Area31 Segovia – The First Step for Entrepreneurs
The new initiative acts as a gateway from idea to start-up.
Eight students listen as one of their peers presents his original idea for business. When he finishes, the speakers start a passionate conversation about the pros and cons of the entrepreneur’s idea. Everyone stands on equal footing when giving their opinion and voices rise as excitement trembles across the students that will soon also share their own ideas.
Welcome to Area 31 Segovia— the newly-launched idea incubator backed by Campus Life that acts as a first step for young entrepreneurs to sound out their projects in an encouraging, unrestrained environment.
“Anyone who is interested in learning more about entrepreneurship is welcome. This is the space to talk about and develop businesses.”
Leticia Ponce, Head Mentor of Area 31 Segovia
Originally, Area 31 Segovia was a project, designed to help the Segovia Campus have closer contact with Area 31 in Madrid– the hub of entrepreneurial activity. Ponce, founder of the Startup Lab, was brought to the project to help mentor student entrepreneurs.
But when the pandemic hit, Campus Life decided to move her mentoring sessions online. Ponce chose to orient them more toward open discussion rather than intensive mentor sessions. The community of engaged students gather virtually every Wednesday at 18h to share and develop their business ideas.
“Area31 Segovia is an inclusive and immersive space for anyone wanting to enter the entrepreneurial world. We discuss, debate, argue but most importantly support!” said Mateo Ploquin, a techpreneur student from the Segovia IE campus with a data privacy startup in the works.
The project has taken on a life of its own– with would-be entrepreneurs jumping into the entrepreneurial vibe with clear goals of developing concrete ideas.
“The whole value is in the discussion and debate you have with the other members. You learn from each other’s experiences and businesses. It makes you develop a real mindset,” said Area31 Segovia member, Marie Queru.
But it’s much more than a safe place to brainstorm ideas. Members are already seeing results.
“When I was launching my entrepreneurship podcast channel for my startup, the discussions we had in Area One changed my whole perspective. The level of insight guided me to an improved version,” said BBA student Louise Lecommandeur, a BBA student.
Current members applaud the initiative as different from other incubators as it allows them to get the entrepreneurial juices flowing without any pressure and truly develop their ideas.
“I joined Area 31 Segovia to get to know the entrepreneurship community at IE easily without having to commit to something too big for me. I get the opportunity to grow with driven people while we all help each other with our own resources,” said Sergio Sempere, a member since the first meeting.
The eight students involved have playfully renamed it Area One, saying it holds a unique value to them and is different from other entrepreneurial opportunities at IE.
Area 31 Segovia has become a gateway for great ideas to step confidently into the next stage of development and most of the current members are already segwaying into Startup Lab or Venture Lab.
“AreaOne is close to an informal chat where you discuss ideas with fellow students motivated to become entrepreneurs. This is essential because it gets you closer to taking that step forward and actually start hands-on working like with the Venture Lab,” said IE Business School student Álvaro Bermejo, who crossed over from Area 31 Segovia to Venture Lab.
Students applaud the opportunities it offers them.
“An idea is nothing if you don’t talk about it,” said Sempere. “Networking and entrepreneurship go together, Area 31 Segovia offers both.”
Meanwhile, Ponce has big plans for the initiative. She said she hopes to foster a global village of young entrepreneurs. She has organized events ranging from talks in IE’s top associations like Women In Business, to Social and Tech Hackathons, as well as evenings where successful IE alumni share tips with Area31 Segovia members.
Ponce said she wants to turn the gateway into Spain’s top university incubator.
“We need to show what entrepreneurship is about to more people.”