The Entrepreneurship Certificate provides participants with a practical approach to the entrepreneurial process.
Not all entrepreneurs are in possession of an invention sure to revolutionize the marketplace, perhaps even the culture. Instead, entrepreneurial thinking may well involve an individual of whatever title who seeks to manage a project within a corporate environment that leads to increased efficiency or revenue generation. Of course, many budding entrepreneurs are serious about starting their own business or backing someone with the next 'great idea'. No matter the participant's particular background, the Entrepreneurship Certificate focuses on self-discovery and matching one's innate capabilities to market opportunities.
Entrepreneurship starts with an idea, which after testing, refining and development is taken to market via effective leadership. While not all ideas are earth-shaking, all good ideas make a difference. Some are surprisingly simple. Indeed, a case can be made that an overly-complex idea has the deck stacked against it. The individuals who saw the potential of the wheel, for example, were not creating a highly specialized form of derivative trading inexplicable to all but a cadre of financial wizards. In retrospect, the promise they saw in the wheel seems rather obvious now. They just saw it first.
A good idea or initial concept, while essential, is not enough. How many great ideas remain on paper (or papyrus or stone) never to see fruition? We often refer to the development phase as 'hell' precisely because it takes effective leadership to move an idea forward and make it a reality. And effective leadership is more than a matter of mechanics and guidelines that one can glean from some management guru's latest publishing sensation. Instead, it has a lot to do with personality and the leader's intuitive understanding of his/her strengths and weaknesses. As well, we must consider the ability to expand the initial idea to a global scale while wresting the maximum from each individual involved in the project.
The Entrepreneurship Certificate Program is careful to blend theory with best practices, and is led by Dilip Keshu, an entrepreneur who has bought and sold companies throughout his distinguished career. The curriculum is designed to expose participants from a wide range of backgrounds to on-point and practical material. Even when content rich in theory, the materials are leavened by written assignments and discussion groups to ground the lessons learned in reality. And participants can expect targeted observations of what works and what does not gleaned from the vantage point of hard won experience.
The Entrepreneurship Certificate helps participants think about how to test the viability of an idea before committing costly resources to make it a reality. The program also provides practical tips on how the entrepreneur makes the idea sustainable in the long term through improvements, differentiation and innovation. It provides participants with a framework to assess competition and do a SWOT Analysis – strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. Remember, from idea to leadership, the path to achieve entrepreneurial success is more a matter of careful planning than either genius or earth-shattering new invention.
After completing the program, students should be able to:
- Fully understand the various aspects of being an entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial employee.
- Discuss aspects of sales, marketing, operations, human resources and other business functions at a relatively sophisticated level.
- Analyze the potential of an idea in light of how unique or differentiated it is
- Discuss the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities relevant to an idea
- Use a range of techniques to develop, test, refine and modify the idea
- Develop the skills required to take the idea to market
- Intuit what customers want and put forth solutions that help to meet their specific needs
- Develop a business plan or project charter for the idea
- Understand the salient aspects of leadership with attention to the type of leadership a particular idea demands
- Deliver what people expect from a leader
While the program cannot guarantee success in the marketplace, it does provide participants with a toolbox that they can draw from and that will sustain them through the ups and downs of business innovation.