"You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute."
Weeks 1-4: Discover, explore and absorb
Wed 10 Apr 2024 16:00-22:00 (launch event) | Thu 11 Apr 08:30-18:00 | Fri 12 Apr 08:30-20:00 | Sat 13 Apr 08:30-18:30
Topics, activities and tasks: self-awareness and personal development, cohort building, intellectual property, turning ideas into innovations, nailing value propositions, leadership and team challenges and a Saturday mentoring brunch session.
It is often said that successful businesses are made from the right combination of people and products (or services), and so the first part of the STAR programme focuses specifically on that combination of assets and understanding how the individuals and the business must work together to create value. On the people side, the programme shines a light on your personal traits and competences and how they can be moulded to create business leadership. On the product side, the focus is more on understanding where value is created and for whom and providing a framework for the development of a well-balanced business.
Fri 26 Apr 12:00-21:00 | Sat 27 Apr 09:00-16:00
Topics, activities and tasks: product market fit, business and product marketing strategies, branding, applications, understanding your customer profile, market research and a Saturday mentoring brunch session.
It’s impossible to be prepared for every outcome but understanding that having an idea and implementing it are very different skills is an important insight to acquire. The Marketplace sessions are focused on how you bring an idea to market including how you understand the way the customer thinks and behaves, how you communicate with customers through branding and marketing, and how you convince others with money to go with you on the journey into the market understanding all the uncertainties involved.
An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.
Weeks 5-6: Refine and commit
Fri 10 May 12:00-21:00 | Sat 11 May 09:00-16:00
Topics, activities and tasks: aligning mission and vision, business planning, learning agility and adaptability, working with investors, governance, legal details, fundraising, operations and a Saturday mentoring brunch session.
Running any organisation can be a difficult and lonely journey and one that requires a wide and complex range of skills. This part of the STAR programme starts to help you develop an understanding of what these skills are, how they can be developed and when they need to be deployed. The CEO sessions focus on how to handle the range of choices and decisions that CEOs may need to make around the type and level of finance, how to build the right team, how to build trust and motivate staff, how to select the right technologies and how to communicate and work with key stakeholders.
You don't have to be a genius or a visionary to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.
Weeks 7-10: Articulate and deliver
Fri 24 May 12:00-21:00 | Sat 25 May 09:00-16:00
Topics, activities and tasks: leadership styles, communication skills, negotiation styles and strategies, storytelling architectures, developing a business persona and a Saturday mentoring brunch session.
It is impossible not to change if you are involved in starting and running a business. Some of those changes may be minor, incrementing your knowledge, building your network or honing a particular skill, but some may have a significant impact on the way you see the world and your place within it. This part of the STAR programme looks at how the process of becoming an entrepreneur often demands you adopt a new mindset and outlook, commonly driven by a sequence of unpredictable events, while simultaneously preserving the core parts of the original and authentic you.
Thu 6 Jun 12:00-21:00 | Fri 7 Jun 12:00-21:00 | Sat 8 Jun 09:00-16:00 | Mon 10 Jun 17:00-22:00 (Investor pitches) | Wed 12 Jun 16:00-22:00 (Showtime!).
Topics, activities and tasks: voice coaching, practical performance skills, story-telling architectures, pitching, and visual communication skills. This last theme also includes the Investor pitches demo day and the Showtime! finale for friends and colleagues.
Businesses can succeed or fail on how effectively the entrepreneur brings together all of the essential elements that go into delivering a first-class product or service from the quality of marketing, through the delivery of consistent product or service, right up to development of customer loyalty and advocacy. The last theme in the programme draws all these threads together to illustrate how different values, contexts, resources and capabilities drive the development of highly customised approaches to the delivery of business impact and success.
I have a first-hand insider’s understanding of EnterpriseTECH STAR and have participated from the inception in any way that I can. I’m involved because STAR’s vision is to provide deeply technical students and researchers from around the Cambridge ecosystem with an intensive experiential education in entrepreneurship. STAR students (inventors themselves) gain a greater understanding of how to nurture and develop their own ideas into sustainable businesses, ensuring they can avoid avoidable mistakes and retain control and influence over their inventions and businesses for far longer. The EnterpriseTECH STAR programme has been meticulously designed from scratch under visionary leadership. It is chock full of creative flourishes, with standard and non-standard teaching methods. The programme team are super, and the students are supremely motivated. Just wait and see how many new entrepreneurs and ventures emerge from STAR over a 5-10 year horizon. The contribution to Cambridge, the UK, and the impact on wider society will be huge.