What is Launch?
LAUNCH! is an 8-session entrepreneur workshop series designed to introduce early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs to the key topics and principles to help build, launch and scale successful businesses. The 8-session series will survey a host of topics from ideation to launch. Each workshop will be taught by a successful entrepreneur or a subject-matter expert experienced in building, launching and scaling ventures. This workshop-style format, coupled with the peer group follow-ups, is designed to have participants leave with the practical knowledge that can be immediately applied to their ventures.
What You’ll Learn
Workshop Schedule & Breakdown
This series is designed to get your idea off the ground. In other words, this series is designed to help you launch. This 8-week series teaches you the fundamentals to starting a venture and to be better positioned to take on the challenging yet rewarding endeavor of starting your own business.
How Does Launch Work?
LAUNCH! Workshop series will run weekly from September 29 through November 17, 2020. Each workshop consists of three components, as follows: Accepted applicants are required to attend all workshops and at least 5 peer group follow-ups.
FULL SERIES OVERVIEW
Week 1: Ideation, Validation & Business Model Design (September 29)
Week 1: Tuesday, Septebember 29th, 2020
Are you solving a problem that people care about? How do you identify problems worth solving? How do you determine if you are building a business that earns money or one that should be relegated to hobby status?
This workshop will explore the fundamentals of evaluating an idea to determine if you can build a viable business from the problem you are trying to solve. You will be introduced to several tools to help you “get out of your head” and build a product or service that customers will pay for.
- How to identify problems that a business can solve.
- How to test and validate that a problem has a viable business solution.
- How to test and validate your solution hypothesis.
- How to design a business model and test its components.
Week 2: Customer Development and Product Market Fit (October 6)
Workshop 2: Tuesday, October 6th, 2020
Once you have early validation that your idea may have viability, how do you define your target market and target audiences? How do you decide which features your product/service should have? How do you prioritize the features of your product/service?
This workshop will help you research and define your target audience and create a basic user persona. You will be introduced to techniques to turn your customers’ observations into product features and how to prioritize the features for development.
- How to research and define a target market.
- How to create a user persona.
- How to develop a product feature set.
- How to test product features.
- How to prioritize product features.
Week 3: Strategy, Financial Planning & Management (October 13)
Workshop 6: Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
In order to launch and run your business successfully, you will need a good financial plan. How much funding will you need to launch and run the day-to-day operation? How many customers will you need to break-even, at what price point (s) and over what time horizon?
This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating a practical financial model and basic forecasts for your business.
- How to build a financial model?
- How to use financial modeling to help you make decisions for your business?
- How to use a financial model to determine how much funding will you need to launch, scale?
- How to calculate your true costs to build, scale launch hire?
Week 4: Marketing, Branding Go to Market Strategy (October 20)
Workshop 4: Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
Consumers have many companies, organizations and institutions vying for their attention through brand marketing and product messaging. A strong brand is not only important to create a relationship with your customers but it’s important for attracting all your important stakeholders (team members, board members, investors, volunteers, etc.). How will you establish a unique place in the consumers’ mind and consistently break through the noise that your target audience is bombarded with every day? Once your brand has been created, how will you reach your target audience and where will you promote your product to reach them?
This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating your brand identity and the basics of your go-to-marketing strategy.
- What are the key elements of branding?
- What tools and resources are available to help build your brand?
- How best to use brand assets to build and scale your businesses.
- What is a beachhead strategy?
- How to design your channel strategy.
- How to design a promotional strategy.
Week 5: Pitching / Storytelling (October 27)
Workshop 5: Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
What are you working on? It’s a common question heard at Venture Café and in many startup circles. If you are able to answer that question appropriately, it could lead to cofounders, team members, and partners, funders and lots of customers. Can you convey the essence of your business’ unique value without eyes glossing over? This workshop will teach you how to effectively explain what you do to key stakeholders.
- How to build a narrative about your business?
- How to effectively share a story about your company?
- What are the types of pitches you will need to give?
- How to present an effective pitch?
Week 6: Funding Options (November 3)
Workshop 6: Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Starting a business from the ground up is one of the toughest challenges one can take on. One major hurdle is designing a financial plan to produce and launch your product/service into the market. There are a variety of funding mechanisms for startups but not all are well suited for every business. Which funding model is best suited for your venture?
This workshop will introduce you to different funding options for startups and how to decide the model best suited for your business.
- What are the funding options for starting a company? (e.g. bootstrapping, grants, angel funding, loans, venture funding, etc).
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of funding options?
- How to choose the best option for your business type and growth stage?
Week 7: The Legal Checklist (November 10)
Workshop 7: Tuesday, November 10, 2020
How do you turn a product with traction into a company? When should you form a company? Which company structure is right for your business? How do you form a team when you are one motivated person working from your kitchen table?
This workshop will help you make critical decisions about selecting a company structure and building an early team that aligns with your mission and values.
- What are the different company structures an entrepreneur has to choose from?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different corporate structures?
- How to define your mission, vision, and values.
- How to leverage your purpose as a competitive advantage.
Week 8: LAUNCH! Day (November 17)
Workshop 8: Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
You entered this series with an idea and now you have learned the key principles to starting a business. In other words, you’re ready to LAUNCH! We will take this day to celebrate our participants and showcase your work and business to the community.
- Practice telling your story
- Meet collaborators
- Gain exposure
Frequently Asked Questions
Click the link below to apply to LAUNCH!
Who is eligible to apply?
Anyone is eligible to apply — all you need is an idea!
What are the program dates?
The program will run on Tuesdays from September 29 to November 17, 2020.
When and where will workshops be held?
To ensure the safety of our participants and in accordance with ongoing precautions surrounding COVID-19, all workshops will be held virtually, via Zoom. Each workshop will be held weekly on Tuesdays, with peer-group follow ups and networking on Thursdays.
How many will be selected to participate?
Venture Cafe Cambridge will select 32 participants for the LAUNCH! Entrepreneurship Workshop Series.
Do I have to pay to register?
Nope. The LAUNCH! Entrepreneurship Workshop Series is free to apply and attend.
Do I need to attend all sessions?
Yes – registration for the LAUNCH! Entrepreneurship Workshop Series requires commitment to all 8 sessions, or 8 weeks of programming.
What’s included in each workshop?
Each workshop will include curated content for online delivery taught by industry professionals, pre-class prep work, and community building within the cohort.