Can’t Save Them All

Up to this point, I’ve highlighted my commute to work, and the organizational culture. From the hyper-accelerated pace that turns the morning commute into a race to the rigid hierarchy that constricts the flow of ideas and communication, each aspect surrounding my internship contributes to my understanding of Spain. This week I saw my first flamenco show, it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced, it may sound unrelated, but let’s see.

I work for the ViCe ILP Foundation. Yes, the the title may have “vice” in it, but we do good work. In Introduction to Finance, we learned that there are two types of people: people that have money, but no ideas (investors) and people that have ideas, but no money; in the middle you find ViCe ILP. At this non-profit organization, we facilitate the finding of financing for entrepreneurs through two channels: external investors, a group composed of national and international participants; and the Comite Asesor, which is our in-house investing group; the best way to think of the organization is as a go-between that’s also a mini venture capital firm.

Unlike most services industries, we do deal with “raw materials”, i.e. the entrepreneurs. Like all raw materials, the entrepreneurs that come to us unpolished, must be processed and prepped for the investors: we help the entrepreneurs with their business plans, their presentation drafts, and also with legal advice. In order to get this raw material it takes a lot of leg work, from online marketing to personal selling at entrepreneurial conventions, so we try to make sure that the projects we take on have solid market concepts and are viable.

This is where the flamenco show comes in.

When I first started, I read a file about on a project whose value proposition was a flamenco appraisal service. At first I was very skeptical of what the company was proposing: there was a very small market for this service, no clear appraisal system, no business model, etc; but, when I saw the flamenco show I saw the value. Seeing that show, an ancient tradition preserved and passed down, encapsulated by the voices, the guitar, the movements; I saw the need to preserve the purest form of this art form. The hardest part of the job is having to pass on those that have noble causes but aren’t viable businesses.

The mission of our organization is to increase the number of business being created in Spain to increase the number of jobs in order to stimulate the still-recovering economy. Although in the eyes of that entrepreneur saving flamenco was the noblest of causes, we had to pass on it.

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