Congratulations on being selected to take part in the first ever Greenpreneurs program.
The selection competition was fierce but your applications shone through and we are super excited to be working with you.
Here is a summary of the key points from this week’s module:
During this program, you will be using the Lean Startup Methodology to fill in the Social Lean Canvas.
This should put you in a great position to put your well thought out customer tested plan into action at the end of this program.
You have been assigned a program coach who has helped create this program and will answer any administrative or program related questions you might have.
During this module you will choose a mentor who has entrepreneurship experience and can help you with the practicalities of setting up a business.
Each week you will:
Work through a web module which will explain key concepts you need to understand, set tasks for you to complete, and provide links for further reading if you want to deepen your knowledge of a topic.
You will also have sessions with your mentor and program coach (if needed).
Setting the Stage with the Director-General of the Global Green Growth Institute, Dr. Frank Rijsberman
Overview of our approach
The objective of this program is to create new enterprises that help tackle climate, social and environmental problems in unique ways. Your team and business idea has been selected as one of the most promising and we are looking to support you to make that idea a reality.
Over the next ten weeks, we will be using the Lean Startup Methodology to develop, adapt and test your idea. The Lean Startup Methodology is an approach that focuses on building a simple business plan based on testable hypotheses and validating this business plan by testing these hypotheses with customers as you go.
This contrasts with the traditional approach to entrepreneurship where teams used to invest heavily into designing their product and worked in secret to prevent competitors from copying their product. The Lean Startup Methodology has become the standard approach for designing a startup because it is cheaper, quicker, and creates more successful businesses than the traditional model.
Whereas traditional approaches to startups used to create detailed business plans, the Lean Startup Methodology instead captures all the information in a business plan on a single A3 sheet of paper.
Throughout this program, we will be setting you weekly tasks to complete that will help you to fill in this A3 sheet of paper. You will find these tasks, along with the tips and instructions for how to do them in the weekly modules. The idea behind these exercises is that when you complete all of them, you should have all the information needed to present a compelling business case.
For the first seven weeks of this program, you will have structured tasks to complete. In weeks Eight and Nine, you will be able to do further work on any areas of your idea that might require further work, finalize your social lean canvas and prepare a short presentation to be delivered to our judging panel.
We are still finalizing the judging criteria but it will cover the strength of your concept, the evidence you can provide to demonstrate your concept will work, and the strength of your team and supporters.
Program coaches and mentors
You will have support from a program coach during this program. They have probably already reached out to you but if not, they will contact you in the next couple of days. Your program coach will be able to help you with any questions you have about the weekly modules and they will also be able to help you with any logistical issues (e.g. any questions about how the program will run).
As well as a program coach, you will get to choose a mentor in the next section of this module. These mentors have experience running businesses of their own and therefore will be able to help you by sharing experiences from their own journey.
One word of warning before we move on, the Lean Startup Methodology is difficult to apply. You have to go out and talk to people about your idea before it is fully developed. This can be scary. Most people do not like approaching strangers to talk about a product or concept and nobody likes to hear negative feedback.
Even worse, the Lean Startup Methodology demands that you seriously consider this all feedback, including the negative. You do not always have to accept it at face value, but you must be open to refining your idea.
There will probably be times during this program when you will feel some of the exercises will put you out of your comfort zone but we urge you to try and overcome your fear and to complete the task because (1) it will help you grow and (2) because insights you will get from doing these things will be invaluable. But do not worry we understand how hard this can be, so feel free to talk to your coaches and mentors about tricks to help you step out of your comfort zone.
You may also have trouble finding ways to connect to your customers. In these cases, remember that there are over fifity people working on Greenentrepreneurs.
While you our competing against some of these people, it is our hope that all of you will go on to build successful enterprises. We strongly believe that one of the factors that will determine whether this will happen is how well teams support each other. We need to harness everyone’s resources and abilities to make these ideas a success. So we really encourage you to reach out to the other teams when you need help and to help others when you can.
So we have set up a discussion board where you can post requests and respond to others’ requests. We encourage you to check this discussion board regularly.
Finally, there may be times when you find that your team can’t agree about your customer would want or what type of customer would be attracted to your product. In these situations, it is important to go and test the questions you are debating with your customers.
The more general things to consider when selecting a mentor and when building your team are:
What are the skill gaps in your team and who can help you fill them?
Do you think your enterprise mission will resonate with this mentor?
Once you have had a chance to think through these questions please identify your first, second and third choices for your mentor:
While we will do our best to match you with your preferred mentor, it is possible that another team will also want the same mentor so please indicate another couple of mentors you would also be interested to work with:
Defining your purpose
Your purpose is the way that your enterprise will make the world a better place. Although most of you will have a pretty sound idea of what your purpose is in your head, it is worth trying to write a short and simple purpose statement and see whether everyone in your team resonates with it. Your purpose statement should clearly identify the environmental/social problem you are trying to solve, show the future state of the world as you would like to see it and explain how your idea will create this transition.
Your purpose statement is important because it will set out one of your core motivations that everyone in your team holds for working on the project and because it can work as an anchor when you are amending your idea in response to feedback. Although the way you achieve your purpose may change, your purpose itself will usually stay the same.
Use the form below to identify your purpose statement, upon which you will begin to build your company.
creating a team contract
Projects like this take a lot of commitments from the team and there is a lot of potential for conflict to arise.
The best way to address for teams to create a team contract. This contract is not supposed to be a legally binding document (in most cases) it is simply designed to create shared expectations between team members and agreed processes for dealing with disagreements.
It is much better to address these issues before they arise.
Every team is different so it is not possible to specify exactly what your contract should cover but you should consider including:
What is the fundamental purpose of your organization (you can insert your purpose statement from above)
What level of commitment is expect from each team member;
Will the organization be for-profit or not-for-profit;
When will it start to pay salaries;
What type of compensation (e.g. cash, equity, recognition) will team members receive;
What happens if one of the team members can’t or doesn’t meet their commitment;
How can this agreement be reviewed if things don’t progress as expected
If there is a disagreement between team members, how will this be resolved.
interacting with other teams
While this program does have an element of competition embedded in it, it is our hope that all of you will go on to build successful enterprises. We strongly believe that one of the factors that will determine whether this will happen is how well every team works together with the other teams. We need to harness everyone’s resources and abilities to make these ideas a success. Also, we really encourage you to reach out to the other teams when you need help and to help others when you can.
To facilitate this, we have set up a discussion board where you can post requests and respond to others’ requests. We encourage you to check this discussion board regularly.
EXERCISE: TEAM CONTRACT
Dive Deeper Reading List:
Green Entrepreneurship and Green Growth:
- Forget Sustainability: Go For Green Entrepreneurship
- Green Growth Indicators 2017
- Green entrepreneurship: Creating green jobs through sustainable enterprise development (case study of Namibia by the ILO)