While an undergraduate in college in 2002 I participated in the Kauffman FastTrac program at North Carolina’s Council for Entrepreneurial Development. We’d meet on Wednesday nights from 6-9pm for eight weeks. As for the agenda, each week had a different speaker (including Scot Wingo from ChannelAdvisor), followed by an instructor that would go over a section of a standard business plan template, and finally networking with small group sharing.
I enjoyed the program as it introduced me to a cohort of other entrepreneurs and mentors. As for the content, it was typical business plan material that’s not nearly as useful as the customer discovery with business model canvas approach, but, at the time, no one knew any better. Regardless, it was a good experience.
Last week I was reminded of these entrepreneur bootcamp programs when I was reading about Stanford’s new course How to Start a Startup. The speakers for the course are amazing, and even better yet, everything is recorded and made freely available online (e.g. here’s last week’s video).
Going forward, I think the ideal entrepreneur bootcamp would meet weekly and have the following agenda:
- Watch a How to Start a Startup video in advance of the class and talk about highlights (20 minutes)
- Hear a live guest speaker tell their story (40 minutes)
- Talk about a different section of the business model canvas (30 minutes)
- Discuss customer discovery progress from 2-3 teams (30 minutes)
- Meet in small groups, share updates, and help each other out (30 minutes)
So, it would meet for two-and-a-half hours once a week for 8-10 weeks. Classroom time would maximize peer-to-peer learning with most of the canned material worked on outside of class.
I think there’s a real opportunity for these types of entrepreneur bootcamp programs and I hope to see more of them in the future.
What else? Have you done a program like this in the past? Are you interested in doing one in the future (especially for those based in Atlanta)?