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MS Ventures Startup Bootcamp / Waterloo

What would you say if someone offered you the “opportunity” to spend three days over a weekend packed into a small room with 30 or so other early stage entrepreneurs learning the basics of how to run a startup?  Sounds a little crazy, but if you’ve got the passion to build a company, then maybe not quite so crazy, right?

Well, that’s what we did last weekend.  With several colleagues, I ran the first pilot of a new Microsoft Ventures Startup Bootcamp program that we’ve been working on since last fall.   Response was fantastic.  We had attendees from not just Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto, but also Montreal, Boston, New York and Los Angeles!

Waterloo Startup Weekend Attendees Jan 10.

Waterloo Startup Weekend Attendees Jan 10.

The agenda consisted of a lot of “Startup 101” content, designed to give entrepreneurs (and “wantrepreneurs”) a flavor of what they will face.

9:00 – 10:00 Introductions
10:15 – 12:00 Your Big Idea
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 2:15 Finding Potential Customers
(includes 30 minute group activity)
2:30 – 4:15 Positioning for Success – Hiring Your A-Team
(includes 30 minute group activity)
4:30 – 6:00 Investments 101
(includes 15 minute group activity)
Networking at the Firkin
9:00 – 9:-30 recap / Q&A
9:30 – 11:00 Harnessing the Power of Social
11:15 – 1:00 Focusing on Growth
1:00 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 Networking – The Force Multiplier
2:45 – 4:00 Setting Target Markets
(includes 15 minute group activity)
4:15 – 5:15 Navigating the Legal World
5:15 – 5:45 Get Involved in Your Startup Ecosystem
5:45 – 6:15 Finding and Using Local Resources
Networking at the Firkin
9:00 – 10:00 recap / Q&A
10:00 — finish Office Hours


And the feedback was fantastic!  Here is a sample:

“This was my first in-depth startup session and it was everything I was hoping for. Great content, format and presentation from an experienced entrepreneur/speaker. The one-on-one session was very informative and encouraging and provided some good next steps”

We’ll be doing three more of these pilot bootcamps in the coming weeks:

  • January 15-17, Madrid Spain (sign up)
  • January 29-31, Singapore (sign up)
  • February 5-7, Santiago Chile (sign up)

Hope to see you at one of them!

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