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I dedicated the past 3 years of my life to helping out independent artists through different means. I started Book a Street Artist & PANTA Magazine with the mission to empower indie artists and make them more visible. Many times I have had my doubts whether this is gonna work or not. I guess it is normal as an entrepreneur to occasionally have doubts. However, it was only until I jumped into an ice hole in Finland that I fully understood the importance of what we do as a company. Finland & the ice hole were a refreshing moment for my career and my startup. Literally!

The Ice Hole for the Polar Bear Pitching Finals with Mario Rueda - Photo by Henri Luoma
The Ice Hole for the Polar Bear Pitching Finals – Photo by Henri Luoma

This February our startup was chosen to present at Polar Bear Pitching 2017 in Oulu, Finland. But the competition had a chilly surprise: founders had to step waist-deep into a real ice hole with really cold ice water – something I am more than not used to growing up in a tropical spot like Colombia! But hey, I love it when things have an interesting twist. Challenge accepted!

The experience in Oulu made me realize that people recognize the fact that I went for the extra mile, and that the passion I have for what I am doing makes me get out of my comfort zone. But there is one thought that keeps spinning in my head: the artists I work with are actually the ones jumping into dark and cold ice holes whenever they work on a new song, series of paintings, or conceptualizing a new show. They do not know how the result will be, but they do it anyway. They take the risk because they are passionate about it and they believe in it. They get out of their comfort zone and experience something new. They teach us, business people, that many times it is worth more to try out new stuff and defy the status quo.

Artists teach us, business people, that many times it is worth more to try out new stuff and defy the status quo.

When we look at a painting, many times we give it a simple thumbs up or thumbs down based on our first impression whether we like it or not. Same thing with a new song we hear or a performance we see – where is the appreciation for the hard work behind the artistic creation? The many jumps into ice holes that have led to the ultimate result that we can see, hear, touch or feel? In my opinion, this appreciation has yet to be stronger.

More Appreciation For Artists

I love the fact that the ice hole experience has not only pushed me on a personal level, it has also inspired me once again for our mission and our daily activities at Book a Street Artist.

Today, I am more confident than ever that what really gets us going at Book a Street Artist is not the pure short-term transactional goal of closing bookings, but the long-term vision of empowering artistic talent and making it universally accessible.

Some Photos From The #PolarBeatPitching Competition 2017

Get to know more about this fantastic startup competition here; or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.