How professional programmes help aspiring entrepreneurs

Very few countries across the globe bear the entrepreneurial potential and promise that India has. The country being a world leader in IT, thanks to the boom heralded by the new millenium, India is home to several high-volume high-value startups across the world. Unlike China, India is at economic crossroads with a strong focus on development with policies and grants aiding them in being a part of the indigenous startup community.

The future across the globe belongs to self-employed professionals who are driving innovations. Helping these aspiring entrepreneurs in the thriving world of startups are founder and startup accelerator programmes (iKEN, Startup Leadership Program, Founder Institute, Y Combinator, etc.) and postgraduate programmes within the academic world.

What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is the process of creating value. According to Stevenson from HBS, entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled. The heart of entrepreneurship lies in the ability to take calculated risks to create a new business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 7 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 10 years, while an article in FastCompany says that 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail.

So what are the essential entrepreneurship skills?

Here are some key skills that can help aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Creativity

Startup founders need to identify and capture high potential opportunities around them. The innovator’s DNA outlines five key behaviors of innovators – association, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting.

Resilience

Entrepreneurs are bound to face good and bad times in business. However, in the early days of the business the founder faces a lot of rejections and needs to develop resilience and determination to overcome the challenges to build a business that delivers value to the society.

Strategic reasoning and decision making

Getting to the core of the problem and creatively coming up with a solution is critical for the survival of early stage startups. Entrepreneurs need to understand the landscape of the new business and figure out the best and fastest way to achieve product-market fit.

Eager to learn

Startup founders should have the aptitude to rapidly learn new abilities and flexibility to change when things are not working. Coachability is one of the big factors considered by investors and startup accelerator programs in their criteria for selection.

Crisp and concise communication

Entrepreneurs must be able to present their business to different audiences: be it customers, employees or investors. Effectively articulating their business to these sets of audiences is vital for the business to succeed.

Networking

Businesses grow with relationships and partnerships. Entrepreneurs need to constantly build strong relationships with people of diverse backgrounds in order to grow their ventures.

Postgraduate Programme in Entrepreneurship

As entrepreneurship drives global economic growth and more and more people aspire to launch their own ventures, several postgraduate programmes such as the PGP in Entrepreneurship and Innovation will become mainstream. These programmes can help build an entrepreneurial mindset and strong execution capabilities necessary to launch and grow a business. Some areas where such programmes can enable an aspiring entrepreneur are:

Opportunity identification

Most entrepreneurs have more than one good idea, however not every idea will turn out to be a success. Identifying high potential opportunities that are in line with the founder’s strengths and interests is key to building conviction and commitment to survive the business challenges. 

Product prototyping

Many universities today have Makerspace and industry partnerships to help programme participants convert their ideas into product prototypes.

Networking

Extracurricular activities and events hosted by the Entrepreneurship Centre or Entrepreneurship Club help entrepreneurs showcase their progress to investors and business leaders for feedback. Lastly, universities help build lifelong relationships with like-minded people as well as with successful people across disciplines and geographies. 

Authored by Darshan Doshi, director – Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, FLAME University.

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