Written by Matheus Moura | Business Administration Undergrad Student at University of Porto 

I remember my first day at the European Innovation Academy. It was a lovely Sunday, and I spent it going over ideas that would serve as the foundation of my startup. I had no idea what was yet to come. A great adventure was about to begin, and it would be the most fabulous experience of my life.

My journey was a little different, as I only joined my team on Tuesday. Our initial idea was far from perfect, and we had to pivot. So we pivoted, and pivoted, and pivoted again – until we came up with an idea that we could really work on. 

Then we started defining the unique value proposition, getting customer validation, planning the marketing strategy, pitching to investors, and so forth. It was not easy. There were days that my team and I worked all night to have everything done, thinking of all the details and worrying about getting our mentors’ approval. 

When I think about each challenge we tackled, the adversities we handled, and the fact that we built a startup in just 3 weeks, I feel a lot of pride.

Technical skills were not the only challenge. Working on a diverse and international team demands a lot from each participant. We all had some tough moments, and we struggled to get onto the same page. This was definitely our pain point, but it was also the most instructive exercise we experienced together. We had to learn how to cope with different cultures and backgrounds, listen to each other, let go of our pride, and get over the fear of sharing our thoughts – even if they sounded like the silliest ideas. During the program, I used to say that the team is like a marriage, and like any healthy marriage, we had to feel comfortable with each other and any competing opinions. 


The best part? By the end of the EIA, we weren’t just a team. We were friends – friends whom I will forever keep in my heart.

I will always be thankful for the opportunity that the European Innovation Academy provided me: To develop my entrepreneurial skills, both technically and interpersonally. I’m also grateful to EIA for making me feel more confident and allowing me to prove to myself that if I try hard enough, I can achieve anything in life. And finally, I’m grateful for the friendships I made and the great moments I experienced. It all started with that lovely Sunday, and it soon turned into a series of moments that I will never forget.

Do you want to read more inspiring stories about all participants? Check out our blog!