In 2005, Christine Blin quit her job and joined Copenhagen Business School’s full-time MBA program. 10 years on, she has three young boys and three new businesses.
This year, she launched Newmero, the producer of a new educational toy – The Joy of Numbers – a series of colorful numbered plastic bricks which join together to help children learn math in a more visual, innovative way.
Before launching her new product, Christine took her idea to the Copenhagen MBA community. She participated in the school’s A-Board Program, which places MBA students on a company’s board for six months, and, with their advice, she was able to identify and reach out to new markets.
Through a Copenhagen MBA contact, she was connected to a network of educational industry experts in the US. In the 10 months since its inception, The Joy of Numbers has received seven international education awards. It’s being trialed in schools internationally.
Alongside Newmero, Christine runs BebeGo, which sells birth and childcare equipment to hospitals in Denmark, and Femisense, an e-commerce platform which sells the same professional equipment to the public for use in the home.
Christine worked for six years in an international spirits and wine company in her native Iceland before her job took her to Denmark. She was only supposed to stay in Copenhagen for one year. But she’s been there ever since.
How did the idea to start Newmero come about?
My husband loves math. He was teaching my son the decimal system with numbered laminated cards.
I had this ‘aha’ moment when I saw them playing with those laminated cards. I wanted to use numbers in a more intuitive way. So I decided to develop numbered bricks to give a different experience.
What do you hope to achieve?
Our product is simple and universal. Our mission is simply to go global and educate young children to improve their math skills in a fun and engaging way.
We’re growing and trying to find strong distributors in each segment country. We’re currently in contract discussions with distributors for schools in the US and South Africa. We’ve launched the Newmero Academy website for teachers to demonstrate a beta version of the product to students in class, and to get their feedback.
How have you found juggling family and business?
It’s a challenge because work and private life gets blended. I work a lot in the evenings and at weekends. I have three sons, and we tested the product on them. Sometimes the children get frustrated that I’m always working with ‘those bricks!’
But we’re coping great. The good thing about being an entrepreneur is that I have more freedom. I can go and pick my children up early from school.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own business?
It takes one-hour max to register a company. It’s very simple to get started. But it’s hard to start a profitable business. You need to find a passion in your product to be able to realize your goals. And be persistent. There’s always ups and downs.
Of course, it’s good to make a business plan. But don’t be afraid just to start and try it out. Don’t analyze too much before getting started. You learn a lot through mistakes.
Why did you decide to pursue the Copenhagen MBA?
I wanted to pursue a dream to be more entrepreneurial and I thought the MBA would be a good foundation. I’d been living in Copenhagen for a year. I quit my job in Iceland and decided to stay.
I met with some Copenhagen MBA students and got sold on it right away. What really amazed me was the diversity. I’d been working in a corporate for many years with similar Nordic and European people. I was not used to working with people from Asia. I saw that working with people from different countries makes for better results.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
The Copenhagen MBA gave me the business knowledge, skills, and network that I’m using today. I contact alumni on a regular basis. I attend conferences to keep up with and grow my network. I’ve made a contact through an MBA student for a distributor in the US.
I also participated in the A-Board program to get an external point of view on the business. We were impressed. We got new information about a customer segment that we didn’t know and ideas about how to grow our business further.