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Held as a part of »Leadership & Entrepreneurship Days«, organized by CEED Entrepreneurial Network.

Socializing with a meaning was on this occasion held within the project »Leadership & Entrepreneurship Days«, organized by the Entrepreneurial Network CEED – Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive development.

Renowned guest from the USA, Jerry Colonna began his address with the following topic

»Overcome the Fear, Create and Live the Vision«, and in the discussion that followed challenged the representatives of the three spheres that can help to restart a company – economy, education system and the media.

Jerry Colonna, a renowned US investor and one of the first investors in Twitter, Lycos, Geocities and the Slovenian company Zemanta; at present a world-renowned entrepreneur coach extraordinaire; recipient of many awards and inspiring co-speaker; by Upside Magazine ranked among 100 most influential people of the new economy and by Forbes magazine among the best and most influential investors, was on this opportunity also in the role of moderator.

His guest speakers were:

  • dr. Jernej Pikalo, Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia
  • špela šipek, long-time journalist and editor
  • mag. Dejan Turk, Chairman of the Management Board of Si.mobil and Chairman of the Manager Association

US investor Jerry Colonna:

Everything is acceptable in Slovenia, only failure is unacceptable, but there is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in Slovenia

The Business Breakfast started with a morning dance for all participants. The choreography was made by a successful Slovenian dancer Nika Kljun from the Dance School Bolero, who spends most of her time dancing in Los Angeles. Her energy entranced the businessmen and politicians and they altogether danced the so-called »morning dance« and thus awaken their bodies and all senses before listening to excellent motivator Jerry Colonna.

In love with Slovenia and impressed by Slovenian creativity, Jerry Colonna began his address to Slovenian leading economists and politicians by saying: »I have a special optimistic feeling for a country, in which economists and politicians are willing to dance on a business event. Everything will be fine with you«.

Jerry Colonna gave a simple formula that identifies a real entrepreneur: »Entrepreneur takes prompt action despite his fears, he is »a pathological optimist« and inspires us«. He believes that entrepreneurs always see a chance for a better world, for a better way.

Colonna asked the participants to consider whether we live in a crisis or in a moment of opportunity. He is convinced that Slovenia is full of people with entrepreneurial mindset, who see such opportunities and pointed out the work of Igor Akrapovič, Andraž Tori and Boštjan špetič from Zemanta. »Slovenia is full of entrepreneurial potential, you only have to open your eyes«, he said and set a challenge: »Ljubljana is a great place for entrepreneurship. And if not, what are you going to do about it«? He quoted a motto an entrepreneur should have: »Work and fun is one and the same thing. And we are even paid for it«. He pointed out that with such thinking, the success is guaranteed.

He also explained that it is generally erroneously assumed that entrepreneurs want to become rich, as the majority of entrepreneurs are not motivated by money, but by their desire for a better world.

Colonna about Slovenians

»I like Slovenians, but do I do not know much about Slovenia. However, I can tell you what I have felt – Slovenians are too much waiting for help from somewhere else, from »the others«. Who are »they – the others«? The entrepreneurs take prompt action – they do not wait for them – »the others«. »There are no they – it’s only us«!

And he gave even a greater emphasis to his address by quoting Robert F. Kennedy: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

»You have the advantages, you are not aware of. You are much better prepared for the global economy, than you think you are. Have you noticed that we are right now speaking in English? Let me inform you that in the U.S. nobody would talk to you in Slovenian language…« Jerry Colonna meaningfully concluded his speech.

Collona about himself

American investor in the light of the psychology of entrepreneurship also spoke about his life and personal crisis that he experienced, despite the fact that he was already a very rich man. He felt an inner emptiness, was depressed, even had thoughts of suicide, he was lost in a way. Then he decided to do the first step. He left his job. He then started to read a lot, got close to Buddhism and found a new meaning of life when he helped people affected by the earthquake in Tibet: »When I saw the consequences of the earthquake in 2010 in Tibet, I knew that I had to do something. I needed to improve the world. And I went to Tibet«. He realized that a real change in the world can be made only by creating economic opportunities. »The entrepreneur is interested in what is happening in the world and he acts on the basis of what he had seen«, he added.

Colonna about education

Dr. Jernej Pikalo, Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia believes that in Slovenia we are aware of the importance of education and that we are actively working on the imparting entrepreneurial attitudes and entrepreneurial values within the school system. The Slovenian school system should be according to the minister, at all time between the 10th and 20th place on a global scale of quality. »I believe that we had good potentials in constant innovations within the school system«, he said. »Children are set a problem, but not given a solution. We can only help them to find it«, the minister presented the approach at teaching children. Jerry Collona introduced two decisions on education in Singapore as a comparison between the two school systems:

  • They have announced that computer programs will be present in all levels of education – which necessarily leads to a new way of thinking.
  • They have announced to install prototypes of 3D printers in the schools.

Colonna about the media

»Everything is acceptable in Slovenia, only failure is unacceptable, as you tend to turn it into defeat«, noticed Colonna. With this statement he challenged špela šipek, a long-time journalist and editor, and asked her about the role of the media at changing this characteristic of Slovenians.

špela šipek frankly revealed her views on the media: »The media actually are the co-creators of the manner of thinking in society. Therefore, I feel a great responsibility in my profession. Although coming straight from the media, I am critical of the current role of the media, yet I am realistic, because I know the actual situation too well. There are problems everywhere either regarding reducing expenses, or lack of time to generate a great deal of information, time runs out for a productive journalistic research. At my work, we truly wished to publish positive stories about companies, about start-ups, but… Positive stories for me personally are very important however I have been noticing for a longer period of time that we, the media are not actually aware of how powerful the tools are in our hands.

18 years ago, I started working in journalism, because I actually wanted to change the world. In the end I was sad, depressed and disappointed. I left my job working as the editor, although I did not have a new job guaranteed. I just knew when it was time to go, but I really had to gather a lot of courage to do it. At that moment I knew what I would teach my daughter. It is not enough to tell her to learn, to be a good girl, to … Now I know that I can give her the most important message: »Be brave«!

I think that the biggest problem in the media is the lack of knowledge and respect – in Slovenia and globally. Young journalists can really do a lot, but they lack the necessary skills, expertise, experience and necessary wisdom. Therefore there remains a lot of inaccurate information on all channels. In fact, you can lose yourself easily in the information without context.

Jerry Colonna deeply admired her honesty and courage. He agreed that we need an independent and open media that would point on »the bad guys«, but also on good business stories.

»Imagine that the media would keep telling you constantly: »Look, how bad our economy is. Why? What can we do to improve it«?

Changes are a necessary part of life

Mag. Dejan Turk, Chairman of the Management Board of Si.mobil and Chairman of the Manager Association spoke about his opinions, views and experiences as a successful businessman, strategist and a modern leader: »At this time we urgently need inspiring and motivating people like Jerry and events like this one is. It is also an imperative that we try to impart an entrepreneurial spirit to children in Slovenia. From my personal and business life I can assure you that changes are necessary and welcome. Therefore, we need to represent them to children in the right light and not in a way that they would be afraid of them«.