11/27/13

TechStart Essentials is Essential

Time is not an entrepreneur’s friend–especially in the early stages of starting a company.

That’s why we insist that each client that TechColumbus serves participate in TechStart Essentials, a two-day deep dive business boot camp for inventors and entrepreneurs who are in the very early stages of thinking about starting a technology-based company.

It isn’t that we think we know it all—one of the greatest things about entrepreneurship is that all of us are learning all the time—but we have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t from helping hundreds of passionate entrepreneurs start, restart, and exit their businesses.

Each TechStart Essentials session can accommodate about fifteen to twenty folks.

Backgrounds and experience levels of participants can vary widely. Our teams range from recent MBA graduates who have a passionate idea for an iPhone app to scientists and researchers from some of Ohio’s finest universities and medical institutions.

It’s a collaborative give and take. You tell us about your business ideas, and we’ll explain our methodology.

Day one is full of content and time to develop your business pitch.

  • Business plan basics, including what NOT to put in a business plan
  • Why the value proposition of matching a solution to a real market need is more important than technology
  • Vocabulary of entrepreneurship
  • Legal considerations – requirements, IP, employment agreements, NDA, confidentiality (by a local attorney)
  • Importance of connections to other entrepreneurs, early stage service providers, mentors and experts with specific skills
  • Ideas for approaching potential customers before you start to code
  • Benefits of strategic partnerships
  • Local and regional resources
  • Business model canvas exercise
  • Lunch with a entrepreneur who is further along

On day two, everyone gives their business pitch and receives feedback from the group. This is maybe the best part.

Not every presentation is polished. Not every “t” is crossed. But entrepreneurs who participate in this process get a real first taste of how collaborative other entrepreneurs can be. People want to help. They want each other to succeed. They also will tell you straight up if they don’t understand what you’re trying to say—or if they think you need a better idea.

At the end of the course, each TechStart Essentials company will be assigned to a TechColumbus venture advisor. That advisor will have a follow-on conversation with the company to gage the company’s interest and to determine if the business is a fit for TechColumbus’ services.

About a quarter of the companies that go through Tech Essentials become TechColumbus clients. If our interests are not aligned, we’ll do our best to direct the entrepreneur to more appropriate resources.

Interested entrepreneurs can contact us with questions or jump in and get started by completing an information form. The place for creativity is finding a great solution for a big problem that customers in the market will pay for.

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