The New Venture creation programme was launched in Mekele, Bahir Dar and Harar as a 6 month project from October 2010 until April 2011. All the participants had previously attended one of our Bright Futures workshops.
The programme is now offered in all of the five cities where there are ‘Enterprising Ethiopia’ centres. Those invited to attend must have completed the ICT / Bright Futures programmes and are selected from those who came up with the best proposals in the Bright Ideas competition.
New Venture creation is an action learning programme spread over six months which takes the participants on a journey at the end of which they should have progressed the development of their business idea to a point where they feel confident that they can make it happen.
The diagram below shows the 7 steps on an entrepreneurial journey and is followed by the introduction to the programme.
Launching a new venture and becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting and challenging task. Can you learn how to be an entrepreneur, or are some people just born that way? Some have argued that great entrepreneurs are simply born with different qualities to the rest of us – and it is these qualities that explain their success as entrepreneurs. But we know that a key human quality is the ability to change and develop over time. This is good news for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur because it will require you to adapt and change with the enterprise you are founding as it develops and faces challenges. Becoming an entrepreneur is a never ending lesson as new challenges arise that offer experiences in how to do and not to do things.
Entrepreneurs learn mainly from experience, so the only real way to become an entrepreneur is to get out there and do it. You can start from scratch and learn it all by yourself or you can look at what others have already done and hope to profit from their experiences. The process outlined here is taken from what we know about what others have done and the advice that existing entrepreneurs offer to those that wish to follow their path.
The first thing we learn from other entrepreneurs is that there are many steps to be taken to start a new venture and attempts to make short cuts and avoid some of these steps can be disastrous. You don’t have to take these steps in the same order as we suggest below but you will need to take them during the development of your enterprise.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
You can divide your entrepreneurial journey into a number of stages and steps as shown below. In practice everyone’s journey is different so we do not expect yours to exactly mirror this pattern. But a good way to start is at the beginning!
The entrepreneurial process of launching a new venture can be divided into three key stages of Discovery, Evaluation and Implementation. These can be further sub-divided into seven steps as shown below.
The first stage of Discovery is to identify opportunities that may form the basis of an entrepreneurial venture. It requires creative thinking to identify issues that can benefit from an entrepreneurial vision.
This stage can be divided into two steps:
- Step 1. Discovering your entrepreneurial potential - the first step is to know more about your personal resources and attributes through some self-evaluation – what will you bring to the venture? What are your strengths and challenges? These will affect the type of venture you choose.
- Step 2. Identifying a problem and potential solution – a new venture has to solve a problem and meet a genuine need.
By the end of first stage of Discovery, you should have selected an idea worthy of further detailed investigation. The next stage evaluates if this all adds up to a feasible business in two further steps:
- Step 3. Evaluating the idea as a business opportunity– find out information about the market need. Is the solution to this problem really wanted by enough customers? Investigate the feasibility of the proposed solution (technically, economically, socially, legally).
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Workshop 3 (Resources)
- Step 4. One of the most important aspects of evaluation is understanding the resources which are available to start the business.
Investigating and gathering the resources – How will the product/service get to market? How will it make money? What resources are required?
By the end of the second stage of Evaluation, you should have identified an opportunity that has reasonable prospects of success, and analysed what is required to launch it. The next stage is to make the final preparations and launch it into the market. It can be developed in three further steps:
- Step 5. Forming the enterprise to create value – set up a business entity and protect any intellectual property. Get ready to launch the venture in a way that minimises risk and maximises returns.
- Step 6. Implementing the entrepreneurial strategy – activate the marketing, operating, and financial plans.
- Step 7. Planning the future – look ahead and visualise where you want to go.
What is an entrepreneurial venture?
Entrepreneurship thrives in many different contexts. There are ‘social entrepreneurs’ who create value through successful exploitation of new ideas – leading to social inclusion, regeneration or some other kind of social benefit. There are ‘creative entrepreneurs’ who identify, evaluate and then exploit artistic, aesthetic or design-based opportunities.
Entrepreneurship is increasingly important in the environmental field. Entrepreneurship is also very important for the continued development of new technology and associated product and process innovations.
Over the seven steps that make up this programme, we talk about your particular enterprise or entrepreneurial venture as the focus for your thinking, learning, and development. This will often refer to your idea for a specific new business. However, the term enterprise, as we have just seen, can be applied in a wider context. You might be looking to work in a particular industry context, or aiming to launch a social enterprise. This step by step approach is valid in these contexts too.
This programme provides a wide range of advice and guidance to anyone interested in getting a new venture off the ground in whatever context. It aims to assist you in preparing to launch an enterprise, with signposts to other help and support that is available.
A note on this mode of learning
The materials presented here are intended to guide you through the process of enterprise creation, and provide you with a range of development and management tools for this purpose.
Setting up your own new enterprise or small business is all about ‘learning by doing’. This can feel particularly pressurised, as you will need to learn ‘how’ to do a wide range of new things in a short space of time, under what is often a situation of radical uncertainty.
The approach taken to these learning support materials mirrors this reality in a number of important respects. Most importantly, you are encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning as you work your way through these materials. Each of the stages and steps include a number of exercises and an ‘e-tivity’ which is designed to pull together your learning over the programme.