New mentors = new insights

This week at TEC Twente we had an evening packed with new mentors. Elke Bies is excited to share her story of the evening with you.

Hi there! My name is Elke Bies, I’m one of the entrepreneurs at TEC Twente. I’m joining the TEC program because I am starting a swimwear business.

I was asked to tell you something about last week and what my experiences are so far. Last Tuesday we had a Peer-to-Peer session, which is one of the big plusses of TEC compared to other programs. A couple of new mentors made time for us, which was perfect because there were finally mentors from out of the textile business.

We had to pitch like we are doing every week, but this time we got the chance to present our concepts in a 4-minute pitch (i.s.o. 2) AND with the use of a screen. The new mentors were very curious about our concepts, who we are and what is making us so special… Because if I’d learned one thing today, it is to be who you are – authentic – and know what you are bringing the world.

It was super great to see how everyone is growing in the last weeks. The pitches are getting better and better. The more pitches you do – the better. I’d started my pitch with a photo made at my bikini fashion show last year. From thereon I’ve pitched the steps I’d took so far and (of-course) the story behind… That story is, the reason I want to make an impact on the world we’re living in now. It’s not just about bikini’s and the feeling a bikini is giving the wearer. It’s about the circumstances people are in, when they are wearing a bikini. Because that is – most of the time – in sunlight, UV light. Which is good, if you’re protected. I want the people, the wearers of my bikini’s be more accurate about the danger of UV light: I am going to coat the bikini’s with a special coating which is changing from color when the sun’s shining brighter. And (of-course) the bikini’s are made from sustainable / reused materials.

Networking = KEY
During the short break, one of the mentors came to me with a great contact of a woman who is working on innovative fashion as well, I knew her concept already and the (succes)story behind. Such a contact is always valuable. After this mentor, I’d spoke with one with an ICT and defense background. What does that have to do with swimwear? Well, not that much. But, he had good questions and tips about the pitch I gave before. His critical view and his management experiences were valuable as well. And, after we spoke for a while, he was telling me that his wife is having a fashion school, and a great network. Lucky me :simple_smile:.

New Mentors = New Insights
Later the evening, I was talking with two mentors from out of the textile sector (thanks TEC Twente board :-)). I was glad they were there, because how great all the mentors are we had before, feedback from mentors experienced in the textile sector is something which was really helping me. We picked my Business Model Canvas and had a look at the Value Proposition and Customer Segments.. What is the real value proposition? and do I have the right customer segments who are needy to have this value? Which one is more important to me? Am I more about design and fashion, or more about the color-change and innovations? What does the market need? In the end, we came up with a totally different concept, tan-through-swimwear…

This whole evening let me think about what I really want. And what to do next: research – think – make choices. Start with my UVP and after that make the customer segments, and the rest. That’s what I’m going to do the coming week (and the 24H business challenge, of course).

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