At Harbour.Space students form teams and work on real world startup companies in those teams to gain practical experience alongside the theory.
During the first two weeks, students spend time in identity and communication workshops designed to help them improve their idea presentation, communication, and pitching skills. Ideas are about as good as presentations and otherwise good ideas can go unnoticed due to poor communication. At the same time, students work using Lean Canvas and other frameworks to test and focus their ideas. Working in teams, students will validate business models, USPs, and identify niches, opportunities, and problems with their start-up ideas. Very quickly students are able to substantiate a start-up idea in a lean way without expending a lot of resources, prepare a presentation, and pitch their start-up. These are essential skills for any start-up founder.
The top ideas will have teams form around them that will turn them into successful companies during the course of the programme (those that pass the framework tests, have a vision and a mission that brings people together).
Students spend two weeks in workshops to help them define their companies’ SVPs (Selling Value Propositions), USPs (Unique Selling Propositions), company identity, vision and mission using start-up canvas techniques, 5Ws (that comes from TaiichiOhno Toyota Production System and has been modified endlessly from Why’s to What’s etc. but is a crucial lean start-up technique for identified root causes). Which will also help them to test, define, and clarify their basic assumptions and business models.
Why Choose Harbour.Space High Tech Entrepreneurship Programme?
• You have a strong desire to be an entrepreneur, you need to gain the skills and knowledge needed to develop your own lean start-up company.
• You need to gain a solid core of management, leadership, and team working skills and the opportunity to hone your technical skills.
• You want to receive support and guidance from our mentors with specialised knowledge in entrepreneurship, company building, and venture capital.
• You want to be able to enter one of the world's best accelerators and compete for funding to develop your own start-up business.
• You want to be able to participate and present your company at WMC, 4YFN, and other local and international start-up events.
The programme combines real world experiences with courses on the fundamentals of finance, managing people, and thinking creatively within entrepreneurial environments. The programme's rigor will stretch the abilities of any student, and it will require intensive outside-of-class teamwork from all. The intense demands of this programme will require that applicants be prepared to commit serious amounts of time to working at a real company in addition to coursework.
Students will have limited free time during this programme. Students will not only learn how to plan a new enterprise, set up its financing, resolve typical operating and administrative problems, and alternatives for growth and sales but also take actions to build scalable businesses that are able to find Venture Funding, and implement measures to subsequently scale to meet an ever increasing demand for product or service, and allow founders to exit as multimillionaires.
The course represents a deep dive into concepts and frameworks introduced during orientation. It is designed to teach students the process of creating a new venture. It introduces its participants to the concepts, challenges, and tools needed to create a successful new venture. Business model design & validation frameworks are studied and applied to the teams’ start-ups.
Students are introduced to key market structures and concepts, including: networks and network externalities, two-sided markets, the chasm, the bowling-alley and the tornado, selling for free and “the long tail.” By the end of the module, students will have learned how to bring their ideas to market, how to validate their idea using popular frameworks and methodologies, create a business model for their company, and map out the next three years of study as they further refine their concept and develop a cohesive strategy to develop their start-ups. This class will help you understand your own capabilities and interest in being an entrepreneur.
Most start-ups fail. Launching a new venture has always been a very risky proposition. Many start-ups fail by not validating their ideas early on with real-life customers as they use traditional approaches to building and launching their products. Lean start-up methodology can make the process of starting a company less risky. This methodology favours experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional development.
This course is built to help students master some of the basic concepts introduced during orientation and is a deep dive into the Lean Start wouldn’t Up methodology. Students will learn: (1) How to actively listen and engage customers to find out what exactly they want in your product and how it should be delivered to them, (2) How to gather, evaluate, and use customer feedback to make a product, marketing, and business model stronger, (3) How to engage your customers through the three phases of the customer relationship management lifecycle: get, keep, and grow, (4) How to identify key resources, partners, activities, and distribution channels required to deliver your product to your customer, (5) How to calculate direct and indirect costs for delivering a product, (6) How to apply these concepts to their own ventures.
Even at a very early stage of a new venture, design thinking can be an extremely powerful tool as it teaches how to empathise with your customer, synthesise your knowledge, and promptly prototype and test ideas. Students will explore how Uber, Airbnb, Nest, and Tesla to accomplish breakthroughs in their sectors masterfully used design thinking.
Inspired by thought-provoking real-world examples and mentors, teams will employ human-centred design methods to conceive and visualise their own start-up proposals and find ways to engage in innovative, brand-enhancing new ways. Students will stoke conversations, co-create experiences, spark stories and build engaging relationships with their potential consumers to see how design thinking can benefit their companies. This course is designed to help students master design thinking techniques and immediately put them to use which will guide and inspire teams through prototyping and testing stages.
