Helping entrepreneurs ideate, innovate and launch businesses that make an impact
The Institute for Entrepreneurship is proud to have student participants that represent each college at CSU.
The Venture Validator is a free, month-long program where entrepreneurs meet once per week to test out their new business concepts. With the support of seasoned mentors and coaches, students conduct customer discovery and market research, create a business model, analyze their competitive landscape, protype products and ultimately pitch their ideas with the goal of launching successful ventures.
This intensive process is a necessary step in the entrepreneurship experience and ultimately sets businesses up for success, providing the knowledge needed to grow a venture while avoid common pitfalls and frustrations.
The Venture Validator is led by people who have been through the real-world trials of creating and running their own companies. Their experience and insights will help you grow your business as they provide the tools, resources, and guidance you need to be successful. Institute for Entrepreneurship mentors help deliver this interactive workshop.
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Why do you need market validation?
What feels worse than spending a couple thousand dollars on a business idea you created only to find out it doesn’t work, or that it already exists? Not much. This workshop is specifically designed so that feeling can be avoided at all costs!
Starting a business is hard and requires a lot of research and planning before an idea can come to life. By interviewing potential customers, identifying problems in the product, and analyzing the current competition, major issues than can lead to the early demise of a company can be avoided.
Topics covered during the workshop include:
Identifying Problems to Solve and Creating Your Solution
What is the issue you see a need to fix or an opportunity to make better, and why is your creative solution the right answer? Answering these questions and explaining your product or service in a way that’s easily understood is essential to reaching your target customers.
Conducting Customer Discovery
There’s no way around it, you need to get out there and physically talk to your potential customers. Connecting with people who experience the problem you are attempting to fix can provide invaluable information as you work to launch your venture.
Understanding Your Customers
Knowing exactly who you are targeting with your product allows you to put yourself in their shoes while developing your business. A product geared towards a stay-at-home mom or dad may have different properties than a product geared towards a retired couple or a recycling fanatic living downtown in a large city. This will also help you to figure out who is not your customer.
Creating a Business Model
This is a way to figure out exactly who benefits from your product, how you will ultimately make money to sustain your business, and what separates your venture from the competition.
Analyzing Your Competitive Landscape
It’s important to understand the other companies that are in the same field as you, or that serve the customers who you are targeting. You can learn from these companies to help determine what you will need to do to make your business different.
Building Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Creating an MVP does not have to involve a lot of money, labor, or be a technological feat. It just means creating a basic model of the product you want to develop to see how your idea functions in the real-world. Building your MVP is the critical first step in protyping. Many problems can be identified and fixed in this stage and save you lots of time and money further down the road in protyping.
Formulating Your Pitch
At the end of the four-week workshop, students bring together all of the validation concepts to create the first rendition of a cohesive business pitch. You'll be provided with feedback on your business idea, ensuring your concept is well thought out and easily understood as you move forward with development.
Completion of this course also gives our student entrepreneurs access to additional resources offered by the Institute for Entrepreneurship, such as continuing programming, mentorship, opportunities to secure capital, and connections to industry experts.