Bringing your world-changing idea to life takes a bold vision and decisive action.
About this event
Entrepreneurship isn't a straight path, and the fastest-growing companies aren't running alone.
Entrepreneurs need a place to build, reflect, and finesse their plans in the company of likeminded, passionate founders. Entrepreneur 1.0 Innovation Academy will provide the perfect ecosystem for your venture to thrive as you embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Hosted in partnership by TechAlliance and the Ivey Business School at Western University, E1.0 equips you with the practical tools and knowledge required to manage the challenges your startup will face and help you develop the network of peers and mentors that every entrepreneur needs.
Across 10 weeks, you will craft the critical components of your business plan while gaining an understanding of finance fundamentals and how to attract investment, determine how to find product-market fit and grow sales, communicate your value proposition, and determine your growth goals through esteemed Ivey faculty, seasoned entrepreneurs, and subject matter experts, including interaction and coaching through our Venture Growth & Corporate Innovation team.
Invest in your venture’s growth and develop a deep understanding of how to tackle challenges, put the right advisors in place, and gain the knowledge to prepare and pivot for your business to thrive.
Course Schedule (full module descriptions listed below):
November 23 | The Evolution of a Business
November 30 | Startup Legal & Protecting Intellectual Property
December 7 | Communicating Your Value Proposition
December 14 | Market Strategy
January 11 | Sales
January 18 | Cash Flow Management
January 25 | Growth Management
February 1 | Operations
February 8 | Funding Your Business
February 15 | The Business Plan & Founders Panel
E1.0 is designed for those with an idea ready for takeoff or a launched venture needing the tools to soar. At TechAlliance, we serve businesses at all stages of growth. If you have a product or technology in-market, have early customer traction and revenue our GROW Accelerator may be a fit. Let us know if you’d like to be considered for our next GROW cohort.
Module 1 – The Evolution of a Business
Being an entrepreneur and working at an early-stage company requires a plan. Building a business plan is an essential process that entrepreneurs must engage in to build structure around a new idea. The purpose of Entrepreneur 1.0 is to help entrepreneurs like you identify the challenges that your young venture will face, and in uncovering these issues, show you how to build a plan to overcome them and reap the benefits of your ideas. In this module, we will briefly identify the key elements of the business plan and set the context of how the individual sessions throughout the remainder of the course will build a framework for your plan.
Module 2 – Startup Legal & Protecting Intellectual Property
There are several legal issues and concepts that need to be considered when building a technology and/or knowledge-based company. Protecting your company, your intellectual property and your business partnerships are critical steps for every entrepreneur. These decisions will not only affect your strategic planning but also your day-to-day operations.
An understanding of these concepts, the components involved and how it affects your company can assist you in identifying opportunities and avoid business structures that can be harmful not only to your company’s stage but also inadvertently in the long term.
Module 3 - Communicating Your Value Proposition
Are you confident communicating your value proposition? Entrepreneurs can find it frustrating that others don’t see the same value in your business as readily as you do. When you are so close to an idea, it is often difficult to step back to assess the best way to communicate your ideas to others. In this session, you will learn effective techniques to communicate your value proposition to others including the media. You will have time to work on your key messages and to practice delivering them to others in the class session.
Module 4 – Market Strategy
You have a product - now you will need to identify who’s going to buy it, how they are going to buy it and at what price point. What is your target market currently purchasing (i.e. competition), and how is your product better (ie. value proposition)? For an entrepreneur, the ability to talk intelligently about your ‘target market’ is an important tool to communicate the ‘value’ of your new technology.
In this session, you will learn some of the tools used to describe your target market, and how to evaluate that market both qualitatively and quantitatively. In addition, through a simple case study followed by a brief lecture, you will learn how to describe and evaluate the competition and demonstrate how your product will differentiate itself from other products in the market.
Module 5 – Sales
In early and growth-stage companies, there are two things that matter most: building and selling. ‘Builders’ are those with the technical and business skills needed to develop products, establish operations, and raise capital. ‘Sellers’ are the other half of the growth equation: the people with the networking, negotiation, and communication skills that form the core of a company’s selling and go-to-market skillset. Without sellers, products and services being built can sit idle without the predictable revenue necessary for growth and survival.
Using a case study, this session will focus on developing ‘selling’ skills and strategies. Built in consultation with the most well-known high growth companies in existence today, these cutting-edge tactics are touted as the driving force behind the success (and multi-billion dollar valuations) of companies like Salesforce.com, Uber, Google, and Slack.
Module 6 – Cash Flow Management
In this session you will gain a solid understanding of the key elements of cash flow management and how it relates to business survival. You will understand the changing dynamics of cash flow and discover essential strategies and tactics that you can put to work today. You will also learn how to best leverage your cash flow statements when pursuing additional investments.
This topic is more than a business cliché to state that ‘cash is king’. A key element of a successful business is understanding the importance of having an effective cash flow management program. While profit, turnover and even market share are all indicators of success, if there is no cash in the bank to meet monthly bills, payroll and loan payments then any business can ultimately fail.
Module 7 – Growth Management
This module will highlight the importance of being thoughtful and strategic in your approach to growing your business. Being in a leadership role is not always something an entrepreneur is used to, so defining your growth goals, understanding your leadership style and discussing how you plan to build your team and the talent that will surround you as your organization grows is critical to your long-term success.
Module 8 – Operations
Effectively managing the operations of your company can be an enormous asset. This step can help to establish a critical foundation for future success. In this session, you will uncover some of the key questions you should be asking yourself early in the set-up of your company, as well as those that are likely to come up as your organization grows.
A key objective is to ensure that the capabilities of both your internal and your out-sourced operations are consistent with, and maximally supported by your business strategy. This session will examine the linkage between marketing, finance and operations.
Module 9 – Funding Your Business
Every young company needs money, however with so many funding options available it can be difficult to understand the specific type of financing to pursue. Once you have identified the financing source you want, where do you start?
This module will provide you with an overview of the different types of financing available - from equity to debt financing, to crowd funding, or to perhaps going public using venture exchanges. You will learn who the key players are - angel investors, venture capitalists, commercial and investment banks as well as the differences between each financing vehicle.
Lastly, you will work interactively with the TechAlliance Venture Growth & Corporate Innovation team to discuss the pros and cons of the various financing options and begin strategizing which you should explore for your early-stage venture.
Module 10 – The Business Plan
In this final session we are going to revisit the business plan and its integral elements. Throughout the course, you have had the opportunity to contextualize your business ideas and consider some of your strategies in more detail and now you will be able to validate your choices amongst your peers, experienced business professionals and an interactive panel discussion.