MADE Group organized April 17th the “Thessaloniki Ideathon”, the fourth and final online event of AugE. AUGE – AUGMENTED EUROPE is Funded by the Europe for Citizens programme. The Thessaloniki Ideathon focused on Creative opportunities for youth – The new age of startups & social media. The event raised awareness and created an open dialogue about the inter-connection of creativity and innovation, creative tools, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for young people. Both parts of the Ideathon (Fireside Chats and Workshops) provided an interactive, inspiring opportunity with ideas exchange on related current issues.

Fireside Chats
We were happy to host 3 very engaging speakers; Souzana Theodoridou, Start Up Program Manager at Microsoft shared important insights from her own personal experience; Lucy Xu, Founder & CEO of The Port touched upon the current development of the European startup ecosystem; Dimitris Dimitriadis, Digital Futurist, discussed the future of Social Media and opportunities for young people around Europe.

Workshop I
What Every Founder Should Know About Marketing
Lucy Xu, The Port, Founder & CEO
Tenaya Campbell, The Port, COO

This workshop focused on international marketing and international business and the opportunities that arise for young entrepreneurs. Topics and areas of discussion where Business Model Canvas (BMC), Marketing fundamentals and International Business Training. There was idea exchange and examples of how BMC can be a helpful strategic management exercise for developing new business models and / or documenting existing business models. Moreover, the workshop touched upon the 9 building blocks of a business and value proposition and also on how to create a competitive advantage. There was also keen discussion on marketing fundamentals the importance of business culture and the differentiation that exists between some European / Southern countries and the US for example. The importance of time management was also a pointed out, especially for young people and their first professional / business / entrepreneurial endeavours.

The workshop also dealt with relationship building with customers, ways to pick the right segment and target group and effective ways to reach out to them. There were given examples and ideas on smart channels that can be used; There was also dialogue on establishing brand identity, understanding your audience (their behaviour, needs etc) and ways to “speak the same language” with that audience.

Finally, the importance of storytelling was pointed out and practical advice was given on how to create and share a story, how to make it important and share it to your audience and how to make your audience – customers part of that story.

Workshop II
How to start today your personal brand on social media
Dimitris Dimitriadis, Digital Futurist

The workshop covered different aspects of digital marketing. The workshop leader raised the emerging significance of communicating value during periods of crisis, as for example during the Covid pandemic and the significance of showing empathy and responsibility as a brand. Then there was discussion and practical tips on how to grow your social media and you’re your online presence thrive. Furthermore, the importance of defining success and following a rigid strategy towards that, was stressed.

The value of setting goals and core metrics was also raised. Some of the most fundamental key metrics were presented and good practices examples were also given. Moreover, the workshop touched upon the need to create high quality content on each respective platform and there was vivid discussion on this.

Additionally, some technical issues were discussed, like the usage of right keywords and the digital marketing mix, which refers and connects to effectively choosing the correct Social Media networks for a young business or startup; Finally, the workshop offered insight to one of the latest marketing trends, “Influencer Marketing” and how this will evolve and mature in the near future. Overall, the workshop offered plenty of information, discussion points and practical advice on things to consider when you are starting your journey in digital advertising and social media in terms of building your brand.

Workshop III
Creating innovative entrepreneurial models
Dr. Naoum Mylonas, Assistant Professor, Department of Tourism, Ionian University (Corfu GR)

Dr. Mylonas kicked off the workshop with “ice-breaking” questions on the definition of entrepreneurship and the characteristics of an entrepreneur; participants discussed the importance of being creative and also confident, followed by the key characteristics of a young entrepreneur with an emphasis on the age factor. Discussion also touched on other traits of young entrepreneurs, particularly a sense of integrity and reward motivation and not so much by profit.

Creative ideas were also a core part of the workshop. There was vivid discussion on how creative ideas are generated; roadmap and questions that can help to this were mentioned and elaborated. There was also discussion on how hobbies, personal interests and talents are a key source to finding one’s creativity; and if and how creativity is associated creativity.

Moreover, creative thinking process was presented and discussed (Brainstorming, mind mapping, rapid prototype and the importance of a business model). Finally, Workshop III focused on business model canvas with a quick live practical exercise about it.