Launched in 4 MIC out of 140 worldwide. Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC), Karachi is pleased to announce the launch of MIC Pre-Accelerator program, which is a 12-week intensive program designed by our Miami MIC for early stage startups looking for mentorship and training to take their idea to market. Powered by workshops and coaching from Microsoft and our curriculum partners, the Pre-Accelerator takes entrepreneurs through an idea validation process, rapid prototyping, development of a product, go-to-market techniques, and a variety of key skills needed to succeed as a startup founder.
TL;DR – You can learn entrepreneurship, and our Innovation Centers have a new Pre-Accelerator to help you bring your idea to market.
It used to be that an entrepreneur was a sort of magical creature. People believed that you were either born to be a natural cowboy of Silicon Valley or you were doomed to work in a cubicle. Over the past few years, with
the rise of the modern tech accelerator, it is more consistently accepted that entrepreneurship can actually be taught, or at least guided via mentorship. There has been a change in how we now teach entrepreneurship, because there has been a fundamental shift in our understanding of what a startup actually is. A particularly elegant definition comes from a 2010 blog post by Steve Blank, who describes a startup as “an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model”.
This definition allows us to concentrate on how best to learn the skills and frameworks that support the “search”, rather than the skills needed to “run” a business. At some point, you will need to learn how to run a company, but first you need to find a business model that works. That search requires a different set of skills, which most people call the “lean” methodology (a combination of customer development and agile software development techniques). Meanwhile, one of the frameworks or maps that helps you plot your progress in your search might be some variation on the Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder. In addition to these foundational skills, there is a collection of complementary capabilities (e.g. how to build a team, UX design, pitching to VCs, etc.) which are useful for turning the entrepreneur with a strong idea and a bit of market validation into a viable startup with a desirable product that can be continually improved, maintained, and defended in the market.
So, if the needed skills are identifiable, what is the best way to learn them? Unfortunately, there are only a few traditional schools (e.g. Stanford, Columbia, and a few others) that have adopted this new “search” paradigm of entrepreneurship, but thankfully there are other types of institutions teaching these skills. We commonly refer to them as accelerators. In a quality accelerator, you’ll be surrounded by mentors, advisors, and like-minded peers, concentrating all of your time on developing a product or service with which people will fall absolutely in love (hopefully). But what if, as an aspiring entrepreneur, your idea isn’t far enough along to get accepted? What if you have a brilliant idea that you can’t stop thinking about, what can you do to prepare yourself and your concept for that next step? How can you test and validate your idea before quitting your job or spending too much time and money building a prototype? The Microsoft Innovation Centers are launching a Pre-Accelerator program in select locations to help you do just that.
It is part of our mission to level the playing field for all of the aspiring entrepreneurs around the world who want to build something, who want to be their own bosses, who want to make the world a better place. The MIC Pre-ccelerator is a 12-week intensive program designed by our Miami MIC for early stage startups looking for mentorship and training to take their idea to market. Powered by workshops and coaching from Microsoft and our curriculum partners, the Pre-Accelerator takes cofounders through the idea validation process, rapid prototyping, development of a product, go-to-market techniques, and a variety of soft skills needed to succeed as a startup founder. Initially in four locations around the world, we look forward to bringing the program to the more than 100 global MIC facilities. If there is a program near you, we hope you will apply and take the next step to bringing your idea to life. For more details on the program, including locations, team requirements, and application deadlines, please visit www.aka.ms/startups101