What stands out in my mind the most from this talk is the amount that he simplified the core values of entrepreneurship. No matter how complex of an idea or concept, there are only really a few key issues that investors look at when they are looking at potentially investing in a company. I found it very refreshing when he said that as an investor, if a corporation is only looking to make money, he knows they will not have what it takes to make it in the market. Investors must know that the product is serving a greater mission for its customers, because that is what consumers will see and more importantly, that is what will attract high quality talent. Employees must be passionate in the beginning phases of a business. If a company is not dedicated to delivering something unique and valuable, then investors know the company will not have what it takes to make it. It is not much of a stretch to apply this concept to Global Social Impact Fellows projects. We all agreed to take on these projects because we are interested in being a part of a unique experience that will deliver value to people who really need it. I think that there is no shortage of passion coming from the students involved with these projects, and the missions unquestionably value customers.
Another aspect of entrepreneurship that he simplified is delivering something of unique value to customers. No matter what the project, if a new company is not set on delivering something that is unique, but also undoubtedly provides value to customers, then the company will have a very low chance of survival. For our projects, it is imperative that we truly understand what is valuable to our target consumers without asserting our own understanding of what consumers may be interested in. For our project in India in particular, identifying the value will be a task that requires intense studying of our target demographic. We are looking to promote transparency and understanding of nonprofits and corporations, so our business model will be centered around promoting knowledge. It will be difficult for us, as foreign college students, to position our information as unique and valuable to people that are already integrated into the community.
He talked about simplifying your pitch. It should not be too technical and easy on the eyes. Our topic is pretty complex, and the only way we can deliver value is to make our information seem superior to what may be common knowledge, so this part of our project will be tricky. We will need to make sure we find unique ways of analyzing the partnerships that are not overly complicated. He also talked about finding your ‘entrepreneurial soul mates’. While we didn’t have much of a choice in our partners, this is definitely a lesson I will keep with me. What we can do before going to India is strengthen our relationships and understanding of how each of us works in order to simulate one of these relationships that he referred to. Our project is made up of five people, and I think that is a good number to be able to play off each other with. Personally, I think I am developing a stronger understanding of when it is a good time to share my opinions and when someone else in our group may be more qualified. This will be crucial during our interview process. We must understand this dynamic so that our interviews don’t come off as cluttered or unprofessional.
He also talks about how a good product should not be afraid to polarize people. This is another difficult element to our project because we want anyone who may be interested in the topic to want the information we develop. However, I think the most impact would come from targeting our findings towards companies that are not engaged in CSR or have low engagement with CSR. If we specify that what we have researched will help companies from a strategic standpoint, then they will be more likely to want to look into our findings and apply them to their spending an CSR relationships.
In partnership with one or at most two team members, present a business model canvas for your venture.
Customer Segments- corporations, nonprofits, Indian professionals
Value Propositions- we will provide valuable insights that can help you to leverage your company in the eyes of potential customers by making the most of your CSR partnerships
Channels- online, digital
Customer Relationships- heavy focus on making our product appealing to people who may not initially consider being customers
Revenue Streams- usage or subscription fee
Key Resources- e-mail, phone call, video-making devices
Key Activities- gathering information from companies, organizing and promoting in an accessible and appealing format
Key partners- Lehigh University, every company interviewed