Why Growth Academy
Most of business education if focused on educating people for being a good resource at some specific functions in an organization or at managing an existing organization, but not for creating organizations.
Also most entrepreneurship education is educating about creating a known business model to a know market, where innovation based entrepreneurship (ie startups) are about creating unknown business to unknown market AND building organization along the way.
Availability of entrepreneurship education
First off, we can start by the observation that actually there are very limited availability of proper entrepreneurship education available globally. Especially for innovation driven entrepreneurship and especially compared to how valuable innovation driven entrepreneurship is for the societies and economies everywhere.
In simple terms we can say most of education is targeting to train resources to various existing organizations needs, while innovation driven entrepreneurship is aimed to create new value contributing organizations.
Timing and relevance
Having covered the availability of existing education, where even most of this existing education is only available in higher education levels and mostly consumed at rather young age, being available to those who can afford it or those who qualify for the entry criterias. Considering the value of such education to societies at large, this should be much more inclusive.
At the same time, statistically most successful business founders are people in their forties and in many ecosystems on average there is a higher percentage of innovative entrepreneurs among first and second generation immigrants, including Silicon Valley. Also in practise big part of education/knowledge needed to build an innovation driven business and organization, needs to be available and learned at the time when actually building it. So that things learned can be used right when needed. Learning for later, is only partially beneficial compared to learning it, when really needing it.
While there are tons of materials and knowledge freely available online, about creating and growing a startup, most new and potential future entrepreneurs, startups and other people new to startup ecosystems, don’t know how and where to start, what they should focus on, when to do what, and how to identify what’s relevant now and next.
So they don’t know what available knowledge online is relevant, and how all these things connect with local support, trainings and services available in their ecosystems.
Also even among most of the people in ecosystem supporting entrepreneurs, have only partial understanding and limited experience on how to actually build a successful startup from nothing, due naturally it is hard to accumulate such knowledge and experience and it also takes long time, being also dependent on various sources to refer to when guiding others along the way.
But even with very well established and know methodologies like lean startup, that only cover small part of all the various things that innovation driven entrepreneurs need to solve while building their business and organization. And there are also a whole question before lean startup phase on how to select the idea to start validating.
There are many other similar things related to building and scaling businesses that as such, can be considered as “right advice” to share for new entrepreneurs. But because there is also the question of “when specific advice is relevant” - “A right advice at the wrong time, is wrong advice.”
It’s not only about entrepreneurs, trainers and mentors
Beyond the educators, trainers, mentors and business advisors that are directly supporting and training new entrepreneurs, also managers in support organizations and those organizations funding support and educational activities, need to have a better way to identify, be aware and make decisions regards to what is actually educated and trained with their resources.
This is a reason why more holistic framework of key activities is needed. A framework that also help balance the focus between building a business and building an organization.
It is necessary for the whole startup ecosystem to work on common language and framework to describe, track, measure and guide entrepreneurship and innovation from an “Ideas to Products and into Growing Businesses” and from “Talent to Teams and to effective Organization” in balanced manner.
It also needs to be an “open framework”, that can be developed and adapted by all the parties that are utilizing it in their operations, in a coordinated way. Where if there is sound reasoning and common agreement with actual data indicating that something needs to be changed, it can be changed. This is only possible when there is “a known common thing” in use, to actually make changes to. And also to measure later that changes actually made it better.
Growth Academy curriculum
Growth Academy together with broader startup ecosystem development framework, is designed to tackle these issues above. A curriculum build from a globally neutral perspective, as a common language and structure, how various existing leading global knowledge, methodologies etc. link to each others in a logical manner, filling gaps between this existing knowledge and by providing sound reasoning for all topics covered within the curriculum.
Growth Academy aims to minimize “reinventing the wheel”, by leveraging all the key knowledge captured by multiple serial entrepreneurs, mentors and advisors over the years, as well as best methodologies developed to various parts of building a successful innovative business and effective organization from nothing to success.
Where key focus is in putting all these pieces in right order, divide them into clear modules based on phases of business and organization development and provide various levels of detail on each these development paths, to cater for different levels needed depending on the needs and roles of the audience in question. Ie. new entrepreneur just starting, team member looking to join a venture, policy maker, advisor of specific phase in the overall journey etc.
Scaling entrepreneurship education by leveraging benefits of online and offline
In addition to tackling these various issues, by having and making such education available to help create a known common language for potential, new and existing entrepreneurs and amongst all ecosystem actors, - it is also key to make it available in multiple ways and also connect it logically with all support and services available in local ecosystem.
Our Canadian partner Startup Continuum is specifically working on eLearning platform and application in ways that leverage digital learning scalability, reach and 24/7 availability benefits, combined with building strong connections to offline training, education, mentoring and broader ecosystem services in each ecosystem locally.
We as Startup Commons are just starting a webinar based series to deliver entire Growth Academy curriculum online and will combine this with training of trainers program, to open the curriculum to motivated trainers anywhere for deeper learning of the Growth Academy curriculum, to become able to train and support all new people entering startup ecosystems about how innovation driven entrepreneurship works and how successful startups are created and scaled up.
All webinars will be also video recorded and build up to permanent learning resource with related materials, templates etc., along with dedicated section for trainers to access all Growth Academy training materials and having online community for support by Startup Commons and their peers.
This training of trainers program will cater for three levels of actors;
Key element tol collaborations in all levels, including eLearning programs and platform is the startup development phases based "open framework" that Growth Academy curriculum is based on.
The growth and success of any ecosystem is dependent of constant flow of new people entering the ecosystems, navigating it successfully and effectively utilizing what is available and/or contributing to what is needed the most.
Building common language and framework to be utilized and developed together is the best way to reduce waste in resource use, lower risks and reduce randomness, to accelerate all aspects within ecosystems.
Once eLearning platform is in use, it will be capturing data from various aspects of use (learning in general, problem topics, where learning stopped and why, what are most requested offline support needs etc.).
Supporting startup ecosystem development, from entrepreneurship education, to consulting to digital infrastructure for connecting, measuring and international benchmarking.
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