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Innovator: Don’t be afraid to fail

In 2011, Gregory and two friends started the ‘Copenhagen Union’. Deliberately unambitious at the start, the initiative now trains students and organizes high-profile debates

Gregory Rockson, an international student at the University of Copenhagen, is one of the founders of the Copenhagen Union, a student-led, Copenhagen-based, political and philosophical society with participants from several universities.

What is the concept of your initiative?
It came out of a simple idea to create a platform for international and Danish students to meet, to engage in intellectual discourse, and to build new friendships. Just like most international students, I wanted to make Danish friends, and thought that creating this platform will lead to this goal. Since we started, we have introduced the public lecture series to bring policy makers, diplomats, academics and business leaders to talk with students about pressing global issues.

How are you making it happen?
It was quite simple. I brought together a couple of friends to work with me. We looked for one of the most pressing issues in the world, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, organized a very important debate on that issue and from there on we became a public name.

How has the financial crisis influenced your initiative?
It has not, because we are a small-capital organization. We don’t spend a lot of money putting together our events. Most of our expenditure goes into travels to participate in debate tournaments and training new debaters in Denmark.

What has been the biggest challenge in creating ‘Copenhagen Union’?
Fund raising to travel to debate tournaments and organizing training workshops has been a challenge, since we do not charge any membership fee as of now. We are
continuously looking for sponsors.

What advice can you give to future student entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to fail.

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