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A Valuable Mentorship Experience

Two years ago Tuire Siiriainen launched her startup Blueberry & Pie. Her first print-on-demand book Message in a Bottle is now available in six languages online and at bookstores. She’s mentored by David Schrieberg – Pulitzer prizewinning newspaper reporter and digital media entrepreneur. What does this mentoring association bring them? David Schrieberg confides in Silicon Luxembourg.
(Featured Image: David Schrieberg and Tuire Siiriainen / Image Credit © Silicon Luxembourg)
Why did you chose to be a mentor?

I was honored in 2014 to be named the “sponsor” of Season V of the program when it was still housed at the Chambre de Commerce, and to participate as a juror helping in the selection of mentees. As an active entrepreneur myself, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the applicants from various nationalities and backgrounds, stages of professional and private life, and, especially, their enthusiasm, hunger and love of innovation. Invited to increase my support by becoming a mentor really was “an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

“The evolving and ever-faster transformation of Luxembourg into a hub of innovation and an atmosphere encouraging entrepreneurship has been one of the most satisfying aspects of my professional life in the Grand Duchy.”

What do you like in the Business Mentoring program?

I love the diversity of entrepreneurs and their ideas, and of the mentors as well. Having exposure to “both sides of the table” is a real pleasure. It’s especially gratifying to me as an American expat, now heading my fourth enterprise and who upon arriving to Luxembourg in 2003 found an environment that while not exactly hostile to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship was far from welcoming. The evolving and ever-faster transformation of Luxembourg into a hub of innovation and an atmosphere encouraging entrepreneurship, especially over the past five years or so, has been one of the most satisfying aspects of my professional life in the Grand Duchy. The Business Mentoring program can and should be an important pillar in the entrepreneurial ecosystem we all want to establish permanently in Luxembourg.

“Almost all startups are a long, hard, difficult slog, and I sensed from the start that Tuire had what it took to see her way through to success…”

Why did you chose mentoring Blueberry & Pie’s founder?

I was immediately impressed with her commitment and dedication, her unshakable faith in her concept and love for her product and customers (children), which evolved into multiple products over the course of our year working together. I saw the characteristics that I believe are fundamental and necessary for a successful entrepreneur – including the critical understanding that the steep peaks and steeper valleys, the churning stomach, the self-doubts and long, dark nights of the soul, are all part of the package. The Facebooks of the world are one in a million. Almost all startups are a long, hard, difficult slog, and I sensed from the start that Tuire had what it took to see her way through to success, to learn from all ups and downs and incorporate those learnings into her business. I’m happy to say that so far, at least, I was right.

“Create relationships. Nurture them. The best and most valuable ones will grow with you, will sustain you and your business when you need them most, and help you to success.”

What did you ’teach’ her? What were your main pieces of advice?

First, a clarification. Tuire taught me as much as I “taught” her. But I’d sum up my main piece of advice as so: To be an entrepreneur, you’d better have nerves of steel and stomach of iron. It’s not for everybody. Tuire has those qualities and I have no doubt that she will be a successful entrepreneur. My other advice: Create relationships. Nurture them. The best and most valuable ones will grow with you, will sustain you and your business when you need them most, and help you to success.

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