NYUAD Slush’D – The Last Slush’D of the year
NYUAD Slush’D was organized by a student entrepreneurship community Violet Ventures, for the students at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Campus aiming to help them build an entrepreneurial mindset by organizing ideation. This Slush’D event was unlike anything we’ve seen so far, as it was geared toward 17-20-year-old students. The bottleneck the team at Violet Ventures went about solving with their event was quite close to what the bunch of students went about solving back in 2011 – the ecosystem would need an entrepreneurial mindset.
This was the first time the team at Violet Ventures, composed of NYUAD students, organized something this big. Let me tell you, it had an impact. But what were the team’s thoughts about the organization process? What did they think was the absolute best, how about the worst part of the process? Well, you’ll be hearing that from Anne Salmela, the President of Violet Ventures!
BECOMING PART OF THE SLUSH’D COMMUNITY
It was a weekend to remember, organized by the youth for the youth. We had an amazing time with motivated students, driven entrepreneurs, and faculty. NYUAD Slush’D was not only a huge success for students and the university but also for us, as organizers. When starting, we wanted to help motivate students to kick off their journeys in the startup ecosystem. Violet Ventures had identified three bottlenecks in the ecosystem that we aimed to tackle:
- Young people don’t see entrepreneurship as a tangible way to create an impact on society
- They don’t see startups as a viable career path, largely only considering corporations and academia as suitable options
- International students do not know how to register and license in the UAE.
Organizing Slush’D fulfilled our expectations as we got to bond as a team and managed to get experience that will, later on, help us in delivering our mission to the local community – inspire and create the next generations of founders.
THE HIGHS AND LOWS
The most difficult part was coordinating the schedules of our team members, full-time students who had many other priorities over the organization process, being spread across three continents. As a result, roles were shifted throughout the organization process, and in the weeks leading up to the event, we built a bond with the team where the enthusiasm and energy were so radiant. This allowed us to handle all situations fluidly, including a last-minute speaker cancellation and COVID-19 health requirement checks for our guests.
The most rewarding was the feedback gotten from guests and participants and hearing how motivated they were to continue working on the venture ideas created during the event. Participants come up to our team members every day thanking them for the event, and highlighting how they now know new tools that they can apply to their ventures and professional lives. Similarly, gratitude and happiness were expressed by guest speakers, founders, and panelists who enjoyed sharing their knowledge with our students.
We recognized that, although there was a lot of value in our 2-Day event, the event duration was potentially tiring for participants, and us organizers. Next time, we would alter our agenda to be more concise, featuring only the most impactful content. This would help all of us to feel the dynamics of the event and highlight only must-have sessions. In this case, we would also be able to invite more people and concentrate our funds and resources in one day. These are the key lessons we learned:
Lesson 1: Less is always more
Lesson 2: It’s the small things that take time
Lesson 3: An enthusiastic team who understands and believes in the mission is a must.
The dedication of the whole team truly paid off. This was not only seen in the spark in attendees’ eyes after listening to a panel of founders telling how they got to the point they’re in right now but in the feedback, the team got afterward. For example, a comment a student wrote to the team afterward said ‘I wish courses were even 1% as interesting as today.”We did not know whether these events could be completely geared toward students. Now we know that they can, and I can’t wait what the team has got to offer us next!
NYUAD Slush’D wrapped up the Slush’D year with style and now, the only event our team is looking forward to is the Slush, only two weeks away.