Lidia Varbanova: “A word of advice for young people: when starting a business, do not take NO for an answer”

She has over 20 years of expertise as advisor, researcher and manager in over 55 countries. Lidia Varabanova’s activity is focused on development policies and strategies, entrepreneurship, organizational development and online technologies, with particular emphasis on art, culture and creative technologies. Recently she has participated in an event in Chisinau, sharing her experience and knowledge in entrepreneurship and fundraising.

She thinks that although in some countries culture is not very profitable, certain important aspects could help one make some money in this sector:

  • first, it is necessary to understand that the market is not limited to the Republic of Moldova only. The market is global, and in order to make a profit in a certain area, you should be able to use the new technologies as most of the arts and culture products and services are sold mainly online;

  • you should speak several foreign languages. It is not enough to speak only Romanian and Russian, you should know at least one international language;

  • you should also have knowledge of business models, since lots of arts people complain about shortage of money, lack of government support or scarcity of sponsors. Those working in arts must know as much as possible about business models and the multitude of means to continue working on their creative product. One of the possibilities is to have an organization to make money in order to further invest it in your creative product, or to open a business based on certain creative activity, such as design, fashion, publishing, etc.

“The way young people get involved in culture differs from country to country. In some countries young people start by finding a common space for creation, a place they pay minimum rent for and where they share equipment in order to work in a collaborative environment. There are also lots of those who start a business when seeing that it is profitable in another country and doesn’t exist in their locality. It is easy to start a business. Sometimes it is enough to add something new to an existing product or service and try to highlight this change. Many young people prefer to start social businesses aimed at helping the society. This is a positive aspect that has to be promoted.” says Lidia Varbanova.

In order to start a business in creative industries, take the following steps:

  • create a general idea that has to be innovative, since not all ideas represent something new;

  • carry out market research and profitability tests in order to find out if a product is demanded, if people are ready to pay for it, and in order to find its target group;

  • find a partner, since most businesses need partners;

  • calculate the cost of business in order to know exactly how much you have to invest.

“A word of advice for young people: when starting a business, do not take NO for an answer. If you want to do something - do it! Young people are known for fighting with the system. However, I recommend to have self-confidence rather than to blindly rebel. When starting a business, a young person must take heed of all advice offered, but should deviate from the selected path. It is also important to have financial knowledge and be aware of business models, since lots of innovative businesses with excellent start have failed due to the failure to choose the right business model or to implement it correctly. You are good at new technologies, so take advantage of it”. 

The article was drawn up in cooperation with the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme 2015-2018 – 

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