If you take a look at this post you can read all about the launch of our Summer Program. We hosted a Startup Day competition where future entrepreneurs came in and pitched their business ideas, and refined these ideas with our team of mentors. At the conclusion of the competition, we decided to select 3 winners from the competition, who became TRAP Stars for the summer. These individuals would receive full-time foundational incubation services throughout the summer.
But, as we stated before, it was really difficult to restrict our time to just 3 individuals, when so many participants in Startup Day exhibited this unquenchable thirst for success.
So, we decided to welcome all participants in Startup Day to a free 6-week entrepreneurial boot camp, the curriculum for which we had been putting together in the lead up to Startup Day.
We started off the summer by bringing our TRAP Stars (those whom the team picked to work with full-time over the summer) and TRAP Affiliates (Participants in Startup Day and everyone we met along the way) into a small group meeting room at the Hartford Public Library.
After this meeting, we all proceeded downstairs for a screening of Jamal Joseph’s Chapter & Verse, a film narrating and illustrating the harsh realities of mass incarceration and the 0 chance society. What the film showed in Harlem is happening in Hartford. The work is urgent, and self-employment can be the key to overcoming the systemic realities of incarceration.
From there, it was all business.
In the following weeks, TRAP Stars & Affiliates would learn about Design Thinking, Branding and Marketing Strategies, Financial Projections, Value Propositions, and Business Models.
Week 1: Design Thinking
To those of you who are unfamiliar, design thinking is a problem solving process that is human-centered and dynamic. Fast Company defines four key elements of Design Thinking: (1) Define the problem, (2) Create and consider many options, (3) Refine selected directions, and (4) Pick the winner & execute. Initially popularized by Stanford’s School of Business, the method has now been widely adopted. We decided to teach this to our TRAP Stars so that they are using the most contemporary product design strategies, and because Design Thinking is truly the method whereby TRAP House has come to exist.
Week 2: Value Propositions & Branding
We then moved from the very general concept of Design Thinking into isolating a unique value proposition relevant to our TRAP Stars & Affiliates’ business ideas. It is this core idea around which a brand can start to form. Many of our clients already have personal brands and ideas akin to value propositions, and here we will begin to translate them into the formal speak of the entrepreneurship community.
Week 3: Market Research
Many of the ideas presented at Startup Day were locally-specific. They arose from observing specific needs that can be met, from talking to neighbors, friends, family, and those living out these needs. In this session of boot camp, we will extend this market research to the Internet and begin to build general profiles on existing markets. From these profiles we will be co-developing marketing strategies with TRAP Stars & Affiliates.
Week 4: Financial Projections
Money is money, we all know that. But there are different kinds of money, different streams of money, and different origins of money. We will go over the best ways to acquire seed funding, the different kinds of seed funding and what that means for our clients’ businesses as they get started. We will also go over how to incorporate, once these revenue streams begin to be established.
Week 5: Business Models
At this stage in the game, TRAP Stars & Affliliates will have isolated value propositions, built a brand around that proposition, conducted market research, and will be equipped with the financial knowledge to get their hustle off the ground and into reality. But first, they will work with the team to put all of this together into a business model and executive summary.
As we progress through boot camp, we will extend the vocabulary of the formal entrepreneurship world to our clients’ so that they are better-equipped to leverage resources from that world.
“Here’s to the Summer of Success” — TRAP House Team