Can you really teach entrepreneurship? My First Venture Gives it a Shot!

14th Jun 2012
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There has been much talk about whether or not entrepreneurship can be categorized as a set of skills that can be taught. Some believe that entrepreneurship “comes from within”. But shouldn’t everything else (that is taught) as well? For everything that one studies, part of it (perhaps the most important part), must come from an inner desire and everything else follows suit. The other part of it, however, is the part we call education. Although a detailed discussion on this particular topic can be taken up in another article, the focus here is on My First Venture, a young firm who believes that entrepreneurship, if effectively imparted, can certainly be taught.

My First Venture (MFV) is an Entrepreneur Development Program consisting of a series of modules that are designed to deliver a range of success-skills to entrepreneurs running early and growth stage companies. “All of MFV’s programs are, and always will be, led by entrepreneurs, because we believe that in order to ‘teach’ entrepreneurship, one must be an entrepreneur first. Experiential learning is a big part of what we do. This is one thing that professional teachers cannot provide unfortunately,” says Arjun Gupta, Founder & CEO, Firstventure Corporation, the holding company of MFV.

MFV strives to help entrepreneurs across the board gain the skills and resources they need to run a profitable and sustainable business. To do this, they plan to launch a range of courses, targeted towards specific members of the entrepreneurial community in India- students, experienced entrepreneurs, etc. “We plan to start with basic modular courses for students, helping them understand the true meaning of entrepreneurship, and also decide if starting a business is the right path for them. Over time, we want to introduce more advanced courses and bundle them up so that our participants receive a well-rounded education in running a good business,” says Arjun.

At MFV, the training takes place in a classroom at a center in Mumbai, butregistrations, feedback, resources are all handled online. What makes MFV unique is that their training programs stay away from theory and are focused on providing lessons, skills and tools through interactive workshops, so that their attendees can go back use them in their business immediately. Their program is designed by entrepreneurs, and meant for entrepreneurs, because they feel that this kind of training should be experiential. They are also working on developing an online tool to help them share resources and keep attendees connected even after the training program has ended.

Arjun, a graduate of Boston University, started off by developing Venture for India in August 2011, a program along the lines of Venture for America and Teach for India, which aimed to get the best and brightest from around the country, and place them into the most impressive new social enterprises in India for a year. “This fellowship included a 6 week training program so that our fellows were prepared for what was to come. I realized that the training program seemed more appealing to some than the fellowship itself, so I decided to spin it off as a separate program, and in December last year (2011), My First Venture was born. Around the same time, I partnered with an incubation company called Hatch Services Fund. They helped a lot with the ideation and concept of the My First Venture training program,” says Arjun.

Apart from Arjun, the MFV team currently consists of Venkatesh Sridhar who is the Chief Operating Officer, and Jash Trivedi, an intern and MFV’s newest addition. Venkatesh has experience in diverse segments like IT, Retail, Consulting and Education in India and Middle East. He started his first business when he was 15 and sold it when he turned 21. “We also have the amazing partners at Hatch Services Fund as our ‘investmentors’, and we are currently looking to grow our core team further,” adds Arjun.

"Arjun

Since experimentation and adaptability are at the core of MFV’s programs, they have started running a few pilot programs before launching their paid programs. “All our pilots are free, and we provide pizza and refreshments for our attendees,” says Arjun, on a lighter note. “All we ask in exchange is that our attendees provide us with constructive feedback so our future classes can be even better,” he adds.

Hiring is a very big challenge for us right now. Getting our core team in place and moving forward has proved to be a little difficult for us. We’re focusing on getting My First Venture off the ground first, and we want to take it national. Then, of course, developing Venture for India. But after that who knows! The sky is the limit, isn’t it?” concludes Arjun, on a positive note.

For a bit of entrepreneurial gyan and a look into their courses, check out their website here.

 

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