The euphoria and excitement associated with launching and growing a small business venture are often whittled away by manifold challenges including partnership pitfalls, financial resources, poor problem definition and market misalignment. Other contributory factors include timing, passion without purpose (or vice versa), (unyielding) regulatory context and even a founder’s characterization, risk appetite or personal proclivities.
Undoubtedly, the freedom that entrepreneurship offers is tethered by the realities of responsibility and accountability to team, employees, partners, financers, customers or clients. The allure of a flexible schedule which triggered the switch from a traditional career path swiftly begins to morph to resemble longer days and working weekends. These growing pains of the first year along with its triumphs and investment deals may still not generate adequate cash flow to sustain the business over the next year. After all, statistics remind us that that more than half of all startups fail within 2 to 5 years.
CARIRI’s Business HATCHERY through a rigorous screening and selection process offers entrepreneurs a 3 month Business Hatchery Programme to advance to marketability and collaborate with other entrepreneur peers, apply business fundamentals through a structured curriculum, access mentorship and coaching support and strengthen business pitch techniques.
The Programme’s curriculum takes entrepreneurs through five key areas: Base Case Analysis and Value Proposition, Marketing, Accounting and Finance, Business Model and Business Pitch Development. However, the value of the Programmelies in the questions rather than predominantly in the advice, that embolden entrepreneurs to broaden their gaze, tap into overlooked opportunities and develop self-reliance at arriving at critical decisions. Whilst the programme serves entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries and mixed career backgrounds, it holds entrepreneurs to deliverables through a combination of disciplined, facilitative and hands-on approaches that are customized to their businesses.
As entrepreneurship grows in appeal, a fundamental yet sometimes understated point is: all businesses and/or products must solve a customer’s problem or address a customer’s pain points. In strategic planning, an erroneous problem definition will generate objectives, options and conclusions that lead to divergent implementation schedules and execution plans far removed from the original problem to be resolved. Similarly, CARIRI’s Business HATCHERY Programmehelps entrepreneurs to evaluate who would benefit from what they do and why it would matter. Pivoting and refining an initial business proposition are therefore integral to the Business Hatchery process. After all, a hypothesis untested by robust market research yields an invalidated problem definition and potentially a thin value proposition.
On a macro level, the Business Hatchery Programme encourages business development and stimulates economic development. At the end of the 3 month programme, participants have an opportunity to pitch to an external panel of potential investors. Although there are no guarantees of investment, all panelists provide probing feedback, advice for improvement and specific industry recommendations.
Having concluded its fourth Business Hatchery cycle in November 2015, entrepreneurs’ attestations emphasized that CARIRI’s Business HatcheryProgramme reduced their learning curves and provided holistic assistance to think and work through processes in bringing a product to market. Feedback also indicated most entrepreneurs felt ready to implement their product / service in the Trinidad and Tobago market within six months, having fully fashioned and (even tested) their final product or service. A significant output of the Business Hatchery Programme is the impact on the time frame to bring a product to market. Other ancillary benefits include the network of entrepreneurs, business tools and systematic methodology which are important drivers to growth.
The mixed team of consultants and staff in CARIRI’s Business Hatchery Programme provide pivotal support in steering entrepreneurs’ growth and remain a key differentiating factor from similar business incubator programmes. As a participant characterized, “CARIRI’s Business HATCHERY Programme assisted in the determination of a feasible and logical concept of the business model…The team also seemed family oriented, making us comfortable and productive.”
We invite online applications for our upcoming Business Hatchery cycles in January 2016 and encourage all budding and existing entrepreneurs to get gritty about their growth.