FITT Toolbox: Entrepreneurship Seminar


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The Entrepreneurship seminar is a seminar for researchers focusing on start-up creation. It aims at developing entrepreneurial mindsets and understanding of business environment. The participants are given a few hours of courses on the basics of a private company by various experts. Then they go through a team exercise of creation of a virtual start-up, supported by coachers. The participants present their business idea to an investors committee and receive valuable feedback afterwards. The seminar main objective is to motivate researchers to get involved in the company creation.

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FITT Toolbox: Entrepreneurship Seminar

  1. 1. Entrepreneurship Seminar FITT– Fostering Interregional Exchange in ICT Technology Transfer – www.FITT-for-Innovation.euExcept where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
  2. 2. What is IT-Translation Entrepreneurship Seminar?  3-days residential interactive seminar about company creation  role-playing (participants develop and present their project)  coaching  teaching (IT-Translation staff & invited experts)  Starter for researchers - entrepreneurs  realistic exercise of management of company creation & growth  opportunity to express one’s ideas and to receive feedback  essential information, tools and contacts provided  Goal: convince the “would – be” entrepreneurs  changing mindsets  Source: Microsoft Office Images Clipart encouraging to enter the business environment2 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  3. 3. Entrepreneurship Seminar in Practice  Internal event organised 3 - 4 times a year for INRIA staff, called BarCamp To built awareness of all aspects of company creation: development of the project, team construction, administrative steps, financial matters, challenges and possible obstacles  The “role-playing” concept Focused more on “learning by experiencing” than on technical issues  The “BarCamp” concept Three days in residence, full-time interaction between participants, coachers and experts  The program is evolving within a fixed framework The lectures and case studies are followed by working sessions with coachers and group work inside of the teams; two assessment sessions during the event  IT-Translation provides the competent people The specialised entity supporting start-up projects provides experienced coachers and experts from its staff and numerous contacts among business people, consultants and investors3 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  4. 4. Program scheme4 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  5. 5. The rules of the game5 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  6. 6. When? Timing  First Entrepreneurship Seminar organised in January 2008  The concept has been tested during 2008: 4 “regular” seminars and 2 “light” versions for students  The frequency is 3 - 4 times per year; it will increase after opening the seminars to participants from other organisations6 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  7. 7. Who?  Stakeholders  The event: 16 trainees, 3 full-time trainers and 8 experts for projects assessment (jury) and coaching  To launch a seminar: one person as organizer is enough, as the scheme is well described  To carry out the seminar: minimum 2 coaches, 3 is optimal to better manage the coaching sessions  Participants  Profile: open, curious, motivated to gain new experience, with research background, concerned and close to start-up projects, ready to work intensively during 3 days; age and experience do not play a role  Selection: INRIA members, priority to those who already have a start-up project at short or medium term; those who want to discover are welcomed if places are available; their participation boosts the group dynamics7 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  8. 8. Where? Location  Near Paris, Vallée de Chevreuse  Organised at the national level, involving INRIA’s headquarters (Transfer and Innovation Department, general management) and IT-Translation, as well as regional TT officers8 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  9. 9. Pros and Cons PROs CONs  Role playing and case solving with presence of high level experts renowned in Paris region; exchange between various actors is  Some elements are necessary to succeed: easy strong and experienced organisation team,  Learning by experience during the seminar, homogeneity of culture, quality of experts, even if the problems to solve are fictive construction of trainees group; if one or more of them are missing or weak, the risk  No ‘theoretical’ lectures, but overview of of failure is high main business concepts and lessons learned  It is difficult to try similar approach without  Visible impact on motivation of participants the specific know-how (IT-Translation can be with “entrepreneurship spirit”, which get contacted for help) stimulated by role-playing experience  Innovative concept; residential seminar9 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  10. 10. Why ? (1/2)  Entrepreneurship Seminar has been developed in the context of professionalization of technology transfer via start-up creation Source: Microsoft Office Images Clipart  It gives the taste of entrepreneurship to people coming from research environment and willing to enter the start-up experience: changes the way of thinking, introduces to business reality, codes etc.  It was created for the people “half in research, half in start-up”; it has strong relation to both cultures and gives a close insight into innovation ecosystem: incubators, VCs, public funding institutions, etc. Source: Microsoft Office Images Clipart10 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  11. 11. Why ? (2/2) Impact:  Participants express higher motivation to go into start-up  The future entrepreneur can realise the challenges he will have to face; this will help him to anticipate the problems and to take decisions  Examples of participants feedback:  “Yesterday I believed that technology was doing all by itself; I started to create a company and now I change the way I used to think about its development.”  “I understood that if I didn’t go into the start-up, being the technology creator, the company would have no chances to succeed.”11 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  12. 12. Outcome12 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  13. 13. Entrepreneurship Seminar tested by MFG Objective:  To test the practice “Entrepreneurship Seminar” and offer regional researchers and future entrepreneurs a possibility to fine-tune their business ideas Implementation:  The test was implemented within MFG’s training programme for external stakeholders (MFG Akademie)  A two day seminar was organised for 10 researchers and prospective entrepreneurs focusing on fine-tuning their business models  To ensure practical relevance (focus on real project and business ideas) and generate the most possible benefit, participants had to apply to the seminar by an outline (pitch) of their business idea13 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  14. 14. Lessons Learned by MFG Lessons Learned:  The FITT Entrepreneurship Seminar fosters entrepreneurial culture in a strong way: researchers and young entrepreneurs are confronted with the business environment and encouraged to take up the entrepreneurship challenge  The seminar received a very good feedback by the 10 participants  The agenda was well-balanced between role-playing, best-practices (presented by 4 successful entrepreneurs), coaching and teaching sessions (moderated by a business model expert)  «The FITT Entrepreneurship Seminar was a very important step for the development of our company chocoBRAIN. The seminar supported founders and young start-ups with a perfect mixture of know-how, experience and practice, presented in a very interactive way. During the two-day seminar, we’ve received valuable feedback and e.g. learned that we need to focus more on our core business sharpening our business model. Therefore, the feedback from the FITT seminar was extremely useful to define our best positioning in the market. I can definitely recommend it to founders on their way from idea to market! » (Jens Kramer, CEO chocoBRAIN)14 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  15. 15. Lessons Learned  The main part of success comes from unique competencies and know- how: training mode, relations with trainees, expert’s quality are determinant  The scheme of Entrepreneurship Seminar is well funded, but still evolving, taking into account new ideas and improvements15 | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar
  16. 16. Suggested Readings  Link to bibliography: Boosting the knowledge valorization process: putting plans into action. - Direct your university towards entrepreneurship, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Technopartner 2006 Creating University Spin-Offs : A Science-Based Design Perspective; Elco Van Burg, Georges L. Romme, Victor A. Gilsing, Isabelle M.M. J. Reymen, Product Development & Management Association 2008  Link to code book: Creativity, Start-up, University Spinoffs, Coaching, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship  Link to related websites: | January 2010 Entrepreneurship Seminar