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Dmitrijs Kravcenko - Praxera

 

Praxera

www.twitter.com/praxera 

theteam@praxera.org



My enterprise project

My enterprise skills

Praxera fosters small-scale research collaborations between industry and research staff and students in universities. Praxera’s goal is to raise mutual awareness of these parties.

The idea came from personal experiences as an academic researcher. In order to conduct meaningful empirical social studies I always needed to find a suitable setting, negotiate access to it, and maintain good relations with the people there - during and after the project. This is a broad expectation for most social scientists, yet there are only exclusive networks to help their members achieve these goals.

As with any project that aims to create something utterly new, progress has been painstakingly slow. Gathering as much feedback and opinion from future users seems to be more important than rushing into the unknown with false expectations. So most of the work to date has been focused on due diligence.

By virtue of my occupation within academia I am skilled at strategic thinking and analysis. Whereas, being in the driver’s seat as a nascent entrepreneur requires an entirely different perspective. Entrepreneurs are not strategic thinkers – they are jugglers and illusionists who require energy, concentration, and a degree of ambidexterity. Not to mention a steady gust of plain good fortune. For me acquiring such skills is a continuous struggle and an exciting challenge.

 
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My enterprise support

My enterprise reflections & visions

My experience dealing with the University on this project has been very positive. I haven’t had much contact with other enterprising students, but I’ve been more than satisfied in working with members of the PREP who have been most helpful with all the formalities.

Solving problems is why people get into enterprise, but trying to be the Jack of all trades can often leave one feeling drained and frustrated. For me this feeling is most present when dealing with the mechanics of IT systems that Praxera is inevitably based upon. Some consultation and/or support in setting up basic IT would have been helpful.

 

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Starting up a business, or anything at all, requires an enormous investment in terms of time and energy. Being in the final stages of my doctoral degree, neither of these is ever in abundance. Trying to manage what really are two full-time jobs is enormously difficult. Also, it is important to realize that no matter how great your idea seems to you, the people you are going to deal with are likely to be less enthusiastic, especially when the time comes to walk the walk. Empathy is important here, as well as being able to take a hit and not take things personally; no matter how personal they may be.

I encourage students to get involved, but with a cold head. The idealized image of an entrepreneur has been perverted to such an extent that it is too easy to go all-in, but suffer severely in the long term. Starting a company is a great way to learn, test, and develop new skills that will really set you apart. But it is equally crucial to separate your business from yourself and let go or bail out when you feel that it’s no longer worth it.

In the next 3-6 months I expect to see a Beta version of Praxera up and running. I am in negotiations with an IT sub-contractor to apply the finishing touches to the platform and prepare it for release.