Five major learnings from Udhyami Seed Camp

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Five major learnings from Udhyami Seed Camp

Ideas, as they say, have the power to change the world. Ideas can engender feelings of hope, inspiration and passion in midst of uncertainty and chaos. Ideas can evoke feverish excitement and spread like wildfire. But in the world of business, idea, when not executed, mean very little. Thus, Udhyami Seed Camp was conceptualized with the objective of helping Nepali entrepreneurs and their wonderful ideas reach their full potential. Udhyami Seed Camp is a 5-day long bootcamp to turn ideas into businesses. 12 teams, who either had business ideas or had already started work on their ideas at some level, participated in the program. The Seed Camp brought together over 40 established entrepreneurs, experts, facilitators, and investors as coaches. The coaches helped the teams with their ideas to ensure that each idea had every chance of turning into a viable business.

A lot of knowledge and insights were exchanged during the 5-day program and here are five of the major learnings of the teams of Udhyami Seed Camp Batch-1.

 

Get started with your business model canvas

For the most of us, having a business idea is the easy bit. But understanding the various (business) cogs that propel the idea into a business is more difficult. This was the case for many of the teams at Udhyami Seed Camp. Therefore, they were introduced to the business model canvas (BMC), a framework that helps you visualize the various building blocks of your business.
Engineers for Nepal, one of the teams at the bootcamp, used the BMC to better understand the services that they plan to offer. The team wants to build a platform to abridge the gap between people who require engineering services and those who can offer them.

This is a wonderful idea that will help many people. But building an effective platform has its own unique challenges. From dealing with various stakeholders to getting the revenue model right, Engineers For Nepal needs to get a lot of things right. But thanks to the BMC, the team were able to better understand the essential elements of their business. They were able to identify their customer segments, key relations, activities and cost structures which enable them prioritize their efforts and make better decisions.

Here’s a link where you can get your BMC started for your idea or business: https://strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas  

 

 

Importance of concept and prototype testing

Building and investing in products and services that do not have sufficient demand are two fatal traps that most entrepreneurs fall into.Working on ideas that do not have sufficient market demand to sustain a business is a waste of time, money, and more importantly your startup energy.

The teams were introduced to “The Lean Startup” and its “Build-Measure-Learn” philosophy in order to prevent wastage of precious resources. Based on these learnings, the teams were encouraged to build Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) or prototypes. They were asked to take their products to actual customers and stakeholders in order to test their ideas, concepts, and assumptions.

KD Group, a husband-wife duo, want to expand the horizons of their traditional mustard oil business. They want more people to know about the health benefits of mustard oil and they have also been working on a mustard oil based massage oil.

During the bootcamp, they set out to interact with actual customers and stakeholders with their products. The results they got was phenomenal. They met doctors that not only verified their assumptions that pure mustard oil is healthier than other edible oil, but the doctors also agreed to recommend their products to their patients. Most significantly, a head nurse at Prasuti Ghriha placed a significant order for their product. It certainly pays to talk to your customers.

 

Reaching out to mentors and coaches

Interactions with potential customers are important, but guidance and advice from mentors and experts who understand your idea is crucial. Their experience and knowledge will not only guide the entrepreneurs towards the right direction with their ideas, but their network will be a valuable resource for any starting entrepreneur.  

Udhyami Seed Camp’s format was designed to enable teams to interact with as many mentors and coaches as possible. Each day, 5-6 coaches would visit the Seed Camp and help teams with their ideas.

One of the best examples in Udhyami Seed Camp of how mentors are important for early stage idea entrepreneurs was demonstrated by TechGenX. TechGenX wants to build semi-automated wheelchairs specifically designed for the needs of the Nepali people. The team received valuable insights from Ananta Saurabh, Chief Operating Officer of Kantipur Digital Corp, and Hitesh Karki, Chief Academic Officer at Deerwalk Institute of Technology. The mentors helped them realize the unique challenges they faced while building wheelchairs in Nepal. Further, the mentors promised to offer the team office space and other resources to build their prototype.  

 

What the investors want

Five days of Udhyami Seed Camp culminated in a Pitch Day. All 12 teams pitched their ideas, business models, and findings to investors and others guests present at the ceremony. As the teams vied for the interest and attention of the investors, the investors also had an opportunity to ask each team about their ideas.

The teams that garnered the most interest (and questions) from the investors were the ones who were able to present substantial findings. These findings were gathered by the teams during their research or when they went into the market.

Sroth Code Games, the developers of “Haku Run”- the popular Nepali game based on the movie Loot 2, piqued the interest of a lot of investors. They presented figures, i.e. the number of downloads, co-sponsors, revenue etc,  reflecting how successful Haku Run was. This enabled the team to convince investors on how effective their idea of marketing through games really was.  

 

You are only as strong as your team

Your team is at the core of how well you execute your business idea. It is important to seriously consider whether your team has all the skills and expertise required to execute your idea, and whether there is enough trust within the team.

All the teams at Udhyami Seed Camp went through challenges and problems that undoubtedly strained their skills and relationships. However each team raised to their respective challenges and were better off having tackled them together.

Once In A Lifetime Events is an organization that advocates sustainability for the events industry. Founded by a Spain native, the team seems to have everything required in the team to execute their ideas. The team consist of two foreign sustainability experts and one Nepali national who helps coordinate operation in Nepal. This team was able to maneuver challenges and support each other even when the feasibility of their idea was tested to its core. They also trust each other immensely. They delegated responsibilities among each other excellently as they attended sessions, met coaches and solved problems, in some case all at the same time.  

 

 

Udhyami Seed Camp was a wonderful coming together of ideas, entrepreneurs, coaches, media, and investors. The 12 teams that participated in the 5-day long journey gained a lot from the interactions and knowledge generated at the Seed Camp. Here we presented only five major learnings among many others, but the journey doesn't end here. The 12 teams will go through another two months of follow-up sessions to ensure that their ideas do indeed turn into sustainable businesses and, I expect they will learn a lot more,

 

Comments

  • Guest
    Rohit Tiwari Wednesday, 10 May 2017

    It is always amazing reading your writings. :)

  • Guest
    Ayush Thursday, 11 May 2017

    You guys are the real superstars! :D

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