7. Entrepreneurship Education


If nothing else, educate…

The entrepreneurial education at Fledge is based on The Next Step series of books, written by Fledge’s founder and Seattle Managing Director, Luni Libes. These books were inspired by Luni’s efforts at teaching Entrepreneurship to the MBA candidates at the Pinchot University, as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization, and in talking to, coaching, and mentoring hundreds of entrepreneurs.

This material is provided as an online class and set of online books to each of the fledglings. Twice weekly, the Managing Director holds classes to review this material, and to have the teams work on exercises related to the day’s topic.

In addition, when a well-qualified mentor volunteers to provide a guest-lecture on an uncovered topic, or more deeply into an important topic, they are slotted into the programming schedule.

Note: This MBA-level of entrepreneurship education is uncommon in incubators. Y Combinator invites in one guest speaker per week, typically a CEO of a high-growth tech company. TechStars invites in one guest speaker to per week, inclusive of both CEOs and other management of locally known tech companies. Founder Institute, a 12-week once-weekly class in entrepreneurship is taught solely by entrepreneur practitioners, but a different teacher each week.

Fledge receives applications from participants of other accelerators, and Luni has talked with graduates of many other programs. When questioned, it seems the other incubators focus on providing the just-in-time advice, but fail to teach the underlying process of starting up a startup, and thus if the participant’s company fails, they’ve received no lasting value from their accelerators. If nothing else, all fledglings should walk away with the ability to try again, without needing to repeat the incubator process.

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The Next Step is a series of book covering the process of planning and launching a startup, starting with an idea and ending at the initial sales of the product/service.

Volume 1 is subtitled, Guiding you from idea to startup, covers the overview of the whole process, the Lean Startup philosophy, and the core idea of needing to worry about Plan B.

Volume 2, A guide to building a startup financial plan covers the process of building a financial model for a startup company.

Volume 3, A guide to startup marketing and sales covers the key processing required for sales and marketing in a startup company.

Volume 4, A guide to pitching your idea covers the art of creating a compelling pitch.

Volume 5, The realities of funding a startup covers the complexities of funding a startup, and the reasoning of investors.

Volume 6, A guide to dividing equity covers the complex negotiations between co-founders and early employees in dividing the equity pie.

Future volumes will cover patters and anti-patterns, corporate culture, and other topics relevant to the startup process covered during and after Fledge.

In addition to these books is a companion online class, used within Fledge to “flip” the classes, assigning the lectures as homework, leaving the classroom time to work on exercises related to the semi-weekly topics.

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