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    1. Santander X Explorer



    4 minutes of reading

    How a Santander X Explorer Coordinator connects with programme participants

    1. Santander X Explorer

    Álvaro Tomás García is Coordinator of Santander X Explorer at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and CEO and co-founder of Paradise Events, the project with which he carried out the programme. He knows the participant’s pains perfectly.

    When they start

    As soon as the programme begins, he starts his work as a coordinator:

    • It’s important for participants to know that they belong to a group, that they are not alone. Álvaro welcomes them with an in-person onboarding session in a university space.
    • On that first day, he suggests they pitch their project to try to reduce one of their biggest nightmares: speaking in public about their idea.

    These two things: seeing the faces of other entrepreneurs in the same situation and presenting their idea publicly are, for most, tough steps. However, by the end of the 12-week programme, when they do a new pitch, they not only come with greater confidence but also witness their own evolution.

    During the programme

    Álvaro describes himself as a somewhat “rough” Coordinator (“although halfway through the programme, the Explorers thank me for being like that,” he says), especially when they raise technical issues related to platform management, for example. In these cases, he advises them “not to get used to the ‘quick answer’”. His tips in this regard:

    • Everything is on the Explorer Platform. The first step is to refer them there.
    • And if not, to the WhatsApp group they belong to. They must be encouraged to network to solve issues among themselves.

    This is how real entrepreneurship begins, by being ‘independent’ and solving things on their own. Along the way, they will have many supports and contacts, but only they can lift and achieve their project,” he explains. And he gives us many more tips.

    When they need a team…

    “Without a team, there is no future in a project: even if you’re the best chef in the world, you still need the best cooks by your side.” What should be done to find the right people? Álvaro’s advice is:

    • If they are networking, they should try to let everyone know they are looking for teammates.
    • Writing in the Santander X Explorer WhatsApp groups they belong to is one of the best solutions: someone is sure to be able to pass on a contact.
    • Go to the corresponding faculty (for example, if they are looking for a programmer, go to the Computer Science faculty) and post an announcement.
    • Be very clear about what they are going to offer (a salary, a percentage of the company, conditions…), as this is the first thing they will be asked. “I know this is difficult, but if they don’t (do it this way), they lose opportunities,” and the people who might be interested “won’t see a solid project,” he explains.

    When I start selling… do I have to incorporate my company?

    “This is a very frequent question”. Álvaro’s recommendations in this case are:

    • When you start invoicing and, therefore, it is necessary to register in order to pay the corresponding taxes, you must first do so as a self-employed person. Each country has its own processes for this registration.
    • If the business is profitable and growing, the company will follow. However, Explorers should be warned that, when they set up as a company, the tax obligations are bigger; even so, “it’s a blessing to have to create a company because turnover is rising,” says the Coordinator of Santander X Explorer at UCM.

    Where is the funding?

    “Keep calm. First, they need to get an MVP, solidify the idea, create a forecast for 2, 3, and 5 years, pitch confidently…”. Álvaro explains that his advice is:

    Tell them to get this step out of their heads, at least during the early stages of their entrepreneurship (for example, during the 12 weeks of Santander X Explorer). Thinking about funding at this stage will only lead them to think about a distant future when their idea isn’t even consolidated in the present.

    What if a project changes its name?

    Spoiler: Nothing happens. It’s one of the recurring doubts. “They are very afraid of change,” explains the Coordinator at the UCM. Here, he recommends making it clear that “it’s more important to finish the programme with all deliverables uploaded and the knowledge acquired than a name. Santander X Explorer is a space for us to unleash all our ideas; nobody will penalize or raise objections if there’s a modification.”

    To conclude, Álvaro leaves one of the fundamental tips: “It’s important to tell them that not being number one is not a failure, that they must go until the end so that they can see an evolution and that they should not give up along the way. Entrepreneurship is hard work and they need to know that,” he adds. Take note of these words and get ready to raise motivation levels!


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