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FACE Entrepreneurship embraces the good, bad and the ugly

FACE Entrepreneurship embraces the good, bad and the ugly

Last Thursday, the Microsoft Flux space in Helsinki played host to a panel and workshop by the FACE Entrepreneurship group. FACE stands for Failure Aversion Change in Europe, and they have been making their way around select European cities to promote beyond the traditionally media-sexy aspects of business and technology in the start-up ecosystem by digging deeper into the emotional side of entrepreneurship.

It’s easy to be swept up in the business idea but what is arguably as crucial is the psychological aspect of what goes into birthing a start-up. There is a whirlwind of feelings that must go through each entrepreneur’s mind when they decide to make that scary leap such as “Will I lose my freedom? Will I fail? What if? What if? And what if?”. The opportunity is seen but the fear of failure can take over.

Who knows how many innovative companies will never be simply because these fears stopped the idea in its tracks before it could come to fruition?

FACE aims to encourage entrepreneurship among young Europeans (but not excluding those in the older bracket) by redefining failures and successes on the path well-trodden by entrepreneurs before them. They want to embrace the fears that come with establishing your start-up and help the entrepreneurs draw strength from good and bad experiences from not only themselves but others as well. They have been doing this with their panel discussions that have been thus far held in London, Prague and Munich among others.

Their slogan is aptly titled “It’s worth it”.

A common theme among most successful businesses is that they weren’t born of the miracle first try and most entrepreneurs took a very character building failure or two before they got on track. As a gentleman on the presentation video said “You have only failed if you didn’t try”.

Work -life balance for entrepreneurs

The FACE panel at Helsinki was represented by Joe Haslam (Co-founder of, Dr Claudia Nagel (Co-founder of, Elina Uutela (CEO and Co-founder of Oppimo) and Nina Ignatius (CEO and Co-founder of Beibamboo) with the panel moderated by journalist Michaela von Kugelgen.

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The primary theme for the Helsinki event was “Spare time…what does that mean?”. Each panelist discussed their own experiences not only in regards to that of time management but in general the emotional challenges that come with establishing a start-up. There were no clear solutions as each panelist had their own way of dealing with work/life balance. Dr Nagel, for example, chooses to involve her kids in her work, within reason of course.

On the other hand, the panel were also happy to tell about the positives of being your own boss and being in charge of how things are done. “If I want to have a nap at 9.00am then it’s my decision to make” Ignatius pointed out.

The panel discussion was followed by a workshop held by Haslan where members of the audience were invited to share their own experiences of establishing a start-up and to get insights from Haslan and his fellow panelists about how better to go about things or just to simply present what they are endeavoring to achieve. Haslan had this golden nugget of wisdom which demonstrated the FACE mission perfectly “Failure is just another word for experimentation”.

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