SKEMA Business School’s Raleigh campus in the US became the nurturing ground to numerous innovative entrepreneurial ideas at the Bootstrap workshop conducted by SKEMA Ventures from April 16 to 18.
During this three-day event, 14 teams of student entrepreneurs embarked on the journey to transform their business ideas from a concept to structured business models. Philippe Chereau, director of SKEMA Ventures, and Mitchell Weisberg, SKEMA Ventures manager at the Raleigh campus, coached the teams through interactive sessions on developing a business model and a minimum viable product, differentiation from competition, and pitching to investors, among other things.
Igniting the spark
Hands-on coaching provided by the mentors helped students prepare their business pitch, which they had to present on the last day to a jury comprising influential entrepreneurs from the local ecosystem. The Bootstrap workshop culminated with each team pitching to local investors and entrepreneurs.
Before the final presentation, students were able to practice their pitches at HQ Raleigh, a collaborative incubation space that empowers high-impact, high-growth entrepreneurs to create purpose-driven businesses. HQ Raleigh is one of SKEMA Business School’s partners in Raleigh. It has provided the school dedicated office space, which is proving to be perfect for nurturing our aspiring student-entrepreneurs.
The student-entrepreneurs benefitted from recommendations, advice, and networking that will help them as they progress toward building and launching their startups. One of the highlights of the event was guest presentations by successful entrepreneurs: Sunny Su, chief innovation officer at Paradigm Innovation, and Ryan O’Donnell, CEO of EmployUs.
The business ideas presented at the workshop were quite diverse. These included innovative devices for cosmetics, healthy chocolate, an airline, container housing, a business innovation platform, royalty free music, a customized language-learning app, space data marketing, clothing, data marketing, personal document management, and an innovative gardening concept.
The mentors and jury members for the SKEMA Ventures Bootstrap workshop included:
- Philippe Chereau: Director, SKEMA Ventures
- Mitchell Weisberg: Manager, SKEMA Ventures Raleigh and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, SKEMA
- Mohamed Desoky: Associate dean, SKEMA Raleigh
- Gisa Rollin, Director of development, SKEMA Raleigh
- Oussama Ammar: Associate dean – undergraduate programs, SKEMA
- Taylor Meyer: Managing partner, Hyperspace Ventures
- Sue Weems: Business advisor and co-founder/director, Venture Management Inc.
- Tim Rosenberg: Senior Design Manager, Lithios
- Robert Jordan: Business Development, Lithios
- Jessica Jones: Investor
Harindroso Rajaonarison Andriamanga, a student at SKEMA Raleigh who participated in the workshop, said: “It was a wonderful experience; we learned a lot from the coaching and tried to make the best of it.”
Another student, François Osemont, added: “The organization of the Bootstrap workshop in Raleigh was great. I benefitted a lot from it and was able to strengthen the concept of my startup named Dicoti. I am already incubated and registered on SVF Incubation International Campuses.”
The Bootstrap workshop was the final event of the spring semester at SKEMA Raleigh. Other events conducted throughout the academic year included the Startup Kafe, a Guest Entrepreneur Speaker Series, and the formation of the SKEMA Ventures Club of Raleigh.