of the great lectures taking place at stage. A large handful of known people were speaking about their success with entrepreneurship, and to recognise a few of them can be mentioned Andrea Elisabeth Rudolph, Leif Beck Fallesen, Jesper Kasi Nielsen, Christian Bitz, Peter Aalbaek, Angela Jia Kim, and many others. Especially one caught my attention. Angela Jia Kim is an American entrepreneur living in New York City and was never meant to become an entrepreneur, as she was educated a pianist.  However on a tour around the states with the orchestra, her skin suddenly breaks out in a rash, and she realize how many chemicals there is in here skin cream. From there she started to experiment with creating her own skin cream. According to Angela herself it was never thought to be commercialized, but as the interest grows from friends and acquaintance of her, she begins to receive orders from wellness centers around the states and business is rolling.

Through the process with selling skin creams, the talented pianist spot another opportunity in creating an entrepreneurial network specially minded for women. From her experiences with creating a business she knows how many questions there is in the process, and she decides to found the network concept Savor the Success. Special for Savor the Success is that men are not allowed and the goal is to advance women entrepreneurs in to success with their business.

Angela Jia Kim speaking at Ivaerk og Vaekst 2010
Angela Jia Kim speaking at Ivaerk og Vaekst 2010

Angela Jia Kim is great speaker and has a great story to share, and what she have done is quite impressive. However it strikes me that a strange tendency is appearing in the business life. For almost hundred years women have been fighting for equal rights with men, which is FAIR. However, today when men and women in many cases are equal the women starts to denying men access to their networks and businesses, just as men did to them hundred years ago. And I start to wonder if it soon will be men fighting for equal rights… It might be a subject for later debate.

Overall Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010 was a good experience with a great focus on networking. I personally took with me home, excessive ideas and knowledge for later use. I can strongly recommend others entrepreneurial minds to attend next year’s event, which probably will be held in Forum, Copenhagen like this year’s event.

Read further documentation for Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010 here. (in danish)

Emaximize your surroundings and let the funthusiasm guide you…

Emax Auditorium - Photo by Stik i Rend Film

Read the full story of the greatest entrepreneurial event of 2010, Emax Nordic 2010.

It is Saturday noon and an excited group of people of different Scandinavian nationalities are arriving in Svendborg. Some have been in the staff team before where others are there for the first time, but common for all is that they are excited for what this event will bring. Everyone is politely saying hallo to everyone and already at this stage do people seem to get along quite well.

As everybody has arrived the training session for what is going to be the greatest entrepreneurial event in 2010 has begun. The main goal of the training session is besides getting informed about all the necessary details of the event, to develop 3 core values that form the purpose of our presence at Emax Nordic 2010. Klass Brynte was in charge of the training session, and through different games and challenges the core values was created and the team that was going to give the participants an experience for life was formed and united.

To make Emax Nordic 2010 a successful event we need: Communication, Professionalism and Funthusiasm.

Emax Nordic Arrival at Svendborg College - Photo by Mads Laumann
Emax Nordic Arrival at Svendborg College – Photo by Mads Laumann

The Emax Staff team was ready for the arrival of 180 wonderful participants and Sunday afternoon the first bus finally arrived. The atmosphere was a little strained to a start, but as people got to sit together the air was soon filled with noise from the networking participants. From there it did not take long for people to find different games and activities to keep them entertained and everyone seemed to enjoy the sunny afternoon. It seemed pretty clear when talking to a random samples of the participants that they were here to win the business simulation, but they were soon to discover that the Emax team had others plans for their stay.

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Emax Nordic 2010 was officially opened by Board member of Foundation for Entrepreneurship, CEO of Nordea Bank, Mr. Torben Laustsen, who welcomed the participants to a week of inspiration, motivation and great fun. The auditorium was heating up and it would be fair to credit the Emax Staff who were dancing, clapping and going nuts in the favour of the participants.

During the day the participants were introduced to the business simulation game, but before that, teams were created and team building games and exercises took on. An important lesson from the team exercises is: if you make people touch each other, you will bring them closer together. “Suddenly a simple conversation with strangers does not seem that frightening anymore.” However the highlight of the day was the lecture with Caroline Ahlefeldt, who impressively succeed in bringing life to the word funthusiasm. She rocked the stage for half an hour and gave all the participants, motivation and inspiration to get the most out of Emax. She sure inspired every single one in the auditorium and brought with her what I would like to refer to as the true Emax Spirit.

Emax Spirit - Photo by Mads Laumann
Emax Spirit – Photo by Mads Laumann

Next day the entire team as well as participants were still high on the energy from the meeting with Caroline Ahlefeldt and after a delicious breakfast, the first day of business simulation could begin. Tuesday was also the day of several great workshops hosted by six great lecturers: Lykke Rix, Klass Brynte, Josefine Arenius, Carsten Borch, Thomas Groennemark, and Henrietta Clayton Smith. The workshops touched different entrepreneurial topics such as leadership, idea training and coaching, but all with the same purpose of educating the participants to become greater entrepreneurs.

In the evening time there were arranged a ferry trip from the harbour of Svendborg. The ferry trip was a great opportunity for the staff as well as the participants to relax after a day of a lot of information and shared knowledge. Many spend the time as a getaway from the speculations of the business simulation, and from all the discussions of tactics.

A night of Wildness

“I have personally never in my life seen over a hundred people go nuts like that.” After the ferry trip and a great barbecue at the harbour all the participants went to party at the Hostle. Over a hundred great entrepreneurial spirits were dancing their butts off on the grass simply driven by the great developed Emax spirit. The participants were dancing all night long, but were ready and awake, the next morning for a day of even harder challenges.

Day of the great finally

The day started 7:30 with the news that the Police had paid a little visit around midnight because of complaints from the nearby neighbours. Apparently the Emax spirit is not shared by everyone!

However Wednesday was the last day of a truly adventure and the participants had to play the last two parts of the simulation game. As people had talked strategy throughout the entire week the subjects had slightly started to change. People were still taking the game serious but the funthusiasm had spread and everyone seemed to be emaximized.

During the day there were two lectures. One regarding Immerterial Values and one under the name of The winning Helix by first Magnus Hakvåg and second Christina Anderson. It was clear that even though we had to do with the foremost entrepreneurial spirits of Scandinavia, the participants were tired and the lectures were tough. But everyone managed and when the long day of educational lectures and business simulations were over the ladies and the gentlemen finally had the opportunity to prepare and get dressed up for great gala-evening.

Alexander Hold with the Emax host Josefine Arenius
Alexander Hold with the Emax host Josefine Arenius

The gala were hosted at Svendborg hotel in a nice environment with room for dining and partying. The evening offered three courses dinner, great entertainment, disco dancing, live music and of course the announcement of the 2010 Emax Nordic winners. Great congrats to the winners of this year’s Emax Nordic 2010.

The participants as well as staff were dancing all night, but just like another Cinderella story the ball ended at midnight.

The final conclusion

When the participants arrived they came with the believe that they were here to win the simulation game, and they were. But as the event evolved they realized that the event was about so much more. What started to be the main focus turned out to be a minor part of a greater purpose, and other factors such as having fun and making friends became vital. I strongly believe that Emax has changed the life of many of the participants. It surly has changed mine and I have realised how important it is to create and maintain your network.

Remember Network is Power and Emax is where entrepreneurs create network.

Help me share this article with your friends and network and encourage you surroundings to sign up for Emax Nordic 2011 taking place in Norway.

Thank you.

Feel welcome to place a comment to this article and do not forget to see the Emax Video for the event of 2010.