There are several key components to consider when launching a program in a community that is not accustomed to entrepreneurship as a pathway.
In some cases, access to technology is limited. Consider and discuss these steps:
- Do a Culture Shift. This usually happens through our Exploring Entrepreneurship program, in which people learn how to convert an idea into a startup business. We reviewed six major international programs, learned from them, and created one simple boot-cam type program. Sessions are 3–5 hours each, scheduled over 3–5 days.
- Within those sessions, define what entrepreneurship really is, what it takes to start a business, how to identify the ideal customer, how to finance to make money, and of course, logistically, what you need to do to make it happen.
- It is critical to have a local resource or partner. It’s difficult to make anything happen without one. Your local partner should be somewhat embedded in the existing ecosystem — or at least respected — and can reach the locals within the community.
- Invite at least two local entrepreneurs who are accomplished enough that people want to learn more about them. Not the biggest, most successful entrepreneur — you want someone with whom the aspiring entrepreneurs can relate. Choose someone in which they can see themselves after they launch and grow their business. The ideal would be someone with 3–5 years in business, and at most two locations.
- We always have a pitch component, averaging 1–2 minutes per person. On this day, you might to have key players such as angels or VC heads attending. Here you can also invite local “big names” that people may admire.
- Finally, get daily feedback on the program. What do the participants like? What do they feel could improve? This could be a short survey, no more than 5 questions. On the final day, ask for full feedback of the program and referrals to people they may think might benefit from the program.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
Please note that this process is not carved in stone. It is for you to generate a discussion on such topics. Here are few questions to think about:
1. How do you keep your programs, lectures or workshops highly interactive?
2. Who do you invite to speak in your programs?
3. How long do you make your programs?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.