Encouraging students to innovate
Spaeth addressed the war in her talk on March 30 by referencing other recent international conflicts.
“I was more cognizant of empathetic intentionality and attempted to project a kind of understanding for a situation that I could not begin to fully feel or fathom. At the end of the day, however, I knew that our mutual understanding of the power of entrepreneurship, collaborative innovation and a desire for peace would be the theme that we shared,” she said.
Spaeth encouraged the Ukrainian students by noting impressive growth in their country’s business startup community the past decade and “sharing case studies of companies that even they did not know were Ukrainian, such as WhatsApp, Grammarly, Gitlab, Petcube and Jooble,” she said, and offered tips, tools, networks and strategies for taking startups global at their inception.
She told them that 50% of new companies founded in the U.S. between 2017 and 2020 were started by immigrants, and less than 30% of startup founders are native-born Americans.
“I ended with a reminder that: Entrepreneurship, practiced ethically and empathetically, means freedom to gain financial wealth through self-determination and a means to escape difficult situations while making a positive contribution to your community by making the world a better place.”
In late May, Spaeth will reconnect with the course and listen to Ukrainian students’ plans for business startups. She will be in Sweden at the time leading a study abroad course for 17 UW-Stout students, who also will listen to business pitches of these students to an international audience of potential investors.
Before her presentation, Spaeth was introduced virtually by Professor Roman Hladyshevsky, vice rector for research at Ivan Franko National University and academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Spaeth also gave a keynote address on March 31 to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit in the Asian Pacific hosted by 3Day Startup in Austin, Texas.
From Thursday to Saturday, April 7-9, she will represent the Entrepreneur Futures Network at the Rice University Business Plan Competition in Houston. She serves on the Advisory Board for EFN.