Entrepreneur Paris de l’Etraz Inspires Young Entrepreneurs Through Venture Lab Accelerator Program


This entrepreneur and professor shares the importance of passion when it comes to spearheading a new business.



What makes a startup business successful? While others would say an organized system and strong customer focus, to entrepreneur and professor Paris de l’Etraz, the  answer is quite simple: it’s knowing the reason why you do what you do.


Since his younger years, Paris always possessed a mind that is focused on business. From selling lemonade to giving out newspapers, he always looked forward to doing his job because he loved doing it. “It gave me a bit of excitement because I got to meet people,” says Paris.


This love for business actually lead him to working in investment banking for twenty years. However, one day, when Paris turned forty-two, he had an epiphany. “I said to myself, ‘you know what, I’m not passionate about banking anymore.’” Then out of nowhere,  a Japanese investor asked him for help in bringing a Spanish soccer team to Japan, and that’s what allowed him to start something of his own. In result, he was able to build his first startup business that focused on sports.



Starting Venture Lab Accelerator


But after eight years and five other startups, Paris wanted to give back to society by sharing his knowledge to people. So, he decided to shift from business to the academe, and become a full-time professor in IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.


From then, he founded IE Business School’s startup accelerator named Venture Lab. Venture Lab is an academic project that takes teams of students to train and prepare investor-ready business ventures. Each team consists of one current student or alumnus/a, where they receive mentorship and training from professors from IE to build the best startup that will be eventually pitched and presented on Venture Day.


Venture Day is the culminating activity wherein students get to showcase new ideas and skills that can be brought to the market. Together with  Deputy Director Allison Rohe, they are responsible for fifty startup projects for Venture Days in Madrid that happen twice a year.


Furthermore, Paris is also responsible for organizing IE Venture Days in different countries like Paolo, Mexico City, Bogota, London, Milan, Dubai, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai and Istanbul.



Advice to young entrepreneurs


When it comes to starting a business, “An entrepreneur needs to have a why, that’s not money,” says Paris. During his experience in teaching, he noticed that this is the common mistake that most young entrepreneurs keep doing. Many focus on building a business that earns money fastly. However, there is no reason why they do what they do. “An entrepreneur is being committed to an idea. There  has to be a personal story on why you do things. If you’re only doing something for the money, then you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re just a business person.” says Paris.


To have a great startup, Paris suggests that one should always have a reason to why you do your business. Once you have your why, this will complete the equation of your successful venture because you have the drive and passion to keep it running.