Highlights from the 'The Emerging Entrepreneur Hackathon’
09-10 August, 2019- Nairobi: The Columbia Global Center | Nairobi in partnership with Columbia Business School's Venture for All® hosted the highly anticipated Hackathon for the Emerging Entrepreneur. The boot-camp like session focused on equipping, sharpen the skills and techniques of high school and university students to guide and explore the path of entrepreneurship.
The course was facilitated by Manoj Poolery, the Director at Venture for All®, Graduate School of Business at Columbia University who teaches the Launching New Ventures course on campus as well as various parts of the world. An entrepreneur as well, leads the initiatives towards increasing the outreach of entrepreneurship education globally. Dr. Ndirangu in her opening remarks, challenged the entrepreneurs to firstly connect with the communities around them, “learn on what makes them tick, and through your entrepreneurial ventures, provide scalable solution or fulfil a need.”
The emerging entrepreneurs included students from Starehe Girls Center, USIU-Africa, Chandaria Youth Empowerment Fund, Tunapanda Institute, and emerging entrepreneurs from the Kisumu area. The highly informative sessions interconnected the five module-online course developed by Columbia Business School and Venture of All®, interactive group work and assignments that culminated in the development of business ventures, group presentation of the formulated business ventures and feedback from a distinguished panel of experienced entrepreneurs.
Through the two-day, the experiential process allowed emerging entrepreneurs to focus on:
- Opportunity Identification: Articulating the problem to be solved and the potential benefit to the customer.
- Business Model Development: Turning the new venture idea into a business model designed to test and validate assumptions about what it takes to build repeatable and scalable business.
- Customer Discovery: Testing assumptions about the alignment between product offering and targeted market through interviews and surveys with early potential customers.
- Market Discovery: Synthesizing the unique benefits of new offerings through comparisons with the competition in the marketplace as well as learning about the important aspects of industry and its ecosystem.
- Early Product Development: Building minimum viable products to test customer acceptance
Though the course of the two days, the emerging entrepreneurs presented four business ventures namely:
- Feeti Co – A venture that seeks to produce and sell a device that naturally seeks to eliminate odors in particularly in sport's shoes.
- Re-Psycho-“Helping you help nature”- a venture that seeks to tap into the growing challenge of solid waste through providing infrastructure and services that supports the separation of waste at the household level, recycling and value chain addition to bio-degradable waste and other waste.
- Alero – A boutique venture that seeks to provide individualized, data driven, user- centric ICT support for small and medium sized enterprises.
- And Sprechen Studios- An affordable video and photography studio targeting young and upcoming talent that envision good quality and affordable pricing.
The feedback from the distinguished panel of judges including Susan Ndungu - Director, Brixwell Limited, John Kieti - COO, Ashoka Africa and Nancy Hayes - Head of Digital Strategy, United Nations noted the emerging entrepreneurs exhibited exceptional presentation skills, interesting business ventures ideas and has successfully formulated their proposals with the ability to grasp intricate details on the market, customer, and product.
Manoj Poolery noted the experiential program allows the entrepreneurs to not only enhance their knowledge on entrepreneurship, it also allows the entrepreneurs, to expound and strategize the intricate components of a business venture first-hand with the additional resources of real-time feedback.
The entrepreneurs will continue to interact with the online class materials, assignments, videos and other material as they continue to grow their knowledge and sharpen their skills as well as tap into the Center’s rich networks and available resources to continue to guide the entrepreneurs to available opportunities and transformational knowledge
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