So, when I make promises I like to keep them. In my ‘Story about my city…StartUp Skopje’ article, I promised that I will grab a coffee, discuss startups and take a selfie with Eva & Teddy. So to say, Teddy ‘watch out’ you are next 🙂 I met her as one of the organizers at last years SWSkopje and by choice we became friends (plus it’s a Gemini thing). I have watched her grow professionally in the past year and becoming the ‘it girl’ when it comes to the Macedonian startup community. So, we sat down for a ‘startup girl talk’.
Eva Piperevska is working as marketing manager at G6 and is an active supporter of the Macedonian startup ecosystem. Lead organizer of Startup Weekend Skopje, and co-organizer of Silicon Drinkabout Skopje, Startup Weekend Sofia, Rockstart Answers Sofia, and Startup Festival. One of the founders of the non-profit organization EPIC and a member of Macedonian PR association. How this all happened she explains:
“Before my active involvement in the #MKstartups community, I was working at an event management company in Sofia, Bulgaria. I met Teddy and Mitko at a startup event held in Eleven Accelerator and it was the best decision I’ve made that day, to attend the event. During this period since I have met them, I can proudly say that everything I’ve learned about startups, about growth hack, how to pitch, how to seal the deal and all tips and trick, I owe it to them. I don’t think I would be where I am if it wasn’t for them and I am thankful for that. This is also what I have noticed in our community, that almost everyone I have met in this past year, is eager to help, to give you advice, to grab a coffee with you and discuss startups. I say almost, because I have witnessed a period when in this small, let’s say community of 200 hundred people, there have been divides and fractions. In my opinion it is sad and stupid, not to collaborate and further develop our community. Ok, maybe we don’t like each-other personally, but that doesn’t stop us from collaborating, let’s make it work and let’s show the world that this startup community is strong, that it has excellent startups, amazing and innovative ideas and that we know how to collaborate” – says Eva.
Understanding what she is saying, while she explains, that, with the next SWSkopje they are working on bringing MKstartup enthusiasts together, including them as mentors, organizers, participants etc. Even though, she is now ‘working in a shadow’ – mentoring and monitoring the new SWSkopje organizers, we discussed about what this event means to her and why people should participate?
“It was hard work putting all together for last year’s SWSkopje, since it was my first time being part of the organizing team for a startup event in Skopje. It was chaotic, it was stressful, but at the end it was so fun and so worth it. I am happy that in just one week I have meet so many amazing people that I can now call my friends. Even though I don’t see myself as an event manager, I do these events because they provide me with some kind of fresh energy. What I have learned from the participants of SWSkopje is that people here, have crazy innovative ideas, they are open to mentor’s suggestions and not overwhelmed by their own ego, that there is highly qualified workforce here, not just in the IT department, but young business professionals, creative designers, marketing, PR, etc… From the mentors, I have learned how to network when it comes to people vs corporations vs startups, how to actually make a business plan, to do a strategy, I have learned what is MVP and many other things that have helped me grow as a person, but also as a professional at the same time. If all this doesn’t convince you to attend at least one Startup Weekend in your life, than I don’t know what will?!?” – said Eva.
I fully agree with her, as I have explained in my previous post what has SWSkopje ‘done for me’ too. As we were finishing our cup of coffee, we started planing on where should we take the selfie. Btw, she is a selfie pro, if you ask me, so I got some hints about getting a great selfie shot 🙂 By that time, I asked her to do a sum up and to express her point of view about why people should get involved in the startup community:
“With every startup success story coming from our community I am very proud. I know some of them, that got great investments, or have joined some cool accelerator and are doing just fine. But, this is because I am involved in the community and I follow their work. People outside of this community have no idea what is happening. The problem is, that first there is very rare media coverage and second the startups don’t like to expose much, they have some kind of ‘media fear’ or that people will hate on them if they share their success story. So, this has to change, because there are stories that people need to hear/read and maybe get inspired and motivated. For, those that are waiting for a job to come to them, stop it. The feeling that you will have to work all your life from 9-5 it’s not good, it leaves you in the comfort zone where your only fear will be if and when the government will change. It is a personal choice at the end of the day, but if you are creative person and like freedom and flexibility and where the risk is not to have as many projects as you like, then you are a perfect fit for the startup community. But, whatever is your choice, you need to understand the sooner the better, that you need to learn constantly, you need to go to as many workshops, trainings, meetups and develop your talent till you become a pro, and then learn some more.” – she laughs as she finishes her thought.
It was a very open and sincere talk we had and we promised to do a #StartUpSelfie part 2, very soon! In meantime we will regularly meet every Friday night at Silicon drinkabout where every startup enthusiasts that likes to meet the Macedonian startup community is invited.
Next startup selfie from the #MKStartups community is scheduled for as soon as I get back from my trip… Where am I headed? Subscribe to the blog via e-mail and keep up with the #StartUpSelfie journey on social media:
Have a great month ahead 🙂