On 28-29 September CEED Slovenia hosted a two-day CEED international conference “The Future of Business” in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The conference brought together 350 entrepreneurs from 16 countries and 15 speakers from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., London and Ljubljana. The conference, which was designed as a series of interactive CEED workshops, explored how to be better prepared for the future of business. Some key messages were 1) the urgency of focusing on customers who are quickly and continuously changing their habits, 2) being adaptive and flexible as the future is difficult to predict, and 3) how business models based on the sharing economy are becoming more relevant and prevalent.  These dynamics are also demanding change in how we lead ourselves and others.


Some additional thoughts from the conference:


Michael Dermer (New York), the author of The Lonely Entrepreneur: “Passion and grit used to be enough to succeed – today, this is no longer valid.  Everyone has passion. Successful entrepreneurs are those who work on improving their skills every day. Today, it’s very easy to start a business, but it’s much harder to maintain and grow your business.” His advice to entrepreneurs is to find their own playground, where no one else is playing. “Of course this is not easy, otherwise everyone would find it, but it’s worth the effort. You need to find what solely you can offer, even if it’s a very small thing.”


Chelsea Rustrum (San Francisco), one of the top ten experts in sharing economics, author of “It’s A Shareable Life”, and adviser to companies such as Couchsurfing: “If your business is such that you want to operate it as a community, it is also necessary that the financing part of the business model is based on cooperation, such as crowfunding. Common values ​​will undoubtedly be a competitive advantage in the future – in fact, they will be necessary.”


Jaka Levstek (London), founder of D.Labs, which specializes in supporting startup founders in their early-stage of product and customer development:  “An entrepreneur has to look to the future. They should learn to seek answers to their challenges from the future perspective, looking back into the present. An entrepreneur must also be able to overcome their own psychological obstacles, surround themselves with extraordinary people, and above all have the courage to present  their ideas to investors or business partners, even when they are not yet successful. Unfortunately, we are still talking only about the most successful stories. It’s not important to be the best; it’s important to be different – even if you’re smaller, regional – it’s important that you dare to be in the spotlight.


Barbara Bregar – Mrzlikar, Director of CEED Slovenia: “Today everything changes very fast – how we learn, act, and communicate. We cannot learn solely from books about how business and management changes, as they are already part of the past – so it is important to meet, talk and share experiences. This is what CEED is all about.“