The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Q&A with Henrik Scheel, Entrepreneur and Founder of The Startup Experience

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Henrik Scheel, the founder of the Startup Experience Inc., seeks to instill a sense of responsibility in people to improve the broader world through entrepreneurship. Scheel believes that design thinking is valuable tool in finding and/or creating opportunities that can improve social well-being through human-centered business solutions. Henrik Scheel is a Danish serial entrepreneur currently living in San Francisco where he focuses on startup projects in entrepreneurship education and telecom.  After working in innovation management, he moved to Silicon Valley where he founded Startup Experience Inc. Through Startup Experience he has formed partnerships with governments, NGOs and corporate non-profits in 15+ countries and is striving to transform entrepreneurship education in today’s school system.

Before presenting his talk, "How Might We Discover Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Social Good?”, Courtney Wong '15 spoke with Henrik Scheel for a brief interview.

Courtney Wong (CW): How did you get involved in entrepreneurship?
Henrik Scheel (HS): I've always wanted to become an entrepreneur. I knew from the beginning that I  wouldn’t fit well in a corporate setting and that I wanted to be my own boss at my own pace.  So at a very young age, I founded a couple of my own companies.  Then in college, I worked in the engineering field where I did innovation management, looking at new technology trends and market opportunities. It was a really great learning experience in a corporate setting, but then I decided that it wasn't for me and moved to Silicon Valley.  

Silicon Valley is an amazing place were you can find a lot of smart people who want to (and can) change the world.  I went to as many networking events as I could, and it kind of just occurred to me that a lot of young people should have the opportunity to learn of entrepreneurship. Too few students hear about the entrepreneurial mindset – anyone can live their dream right out of college!  So now I'm using the Startup Experience curriculum to work with governments and universities all over the world to teach individuals about the entrepreneurial spirit.

CW: You have often said that entrepreneurship involved being proactive about creating your own opportunities in life, but that seems pretty daunting, especially for young people who aren't sure what they might be interested in.  How might young people, like Dartmouth students, start becoming entrepreneurs?
HS: Anyone can be entrepreneurial! The more you practice, the better you become. You may not have to start your own company, but being entrepreneurial is important for all of us. There are different ways of being an entrepreneur, and that's why it applies to everyone.

In fact, I think that not being an entrepreneur is even more scary. As an entrepreneur, you can explore different career paths and opportunities. If you lock yourself into a corporate job, you will be so affected about your corporate environment and limit yourself from realizing your passions. Being an entrepreneur is a great way to learn about yourself and where your interests lie.

CW: What are you most looking forward to about coming to Dartmouth for the Startup Experience?
HS: I've done the Startup Experience with 14 countries around the world, and so I'm really excited to see what amazing ideas Dartmouth students can come up with. In my past workshops, ideas were launched overnight and were actually acquired by other companies after 6 months.  This isn’t just some exercise – this is real life. Students should take this as a real opportunity to form an idea and run with it.

Sign up for the Startup Experience workshop August 2-3 here -- seats are limited, so register soon!
Henrik Scheel is also presenting a public program on August 1 (free and open to all without registration), and you can find out more about that here.

To learn more about the Startup Experience, please visit their website.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences