Interview with Marius Ghenea, entrepreneur, angel-investor and juror at Business Mentoring Program

Marius Ghenea is one of the jurors from the previous edition of Business Mentoring Program. But Marius Ghenea is known in the business world, first and foremost, as businessman, business angel, serial entrepreneur and professor of entrepreneurship. In a short interview, he talks about his involvement in this program and the importance of entrepreneurial education in Romania.

The entrepreneurial education has been completely neglected until now, probably mainly due to inertial educational system that was designed throughout the communist period in Romania not only to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial values, but rather to anathematize those values considered capitalist and therefore harmful to the communist system;

What is done at present in schools is still far too little; more is done by means of complementary education systems – programs such as School for Startups Romania and Business Mentoring Program;

I’m afraid we can not solve all the problems and the weak points of the Romanian entrepreneurial education only with the help of these complementary programs;

The entrepreneurial education should start gradually, from the first years of school, so that once in high-school, even before graduation, teenagers and young Romanians should already have sufficient business knowledge so as to be confident to start their own business;

Even if we were to include immediately a strategy as such in the education curricula, it would take many years until the first generation of children and young people should undergo systematically this formal education process;

I have participated as a juror in the BMP program sessions, and I have also tried to convince to join me other valuable jurors, with remarkable entrepreneurial and business experience;

In what concerns the MIT team, mentors in the BMP program, I can say that they are amazing teachers and anyone would be lucky to have them as teachers in any program whatsoever. As mentors, they were always very close to the students and interacted with great interest and empathy with all participants in the first year program;

Entrepreneurship is all about pitching, more than anything else;

Every entrepreneurial project must be presented and „sold” to various third parties or stakeholders: to the bank, customers, business partners, employees and, last but not least to the equity type investors (business angels, venture-capital, private-equity);

We need to consider pitching not as a mere presentation for investors, but as a set of presentations as well contextualised as possible for each of the stakeholders;

At BMP, a very important element in the pitching stage was the very customization of the pitch, depending on the person to whom it is addressed; in my opinion, this was an excellent lesson for all participants;

I have attended several BMP sessions and I clearly saw that, session after session, the students’ pitches have continuously improved, sometimes even dramatically;

Repetition, practice are the best ways to improve the presentation technique, and this practice was very useful for the students;

In my opinion, all participants to BMP were very interested to absorb as much useful information from the program as possible; I appreciated their interest and their dedication throughout the Business Mentoring Program;

In terms of business profile and size of business, some of the BMP participants generally came from small sized companies, start-ups, while others came from larger, more well-developed companies;

I think the best results in this program can be achieved by managers or owners of medium-large sized companies in Romania, who already have practical experience that allows them to relate effectively with the very dense information and to the high level of teaching specific to the Business Mentoring Program.

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