• Maria Carbone

Across the Atlantic - Entrepreneurship Abroad

Why I decided to take a chance and went halfway around the world to learn about entrepreneurship.

Traveling abroad is many students dream. To experience a new culture, a new atmosphere, and a different economy. I was lucky enough to be chosen to receive a scholarship from my Business College at West Virginia University to attend the European Innovation Academy (July 2017).

I always knew I had somewhat of an innovative characteristic. I enjoy embracing new ideas and looking at problems differently. What I did not know was that spending a month talking about how to build a startup, etc. would awaken this whole entrepreneurial spirit within me.

When I would think about traveling abroad I thought about exciting experiences and sightseeing. However, I never thought about it from an academic standpoint. I realized that if I decided to accept my scholarship and attend the European Innovation Academy I would gain so much more than just the typical traveling overseas experience. I was going to gain knowledge that could help me succeed for years to come. I would immerse myself into the European businesses and see how they operate (maintain consumers).

I also considered the factor that I would be able to highlight this great new experience on my resume! Traveling abroad to learn about entrepreneurship and startups? How could that not be interesting to talk about during an interview?

At this point it had registered in my mind how amazing this could possibly be. But, I truly had no idea the amount of knowledge I would potentially gain while away. With all of this in mind I made the decisions to attend the Academy in July.

Conference Lectures at The European Innovation Academy

During my time abroad I attended daily conferences in the city of Turin, Italy. Through EIA (The European Innovation Academy) I was instilled with the knowledge of constructing various business models, scaling/financing a startup, marketing on with a small budget, and so much more. I took all of this information and absorbed it like a sponge.

I can honestly say I still refer to the things I learned in Turin today.

While at EIA my startup idea of Round & Round School Bus Tracking came to life. I was able to research the validity of my idea and see if it was actually applicable in the U.S. market. I had the opportunity to work closely with a Marketing Professional who aided me in setting up Round & Round's landing page and marketing plan.

The last week the top teams were chosen to present to real life investors who could potentially help us start our business. My team, Round & Round was chosen! We were among only the top 33% of teams to be picked for this opportunity. Overall I had a wonderful experience and am still completely humbled to this day that I was chosen on behalf of my university to attend the European Innovation Academy.

Below are some pictures from my experiences at the Academy.

To anyone that is consider traveling overseas to better their knowledge of international markets, I greatly recommend it. If you would like to talk with me more regarding my experiences abroad email me through the Contact tab on my website.

Also thank you again to all who made this opportunity possible and to my college (WVU College of Business & Economics) for sponsoring me.

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Maria E. Carbone

Digital Marketer ~ Entrepreneur