NEN’s Tools for Growth workshop brings objectivity to your entrepreneurial venture


View from the sidelines from Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy

On three days—19 to 21 November 2010—NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network) conducted a Tools for Growth dry run workshop at Chennai for entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs aimed at helping the entrepreneurs to objectively evaluate a prospective idea and the various stages of managing growth of a business. This is the fourth workshop out of the nine (based on the same curriculum) to be held in various cities in India. (Please contact NEN for future workshops. I have provided the contact NEN link below.) Tools for Growth is a hands-on course, developed by NEN in partnership with London Business School, under the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program.

Raj Bhat, chief mentor, NEN, moderated the program assisted by the faculty drawn from different backgrounds. Rajshankar, founder of Ichiban Academy, A. Balachandran of VIT Incubation Centre, Prof. Veeravalli from Great Lakes Institute, Muralidharan from Anna University, and Sujatha Suresh from IIPS, Hyderabad presented various sessions to a group of 20-odd entrepreneurs. Vasanti from NEN Coimbatore was overseeing the sessions as an observer.

I had my share of misgivings about a case study-based program. Rashmi Bansal (author of Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish and Connect the Dots) told the audience recently that she purposefully stayed away from case studies in her books. But what turned out at the end of three days was really a change in my thinking. The program is highly recommended for would-be entrepreneurs looking for a direction on how to proceed and also early-stage entrepreneurs wanting to objectively evaluate the growth of their businesses.

Tools for Growth

What are these tools of growth? Right from John Mullins’s framework of evaluating a business idea, you get to understand how to set a compelling vision for your company. Then you learn how to manage cash for growth and the different stages of growth. You are given a sneak peek into valuations and then a brief introduction to business models. The session begins with a theoretical presentation of the concept followed by an interactive case study discussion. The program is adapted from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 women program, a global initiative by Goldman Sachs to train 10,000 women entrepreneurs across the world. One of the attendees of the program, Kavithaa Srinivaasan from Tiruchengode, also presented a session.

Why is the program awesome? The faculty is chosen carefully so that they are able to present the subject clearly and in 90 minutes. Raj Bhat is a great teacher. The way he summarized the three days of learning with real examples of entrepreneurs among the attendees is just an opportunity that comes once.

An entrepreneur struggles with what needs to be done in the business. If you are a technology expert, your understanding of managing the business is inadequate. Even if you have done an MBA, you are not taught how to run a business in the curriculum. This program is a real-time assistance with live examples of companies backed by the underlying theoretical framework.

Future workshops

The dry run workshop is for three days, Friday through Sunday. Out of the nine planned, the fourth one was held in Chennai. Five more are waiting to happen on the weekends in Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Coimbatore, and Hyderabad. Please contact NEN for the dates and admission into the program.

A full-fledged Tools for Growth course

These workshops are done on a dry run basis and NEN is planning a comprehensive Tools for Growth course for about six months that involves mentorship and guidance for a business venture. This course is designed and led by Prof. John Mullins, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the London School of Business. Details are available on the NEN website.

To apply for the course, please download the Course Application Form. If you're unable to access the forms, please contact us at +91 80 4168 9195. Please print, fill out, and send the forms to us either via mail, e-mail or fax.