What are the key ingredients that drive success in entrepreneurial companies? How do entrepreneurs capitalise on new ideas and bring them to market? In this course, students gain valuable insights into how technology entrepreneurs probe the unique mindset that often accompanies a successful venture. Through engaging lectures and hands-on projects, you will discover the best practices of Silicon Valley, EU and Israeli entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
This course emphasizes the critical theoretical perspective on the one hand, and the practical aspects on the other. Students will be introduced to a variety of digital platforms, services, products, marketing, distribution, and pricing channels created by successful entrepreneurs. They will practice product characterisation, applying the acquired methodology to their start-up ideas, including (1) the analysis of the environment relevant to the product, (2) an overview of the market and the target audience, (3) creating the work and development plan, (4) goal setting and timetables, (5) development and analysis of the commercial models and distribution methods.
Start-ups operate in a permanent state of chaos. This is why it is important for students to learn how to work around the challenges of frequently changing requirements, imperfect effort estimations, frequent direction changes to the execution of the project as well as lack of coordination between team members.
The course introduces proven techniques to manage these challenges. Topics include the Agile Development technique used extensively by start-ups these days that works well with lean start-up methodology. Successful project management allows teams to control costs, manage risks, and meet deadlines. Students will learn methods to structure technical projects, identify key stages and tasks, determine task dependencies, assess the level of effort and design project plan, etc.
This course is designed to teach what technology makes sense for early/ MVP stage, late stage and scaling in terms of infrastructure, stack, UX/UI, mobile and backend. During product development it is fundamentally important to have the ability to understand the difference between iOS and Android, xCode and Swift, Java and Objective-c, UX from UI, POP and Invision, CSS and CMS, Github and SourceForge, and PHP and Ruby on Rails. You will need someone in your team who knows how to set it all up, maintain it and keep an eye on it. Some specific applications will have some specific needs but that’s something the founders should know anyway.
Students will begin work on the Capstone Project from the early days of their orientation. They're supported by mentors and regularly discuss their direction and progress. In the first part of the year, students determine a detailed objective for their project, research existing alternatives, outline differentiators of their approach, define challenges, and create a work plan for the second third of the year.
Students will be calling prospective customers and testing some basic strategies in year one. We expect them to have a prototype of the start-up by this stage and a decent presentation ready. At the very least the project/idea should be sales-validated via customer interviews/discovery calls. In the end of this module, students will present their project's Alfa version to peers.
Ask 2X entrepreneur and VC, Mark Suster, why so many start-ups fail and he’ll tell you it’s because they undervalue sales. Ask any other VC or start-up executive the same question and all roads lead back to the same place: undervaluing sales. Look at Apple in ’79, Salesforce in ’99, or even Airbnb in 2009. On day-1, these start-ups were selling and getting their first fiercely loyal (and paying) customers even before they had something legit to sell.
This course teaches the basics of sales from building and finding target customers, formalising the company’s selling value proposition, sales scripting, cold calling techniques, and reaching out and finding sales leads. Students are expected to apply learned concepts in their start-ups to see if they can get a soft commitment or, perhaps, even a sale for their companies.
Do you have what it takes to inspire folks to practice innovation – rather than just talk about it? Do you know the right way to manage the team you are working with? In this course students will learn how to: (1) manage creativity and innovation of a team on a systems level, (2) gain the skills of a spot-on leader, (3) build and maintain a talented and motivated team, (4) close the knowing-doing gap, and (5) accept "failure" and see it as an opportunity to adapt and learn from mistakes.
Ultra-high growth requires getting the whole team to do more, and do it better, and more efficiently. Students will analyse the differences between leading innovation and managing routine work, learn how to strike the right balance putting together a team which includes both individuals who are good at routine maximisation and those who are catalysts of pioneering ways; and how to incentivise people, and uphold the qualities of competent leaders with a special emphasis on how to stay in tune with the people you lead. The course will feature interviews, workshops, podcasts, and live webinars with world leaders of innovation.
Nearly half of start-ups fail because there isn’t a defined need for their product in the market. In this course, students learn how to identify and develop comprehensive solutions to some of the most significant business problems. Students will be introduced to needs-finding methods, brainstorming, and concept creation.
Students learn strategies for understanding and interpreting business needs, researching literature, and searching patents. Working in small entrepreneurial multidisciplinary teams, students will gain exposure to techniques of intellectual property analysis and feasibility, basic prototyping, and market assessment. This course is designed to help students create, analyse and screen technology ideas, and to select projects for their future development or perhaps use them in their own project.
This course addresses an entrepreneur’s most important early-stage issue – customer acquisition – it’s easy to waste a lot of money doing wrong things via wrong channels, especially the ones where you go toe-to-toe with the big guys and can easily be outspent. Start-ups are do proceed in a different way! Start-ups will only thrive by engaging in smart marketing, acquiring customers in a fashion that makes them shine bright in the crowd and builds an enthusiastic customer base they don’t have to keep paying for every month.
Throughout the course we will focus on the tactics of acquiring customers through outbound or inbound marketing and on motivating them (i.e., to encourage repeat behaviour and/or increase the frequency of interaction). Specific topics include: search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, affiliate marketing, social media campaigns, mobile applications, freemium strategies, and the use of web analytics for tracking customer acquisition and conversion rates. The focus will be mainly on digital marketing channels and growth hacking tactics. Students will have to apply their new competencies to improve the process of customer acquisition for their own start-ups.
