Most of us entrepreneurs have lost ourselves from the true purpose of innovation – according to my guest today Nelson Javier Mejia – an Innovation enthusiast and entrepreneur from El Salvador, who moved to Germany 10 years ago. Nelson is one of the most active members at WeWork Labs in Frankfurt. That’s where we met and that’s the kick-off point for a discussion that covered his great success at #WirVsVirus with karmakurier and his vision for weSpark. Get to know more about Nelson in our Interview here.
Guest article by Pedro Ferreira
Who are you, what are you doing and how did you get to what you do today?
My name is Nelson Javier Mejia, but everyone knows me as “Nelson, the innovation guy”. I was born in El Salvador, Central America and moved to Germany when I was 18 to become a product development engineer.
A few years ago, I was working as an innovation manager at different companies from the Lufthansa Group. I had several interactions with internal and external innovation consultants and their work; I noticed that I was totally disappointed and unsatisfied with the innovation services market in Germany and Europe and decided to pursue my own project to change the course of the innovation stage. In 2019, I started my entrepreneurship journey and founded my first company weSpark, an agency dedicated to teaching, coaching, and generating innovation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I joined the #WirVsVirus Hackathon (We-Against-The-Virus) which was organized by the Federal German Government and, till this date, it is the largest business competition ever organized with more than 43 thousand participants and over 1500 submitted projects. Together with other participants driven by the desire to strengthen solidarity and combat COVID-19, we created the most popular project of this hackathon and I co-founded the social platform karmakurier.
How would you describe your business ideas in a maximum of 3 sentences?
weSpark solves big problems by utilizing unique, extraordinary innovation methods. The vision is to spread a human-centric perspective on innovation and to make innovation easy for all customers. In addition to the weSpark’s business, the innovation agency generates positive impact by developing and sharing new innovations methods and educating scholars and students in innovation management; both projects are part of weSpark’s research- & social contributions.
What was your biggest mistake?
In the past year, I made countless mistakes, but the biggest mistake I did was not learning fast enough to concentrate on a single big objective at the time and say no to any request which could potentially take me out of track, from achieving that objective.
Where do you see yourself and your projects in five years?
I see myself working with the most motivated and happy colleagues; all of us will share the same common goal: “To make the world a better place”
Since the very first day, weSpark has been contributing to innovation research and positive social impact by educating the younger generation in innovation management. In the future, our business should flourish to enable us to have a higher reach with our research and social projects! Additionally, I expect karmakurier to help thousands of people in need too.
My personal dream is to build the first dedicated innovation ship, fully customized to facilitate innovation workshops and capable of moving our headquarter from city to city in Europe.
What connects you to the FrankfurtRheinMain region? And what is happening in our startup ecosystem?
My home is around 10’000 kilometers away from here, but since I arrived to Hessen, I have not stopped exploring the city and region. After four years, I can proudly say that I feel a part of Frankfurt and believe that Frankfurt is part of me.
The startup stage is undoubtedly growing. My impression is that it has been evolving in the past decade, but there are still lots of changes to be done before the region becomes “startup mature”. When I talk with my entrepreneur and startup friends, it becomes evident that everything is going the right way.
What would you suggest to anyone looking to start their own project/company?
There are three suggestions I find imperative to start a business:
- Grow your network! You need to expose yourself to different people and their perspectives.
- Join forces! It is easier to develop and market a business together than alone.
- Mindset comes first! At the end, there is nothing more important than having the right attitude to face the biggest challenges.
Finally, an extra question: Describe briefly how the Corona period was so far to you and all your projects – including Karmakurier
The start of the pandemic brought a lot of new challenges for me; dealing with the uncertainty of starting a business is already big enough of a deal, but adding a global crisis to it, demanded from me to mature and reinvent myself faster than ever before.