In this second week of the course, the group continued to apply the lean startup methodology to their business ideas and develop their MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) – initial assets such as landing pages, explainer videos and product samples to show to their potential audience in order to gain feedback to further develop and iteratively improve their ideas.
A highlight for the group was receiving expert feedback on their MVPs from the likes of Marie Krebs and Pac O’Shea, who provided helpful pointers on how to gather the most relevant data from target audiences, as many of the group have begun to build and share surveys and questionnaires to test their business propositions. This process will help lay the foundations for strong business ideas by helping to ensure that each product or service addresses a real problem experienced by others, that people are willing to pay to have solved.
The group also enjoyed an energising session on ideation with Abraham Asefaw, who set them the task of distilling their business idea into a short Tweet and 4-6 emojis. Participants relished this creative challenge – Funso commented “Makes you think about what your business does in a short and concise way”, while Pritt found it “useful to break it down, less overwhelming”.
Another highlight was a talk from Sheree Atcheson on her stellar career journey, from her beginnings as a software engineer in Belfast, to expanding the Women Who Code network supporting women in tech in the UK and beyond, to writing for Forbes and becoming a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Deloitte, Monzo and now Peakon. The group were extremely inspired by Sheree’s career trajectory and keen to find out more from her upcoming book, ‘Demanding More: Why Diversity and Inclusion Doesn't Happen and What You Can Do About It’ which comes out this Spring.
Sheree’s experiences of being the only person of colour in the room in numerous professional contexts really resonated with many members of the group, and participants were interested to learn about her data-driven approach to improving companies’ diversity and inclusion efforts and increasing accountability and impact.
She also advised the group to take the time to self-reflect and truly understand their strengths, with participant Nasima commenting “I love your emphasis on acquiring skillset! Growth is turning potential and passion into skills!”
Next week begins with pitch practice with Zaisha Smith to be followed by more expert talks, including sessions on branding from Marius Bogdanas and Alex Vasili, and 'reaching customers' with Raquel Soares.
By Sapphire Paston, Programme Officer