A start-up may be incredibly innovative from an engineering standpoint, but that does not necessarily mean that it will be a commercial success. What makes an idea successful in the marketplace is the business model, which describes how we will create and deliver value for our customers, and how we will extract some of that value.
The business model encompasses our product or service, our customers, and the economic engine that will enable to meet profitability and growth objectives. Business model analysis is important for both start-ups and new businesses, which need to discover a successful business model, and for established businesses, which often need to defend or evolve their business models. This course develops a structured way of thinking about business models to train you in the science of business model analysis and to help you practice the art of business model construction.
In the second part of the year, students present their project's MVP version to a panel of experts.
Founders hear this all the time from angels and VCs. Tell a story. A big idea is not enough. You need people to understand the story behind your idea. Storytelling is as old as the human language. It is an easy and accessible way to get your idea across. Your big idea needs a story. Stories fuel innovation. They hold the power to transform listeners; to take listeners on a journey that changes how they think, feel, or act.
This course will develop an understanding of the process of storytelling and establish deeper connections by incorporating story elements and articulating a narrative within a business context. Students learn how to (1) understand the role story plays in business, and specifically innovation, (2) determine what makes a good (and bad) story, and (3) use and craft stories for internal and external stakeholders, to further your strategic advantage and spur innovation.
It is fundamentally important for the founders to find and define their company’s identity, vision, and mission that helps in selling, messaging, and hiring. Every great company has a mission that is bigger than the company. This is how Space X and Tesla have been able to attract some of the brightest minds.
This course teaches about successful and failed entrepreneurial communication. What makes the difference between a successful entrepreneur and an out of the gate failure? Often it is not the quality of the idea, but rather the ability of the entrepreneurs to successfully communicate their vision to potential investors, employees, and customers. Students will learn the basics of persuasive oral and written communication, and then apply these principles to efficiently formulating their own ideas to bring their message through.
In the early days of a start-up, the founders have to do the selling. Moreover, in order to scale and grow, the founders need to know how to build highly effective and professional sales organisations. This course will teach students the art and science of building effective sales organisations and the challenges and key issues associated with managing them.
Specific topics include: choosing a go-to-market model (e.g., direct sales, VARs, OEMs, or hybrid models), building and structuring the sales function (e.g., sales learning curve, organisational structure, and allocating territories and quotas), and managing the sales force (e.g., hiring/firing, compensation, forecasting, and culture). The course emphasis is on developing and managing the selling effort and strategies needed for different markets (consumer, business, government, and global) from strategic inception through to execution and implementation. The course will teach students how to build and manage the sales effort at various stages of the company and product lifecycle, hire and train sales personnel, create compensation and incentive plans, do sales forecasting, and address multiple product lines, multiple channels, and multiple geographic regions. These topics are analysed in the context of both early stage ventures and mature enterprises.
This is a common theme in some start-ups where people do not talk/communicate properly that leads to teams breaking up, founders leaving, and some bad blood. The focus of this course is to increase one's competencies in building more effective relationships. Learning is primarily through feedback from other group members. This course is very involving and, at times, can be quite emotional. We deal more with inter-personal issues than with intra-personal ones.
In the last two decades, economic integration has been moving faster and farther throughout the world and the world has effectively become smaller and much more interconnected. This course will teach students how to best use this to their advantage by building efficient value chains for their company. A value chain is the network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, service providers, and others involved in bringing a product or service to market.
Understanding and effectively managing your value chain is critical to building or scaling a business in the modern age. The right value chain supports the introduction of new products and enables a company to offer services to customers with optimal results. In this course, students will be introduced to best practices, learn how to use value chains to enable innovations in products and services, and understand how value chains can create a competitive advantage as well as how to use their value chain to develop value-enhancing services for customers. Students will learn how to determine what is the right value chain strategy for their business and get an opportunity to test it.
The role of the founder undergoes dramatic changes as the company grows. Rapidly growing start-ups can be incredibly hard to manage. Founders need to learn how the company's needs evolve and what frameworks and methods must be adopted to maintain the company growth.
Throughout the course, students will learn techniques and concepts pioneered by Hiroshi Mikitani, Andrew Grove, Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, Clayton Christensen, Al Ries and Alfred Sloan, along with an emphasis on the application of analytical tools to administrative practices. This course has a strong implementation focus and will teach students competencies and skills that they'll take along with them as their start-ups grow to become large companies. An invaluable course for anyone aspiring to be an efficient CEO/ leader of an organisation.
The University will offer regular open lectures by professors, experts, and key figures. Students are required to attend many of the lectures and submit a write-up describing what they have learned during these lectures. Students will be required to describe the statement of the problem discussed and its significance. And ideally demonstrate how it applied to their company.
In the final part of the year, students will present their startups during a Demo Day to a panel of venture capitalists, business angels, company builders, and accelerators.