A conversation with Giordano Dichter, founder of FlopAcademy
What made you decide to start with FlopAcademy?
The decision to start with the FlopAcademy comes from a personal experience. I set up a startup which failed and I did carry out the stigma of a ‘failing entrepreneur’ in Europe. This was really ridiculous: the whole way the community looks at you when you are not successful in being an entrepreneur.
Therefore, the will and mission that we have is to train the young generation or future leaders to accept failure. We can only do that if we teach them at a very, very early stage how entrepreneurs actually talk, act and think.
Why is it important for youngsters to get in touch with entrepreneurship?
I think it’s utterly fundamental that entrepreneurship is integrated into the curriculum of kids as soon as possible. Acquiring entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset is something that has to be facilitated with the kids at a very early stage. This is why our camps and classes are actually targeting very young kids form 12-16 years.
How can young people benefit from the programme?
Young kids actually benefit from the programme because they get an introduction of the entrepreneurial process. We do this by stimulating their creativity and thinking of solutions to specific challenges that we give them and then we take to the simulation of starting up a new venture through collecting market feedback and going on the streets, using social media in an intelligent way or going to a fablab where they prototype the solution that they conceived.
Of course, we can not guarantee success. In the real world, just 7% of those who hold an innovative idea actually manage to create a successful startup. So we expect the same percentages to happen also here when you simulate things with young kids. They might flop and not succeed at the end of the journey, but so be it. Better get used to failing and learn from your experiences and go ahead.
What are the different formula offered by FlopAcademy?
We designed the programmes in various ways. We have the flagship programme, which is called FlopCamp: an intense 5-day course from 9.30 to 16.30, where the kids simulate the setup of a startup.
We also have the FlopClass, which breaks down the whole programme in 10 half days and covers 10 weeks.
Finally, we have the Flop&Go, which is a more personalized and coached experience for single teams who want to have some kind of support. The important thing to say is that this programme has been conceived together with a board of advisors, composed of young kids from 12-16 years. They have a say in how the programme can be construed to better fit their own needs.
Are there plans of expanding new campuses outside of Brussels?
Well, we’re just getting started in Brussels and we do hope to set up a FlopAcademy that works well and has a high impact in this region. We do plan of course the growth of the FlopAcademy in other cities, starting with the partnerships with a set of key actors that we are starting to get.
What are the requirements to enter FlopAcademy?
There are no specific requirements to attend a course and a FlopCamp. We target kids from 12-16 years. The only real requirement is to bring your creativity along!
What is your advice to teenage entrepreneurs?
My advice to teenage entrepreneurs: don’t be afraid of failing and execute your brilliant ideas.
Acquiring entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset is something that has to be facilitated with the kids at a very early stage.Giordano Dichter