[Skip this posting if you’re not living in/close to Belgium or don’t have anything to do with Finance – I’m just using my almost-abandoned web-oriented blog to get this out asap]
[Update Feb 20: the team is complete – thanks to all of the people who helped spreading the message!]
[Update Feb 24: tools used (some stats and screenshots): 11 hrs of talking over Skype, some 250 msgs over 40 mail conversations, and the blogpost that mainly spread via Twitter and Linkedin]
[Update Feb 24: 6 teams made the final selection, we (Frank Herrman, Koen Pellegrims, Els Heremans, Andre Keil, Marc Hensmans and I) are one of those teams]
iBootcamp is a crash course in building a viable business out of an initial idea. It is organised by IBBT.be in Ghent and (indirectly) financed by Flemish government – but participation is open for everybody (I myself am a Belgian living in the Netherlands – the language of iBootcamp is English). Ten ideas have passed a first selection and five of them will make it to the iBootcamp itself:
• 1-day Teambuilding workshop: March 4th or 5th
• Friday + Saturday March 12th-13th
How to develop a successful business plan
New Venture Creation
• Friday + Saturday March 26th-27th
Principles of New Product Growth
• Friday + Saturday April 23rd-24th (Business model)
The idea I submitted to iBootcamp was codenamed "Minds Meetup" (only a working title).
Minds meetup is an online platform (with a real-world service component) that will enable independent trainers (or more in general: domain experts with training skills) to:
- test demand for a draft workshop/training program
- market the workshop/training using online/social media
- handle the logistics of location reservation, subscriptions, evaluation, invoicing
It is based on the assumption that more and more independent knowledge workers have built a reputation on their own via social media (weblogs, Linkedin, Twitter), and are capable of marketing their own rather than relying on the endorsement of well-established training institutes (the pattern of disintermediation that is also known in other industries).
The plan I presented already tackles some obvious hurdles to get to this vision (e.g. the problem of bootstrapping the activity, differentiation from similar ideas etc…)
"Minds Meetup" got selected for the second round. In that second round, I need to convince the jury that I have been able to build a proper "startup team". The iBootcamp format expects a team of people of complementary personalities and skills (research has shown that this is an almost necessary condition for success). So I need to have people with these proven skills:
The team now consists of:
I am still talking to people for the "Operations" position and should be able to get a positive answer from one of them.
For the financial position however, I ran out of options… The reason: there were very few financial people in the IBBT network itself. My own network, on the other hand, consists of mainly technical and online marketing people. Those with business experience I have been talking to in the last few weeks, are in their late thirties or forties and are no longer willing to sacrifice weekends of family life.
Hence this leap forward and this late (!) "open invitation".
- You’re able to translate ideas into numbers, you need to have proven financial skills (business school or work experience in financial planning)
- You are free or can keep your agenda free at the dates mentioned above
- You have affinity with web technology and online business models
What’s in it for you:
- you get the opportunity to participate in a valuable intensive and interactive course program set up by Vlerick Business School
- you get to know a good bunch of interesting people, both trainers and people in the other participating teams
You do NOT need to:
- be searching for another job, or commit yourself to something beyond iBootcamp. The end product is a business plan, not a business
- (on the other hand: _if_ you are searching for another job, I can’t promise that. The idea might be too small-scale to get funding and create employment in the short term)
I spent one week talking to people since the IBBT dating event and I’ve got less than one week left now. Contact me before Saturday noon Feb 20th. I will talk to people (preferably via Skype since I’m in the Netherlands) on Saturday and Sunday. I need to submit the final list on Monday Feb 22d.
I will post this in the Linkedin Groups of Bizcamp.be, Betagroup.be, Ghent Valley, Westartup and at Westartup.eu.
You can check out my online presence (you’ll probably find people we know in common, ask them for advice):
If you feel this might be something for someone in your own network, please feel free to forward/post/retweet. Thanks!