An aspiring entrepreneur or someone who has met with startup failure in the past will agree that starting a business on your own can be intimidating. Not all of us have the financial means or courage to quit our jobs and get started on our dream ventures right away. Adding to the self-doubt are the well-documented risks in entrepreneurship, the stories of startups that crashed and burned, and elusive success stories
The question then we often find asking ourselves is – How can I translate my brilliant ideas into a successful early stage startup?
Well, there is no easy answer. There is no one way.
But, the fact is you need to prepare, launch and grow a business. For this, you need to develop entrepreneurial skills and expertise. You need to learn the necessary startup tools and frameworks. You need to articulate the vision for the startup. All of which will help you take the first step with confidence and greater chances of finding success.
The Entrepreneurial Edge programme by London Business School has been designed to help aspiring or first-time entrepreneurs.
An intensive 12-week venture development journey with mentoring and support, The Entrepreneurial Edge helps prospective entrepreneurs kickstart successful early stage ventures. As part of the programme, participants build and launch business ideas, learn tools and frameworks, evaluate market opportunities, create a viable business model and financial plan. The programme also helps you ask and get answers to the important financial questions that you need to know to write a business plan and win over investors.
Interestingly, the programme not only helps aspiring entrepreneurs create their first startup, but also aims to help serial entrepreneurs refine their techniques, as well as corporate professionals reinvigorate their career with entrepreneurial thinking.
The programme design enables participants to adopt a practical weekly regiment of activities week after week. The process is as follows
Adam Davies, the Programme Lead of the View Entrepreneurship course at University of Oxford, who is also the visitor professor for entrepreneurship at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and Programme Lead at Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, Spark Accelerator, heads The Entrepreneurial Edge programme as the course director and lead mentor. Each week Adam will take the participants step-by-step, through the key concepts, including live online sessions, before opening access to a wide range of exclusive insights and support.
The London Business School’s Entrepreneurship Edge provides participants with weekly feedback from experienced mentors. The programme offers 12 weekly live interactions with the mentor and support group for feedback and guidance. The mentor guides, motivates, supports, encourages and holds you accountable for ongoing progress towards your stated goals. The mentors hold the weekly online sessions in small groups (maximum five participants) to go through the week’s learnings, provide feedback on slide decks and other assignments, and answer participants’ questions.
The programme offers 12 weekly, 75 minute interactive online classroom sessions and 200 exclusive videos from leading experts. Eight startup founders from across various stages will also share their in-depth insights and learnings, bringing a real-life context to the theories and academic research, and respond to detailed interview questions. Startup advisors will also share their experience, learnings, and tips to simplify tricky areas such as investment, intellectual property, and legal structuring.
If there’s one thing that is a key challenge for most aspiring entrepreneurs, it is to create a winning investor pitch deck. With everyone having a different perspective of what should go into it, creating this deck can be a Herculean task for first-time entrepreneurs. That’s why the programme has been consciously designed to include an iterative pitching process, wherein the teams evolve their business ideas, launch strategy and venture’s structure. Mentors will provide feedback on participants’ slides and their developing pitch decks. Participants will also have the opportunity to provide and receive constructive criticism to/from their support group each week, and even work together on preparing slides, in some instances.
The programme culminates in a ‘Pitch-Day’ where selected teams are given the opportunity to present their venture to an Investors’ Committee consisting of active venture capitalists, founders and angel investors who invest in new ventures from around the world.
Participants work in virtual groups with other founders, providing feedback and support, and help with weekly assignments. This enables a strong cohort culture with a network of peers, who often remain lifelong friends.
The weekly modules have been designed to help the participants identify legitimate business opportunities, gauge market demand and size of the opportunity, define the business model, build an early stage management team, identify an appropriate business plan, create a robust set of financial projections, prepare a go to market strategy, acquire initial customers and pitch for, and negotiate investment. The modules not only introduces foundational frameworks and techniques on market research, revenue models and cost structures but also covers concepts such as opportunity costs for entrepreneurs, alternative financing methods, including convertibles, crowd-funding and ICOs, among others
Richard Branson, business magnate and Founder, Virgin Group, once said, “If you ask any successful business person, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” This quote resonates with many entrepreneurs. That’s why London Business School’s The Entrepreneurial Edge programme ensures that participants have access to stalwart mentors. This includes the leading authority on owner-managed entrepreneurial businesses, Rupert Merson is the programme director and lead faculty. Rupert is also the Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship BA and MA at Oxford University. The other key mentors include David Arnold, Adjunct Professor of Marketing and a well-known academician who is also the author of a number of books including The Handbook of Brand Management; John Bates, the founder and a director of Sussex Place Ventures Ltd and manager of London Business School’s in-house venture capital fund, and Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and the Academic Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
One of the key reasons why so many people fail to complete online programmes is because of the extensive commitment it requires from participants. Often, participants have to spend many hours each day doing coursework and reading. This is where the Edge programme stands apart. Understanding the challenges of working professionals, the course demands about five to eight hours of commitment every week. Most of the learning happens within this time frame. If you were to break it down, it doesn’t require participants to spend more than an hour each day, making it feasible for working professionals.
The Entrepreneurial Edge programme by London Business School is being brought to you by Pearson Professional Programs (PPP), one of the world’s leading learning company. PPP is recognised world over for partnering with leading global educational institutions, faculty and providers to help working professionals update their skills and progress in their careers.
As with the Edge programme, Pearson is known for deploying cutting-edge learning technology, classroom infrastructure and pedagogical methods and each programme is carefully contextualised to speak to local business realities.
With courses tailored to factor in the time that working professionals can realistically commit towards learning, accompanied by byte-size content, a high-touch learning experience, and experience, PPP scores high on completion rate. In fact, its success has been high on this front, with a 94.31 percent completion rate.