Humans of AMS: Yiannis Ioannou

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Yiannis, MIE

“Ill say that, just, if youre going to die, die in style. Do whatever you want. Do whatever you say, what you believe. Be authentic.”

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Two years ago I was in deep depression for at least ten months. Because I was trying to be someone else. But I wasn’t getting where I wanted. Depression is a good sign to adjust your life to where you want to go. When you are in depression it is bad, you cannot see the next stage. But after, it is a very positive thing that helps you change your life.

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I am from Cyprus. It seems that people keep that in their mind because I always talk about Cyprus. But I’m also half Austrian. I am very proud of my family. The way I grew up was very different and has made me the person I am today. I can say that the maturity which people can recognize in me is because of the circumstances of my life.

I lost my father when I was 11 years old and I had to take care of my family, and we also had issues with my bigger family. I was like the new father and the new husband which wasn’t always easy. It’s not because I just wanted to take the role but I took the initiative. It would normally be my older brother, as culture would have it, but I can say that he didn’t really take any initiative. Even now, my biggest complaint in life is why I don’t have a father. In my culture, our childhood was dependent on that. It was a tragedy, but it made my whole family become very close. We are very happy now, and we are celebrating the first marriage in my family next week.

I want to follow my father’s steps. He was an entrepreneur and I think I have the traits for becoming an entrepreneur. I have invested and made money and lost money and still am working on ideas. But I have seen other guys in MIE that are really taking things seriously. For example, Madis is involved in entrepreneurship. Only when you speak to people do you really know.

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The reason I decided to study further was because you always have to be a learner and I wanted to have a more academic knowledge of what is happening in entrepreneurial world. I didn’t come here for the title of the master, I just came to learn to go to the next level. Actually, I am working to challenge myself in things that I never believed I was good at. Like learning coding language, or other technical things. I want to challenge myself. I also want to learn Spanish. In August I will be going to Colombia. If I like it, I might move there. I was going to go before coming to Belgium. But then I said ok, do the master and then go. I don’t regret not going because now I am more mature and ready to do something there.

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About the Entrepreneurship events at AMS

The entrepreneurial event took a lot of organization. I saw a gap at school. I couldn’t see where the was entrepreneurship encouraged here. They came in class to talk to us about it, but by that time I had already booked the speaker. I wanted to organize big events and speakers for my classmates because I had done it before. I’m very happy about it because one girl in our class – she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be an entrepreneur – now she knows for sure that she does. She came and told me that this helped her make up her mind. Even people who have a job now, maybe in a few years they will want to do something on their own. The way the speakers were talking was very practical. The idea was that they would talk us through the first few steps which are very important. Everyone hears about being an entrepreneur, but the first steps are the most difficult.

On future plans

Finding an opportunity is one of my talents. When I am within a team, I am trying to push people. Now I know what is in the market. I see there is full potential and when I’m ready I will find people I trust and see if they want to join me. Out of the school I’m working on some ideas right now, not open to public yet. I want to see if I can develop something.

One reason I came here was to see if I could find my co-founder. There is one person I found, but he wants to stay in Belgium, and I really don’t want to stay here. He also proposed something to do with me, and I said yes, I am really keen to work with you.

 

Interviewed by Christelle Conti, Julia Ivanishcheva, Sophia Sellars and Smitha Shastry

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