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In the exhilarating journey towards startup success, researchers emerge as invaluable assets, bringing forth unique perspectives and skills that can drive innovation and growth. Adriana Bankston, a notable figure in this realm, sheds light on three pivotal areas where researchers can make a significant impact on startup growth: Developing Talent, Recruiting, and Retaining. Let’s delve deeper into each of these domains to unearth strategies for harnessing the potential of researchers.
Developing Talent: Fostering the Seeds of Innovation
Nurturing talent lies at the heart of startup growth. Just as in science policy, where young talents shape real-world impact, startups thrive on cultivating a pool of skilled individuals. The key here is to identify the specific talents needed for your startup’s growth and align them with your problem-solving objectives. Understanding this correlation between talent availability and ecosystem performance is vital, as it not only benefits your startup but also enriches the entire entrepreneurial landscape.
Recognizing the right talent requires a profound understanding of your startup’s goals. It’s about matching talents with the unique challenges you face and the solutions you seek. A vibrant ecosystem attracts diverse talents, creating a mutually beneficial relationship where startups flourish and contribute to the ecosystem’s vibrancy.
Recruiting Talent: Bridging the Gap between Academia and Real-World Needs
Recruiting talent marks a critical juncture where academia and the real world intersect. Often, educational institutions fall short in producing talents that meet startups’ dynamic needs. Bridging this gap by connecting classroom teachings with real-world applications is imperative. Researchers, armed with valuable knowledge, may struggle to transition into the entrepreneurial world. Therefore, the challenge lies in showcasing the benefits and career advancements associated with joining the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Recruiting talent demands a proactive approach to reshape educational systems. It’s about integrating real-world applications into academic training. For startups, understanding the global demand for talent is crucial. Effectively communicating the opportunities and benefits to researchers is essential, ensuring they grasp the tangible advantages of immersing themselves in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Retaining Talent: Navigating Policy Challenges and Practical Experiences
Retaining talent, especially foreign-born researchers, presents unique hurdles, primarily in policy and immigration spheres. Adriana emphasizes the need for policy and advocacy efforts to create an environment conducive to retaining foreign talent. Beyond policy, the focus shifts to providing practical experiences and entrepreneurial education to researchers, equipping them with the skills needed for entrepreneurial roles alongside their research endeavors.
Retaining talent entails advocating for policies that encourage foreign talent to stay and contribute. This involves addressing visa and immigration policies hindering the retention of foreign-born researchers. Concurrently, fostering practical experiences and entrepreneurial education becomes paramount. The goal is to bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurial roles by actively training researchers in entrepreneurial skills.
These insights offer a robust framework for startups to unlock the full potential of researchers. By effectively developing, recruiting, and retaining talent, startups can not only thrive but also enrich the ecosystems they inhabit. Emphasizing diversity in the talent pool and recognizing the transformative role of researchers in shaping entrepreneurial landscapes paves the way for sustainable success.
Here’s to unlocking the boundless potential of researchers on your startup journey!
About the Speakers and Mentors
Adriana Bankston is a former bench scientist turned science policy expert, with a wealth of experience in research and academic policy changes within university settings. Her career was dedicated to showcasing research discoveries on a broader scale. Notably, Adriana also led a non-profit organisation and held various entrepreneurial roles, connecting with professionals worldwide.
Adriana’s role as a senior fellow in science policy with the Federation of American Scientists showcased her expertise in policy entrepreneurship. Her work at this non-profit mirrored the dynamic nature of a startup, making her well-equipped to discuss the convergence of science and policy.
Based in Washington, DC, USA, Adriana was ideally positioned to offer valuable insights into research-powered innovation, real-world impact, and the art of building strategic partnerships and talent scouting. Her diverse background and passion for research made her a dynamic speaker for discussions surrounding innovation, collaboration, and talent development.
To learn more about Adriana:
Juan Fuentes Fernández
Juan Fuentes Fernández, based in Copenhagen, is a seasoned expert with a career spanning over a decade in various areas, including strategy, international business development, PR & Comms, brand and activation management, project and people management, market research, and CSR.
Having worked across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas, Juan’s global perspective is reflected in his extensive professional journey. His notable achievements include:
- LALIGA Delegate for the Nordic Countries (2021-Present): Appointed by LALIGA, the Spanish football league, Juan leads the growth strategy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
- LALIGA Delegate for the Middle East (2017-2021): Spearheaded LALIGA’s successful expansion in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.
- Editor at Oxford Business Group (Philippines): Analyzed emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Trade and Investment Advisor for the Embassy of Spain: Represented Spanish interests in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.
Academic Involvement: Juan’s academic contributions include research and co-authoring a Working Paper for Harvard Business School on LALIGA’s strategic development. He has served as an instructor and master thesis supervisor in various sports management programs in Spain and Europe.
Angel Investor: As an investor, Juan focuses on sports and entertainment-related startups, emphasizing industry validation and expansion. He avoids investments in projects collaborating with LALIGA or seeking collaboration with his organization.
Multidisciplinary Project Coordination: Juan has successfully managed diverse teams for award-winning projects, such as the Spanish-Arabic football dictionary by the Instituto Cervantes and LALIGA, which received the “Publication of the Year 2021” award in Spain.
Recognition and Social Impact: Juan has been shortlisted as a winner in Spain’s inaugural Nova 111 list, particularly in the telecom, media, and entertainment category. Dedicated to social impact, he has volunteered with various NGOs for over a decade and is a member of Common Goal, donating 1% of his salary to support social causes.
Areas of Expertise: Juan Fuentes Fernández excels in entertainment and sports management, international business development, strategy, market research, PR & Comms, brand and activation management, project and people management, CSR initiatives, academic instruction, keynote speaking, and angel investment. His multilingual and multicultural proficiency further enhances his ability to make a significant impact across various sectors.
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