“You need a sustainable competitive advantage”

Julia Derndinger is a professional coach and sparring partner for managers, entrepreneurs and companies who always encourages young people to found their own businesses and to be brave entrepreneurs. In an interview, the HHL Aluma and entrepreneur speaks about the importance of role models in entrepreneurship, how she personally benefited from the education at HHL and what her advice for young founders is.

Why do young people need entrepreneurial role models?

I think it is still very new to become an entrepreneur in Germany so I think we need role models to really consider it as a career option beside the corporate and consulting world.

How can a conference like Accelerate encourage entrepreneurial minds to take the next step?

I think it is important that you go to conferences to see your role models and that you get in touch with what works easily and what doesn’t to be less frightened of taking this step of entrepreneurship for yourself.

What would be your advice to young entrepreneurs at our conference?

If I had the chance to give advice to young entrepreneurs, it is not just for the conference but it is the idea of learning and growing. If you go to a conference like HHL Accelerate there is a great chance to meet many people and not only to see them on stage but also to talk to them during the breaks and that is the best way to learn.

As an entrepreneur, how did you personally benefit from your education and time at HHL?

When I was at HHL, it was the initial Internet hype in Germany so we had already been involved in Internet start-ups and some of my colleagues founded the first companies. In this way, I had already learned what it means to start a company and I would say in the long run in building up my own companies, the network of HHL helped me the most. There is one particular thing I learned in strategic management, which is that you need a sustainable competitive advantage and that you have to be better than others. That key message is what I still benefit from in my everyday work.

What top three readings (books) would you recommend young entrepreneurs?

My number one book would be “Multiplier” which teaches you how to lead people without diminishing them. Number two would be “LifeManual” by Peter Thomas, which is a life pilot to organize your life along the lines of your values. The third book should be one that is fun to read because it is not all about working but also about having fun.

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