As you might know, the Tesseract Academy has an extensive network of partners covering all kinds of subjects, from entrepreneurship to data science to blockchain.

We are proud to announce today that Narcis Balalau will be joining us as a partner, offering his services as a strategy and entrepreneurship advisor.

Here is an interview with Narcis reflecting back on some lessons from 2020.

Looking back on 2020, which was your professional most successful initiative/achievement? 

The opportunity to focus on networking, meeting lots of interesting people and setting up the roots for a successful portfolio of start-ups, clients and projects for the years ahead.

What are your most priorities in terms of planning for this year? 

My pipeline is already pretty busy, but I always have space for more. I am looking to expand on my NED offering, as well as helping entrepreneurs to focus on their USP in order to kickstart their product and become successful.

With the ending of the BREXIT transition period and new rules being here, what do you think the impact will be? 

Mostly on the small firms, as they have limited resources to navigate a much more complex red tape and cumbersome logistics, which will result on a reduced profitability. SMEs will need to look for partnerships with technological solutions providers in order to survive. I am heavily involved within the SaaS tech sector and I see a few exciting ones out there that will be critical to the success of many high street venues.

The Government has put in place several measures in order to help business owners and operators throughout the pandemic and lockdowns. What are your thoughts on what is available to you?

Unfortunately, there are not many options for start-ups that are either pre-revenue or without a published set of accounts, so the lack of vision from government side on such a creative sector is puzzling me. You need to see that the start-ups of today are the cash cows of tomorrow for the public finances, so not focusing on that seems short-sighted. There are a few grants or loans for start-ups, but I believe it is much less than what is available in other developed economies.

As we all know, employees’ and people’s well-being & mental health have been critical points during 2020. How have you incorporated them in your operations, and have you changed your ways of working in order to accommodate different working patterns (flexible hours, working from home…)?

For me mental health has always been very important, especially at business executive level. That is why I am also an NED for my local NFP Mind, this way I am putting in practice what I preach for. Burnout is real at executive level, so I am also coaching business leaders on that aspect of their personal development alongside their business needs. I value freedom, so my pattern of work has been flexible for the past decade as I focus on outcomes/deliverables instead of a traditional 9-5 office presence, so for me the pandemic did not change my work style. Also, for me leadership must be based on trust and mutual respect, not fear and control. What i managed to improve last year was the time management skills I had in order to always have time on a daily basis for my physical activities. Remember, “Mens sana in corpore sano” (“a healthy mind in a healthy body”)

What positive lessons do we need to learn from what the industry has been through? 

Together we are stronger than each one by ourselves, so collaboration is key to success. Also embracing change at all levels, as without change there is no progress, and without progress there is no future.