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Open-Source Business Models

Our idea is a social enterprise that tackles the problem of inclusive economic development. We will deliver a platform to individuals and local organisations, that offers a structured startup program, a database of validated business models and local support structures. This combination of elements will lower barriers to entry for potential entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs and improve startup success rates, thereby creating inclusive wealth and jobs.

Photo of Simon Blampied
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Problem:

We face three interrelated problems;

- The rate of job creation cannot keep up with the increasing number of youth entering the workforce.
- We have increasing inequality
- In many parts of the world, the barriers to creating job creating enterprises are too high.

Solution:

A solution needs to:
- Accelerate job creation.
- Create wealth for the individual rather than the corporation.
- Lower barriers to entry for potential entrepreneurs

To do this we have an integrated product offering;

A Structured Startup Program
A Database of validated, innovative business models
Local Support structures

How did we get to this Solution?

Speaking with users, secondary research and organisations in this space.

A structured startup program:

Starting a business is hard and currently there are very few organisations, easily accessible to township entrepreneurs who offer a structured startup program.

This is also a necessary condition for successful implementation of the business models (As we learnt from a potential user)

A database of validated, innovative business models:

Generation Enterprise have found, similarly to South Africa, that many businesses that start are copycat businesses, causing market saturation. This is a method to introduce potential entrepreneurs to new, validated business models, improving their job and wealth creating potential.

This also could be a cheaper alternative to the franchise market for entrepreneurs. Cheaper both in set-up costs (Lean startup methods) and cheaper ongoing “franchise fees”.

Local support structures:

Are key for the continued success of entrepreneurs post-program, as the network lowers the risk of failure and creates a supportive network to act as a safety net if entrepreneurs face setbacks.

How it would work;

There will be 2 major user groups, individuals and organisations. They both could either want to use an individual service or the combination. For some narratives, see here 

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you can access the platform yourself, online, or head to a local internet cafe or organisation to access it (Can have an offline version too). Once individuals have signed-up they will start going through the startup program. First will be validating an idea (Individual Passion, Capability and Market opportunity), then Validating Demand, Setting up an MVP, achieving Stability, then Scaling.
The database of business models will be searchable on a number of criteria including, but not limited to;

Ease of setup
Financial Requirements
Skills base
Prevalent local industries (i.e. agriculture, finance, mining, manufacturing, retail)
Type of municipality (Urban, Peri-Urban, Rural)
Size of City/Town

The business models will be packaged with the start-up process in mind and contain;

- The business model canvas (Lean and Full)
- Possible MVP's
- Financial requirements and models
- Skills and knowledge requirements
- Examples of success and failures

The local support component will either link individuals to local organisations or other entrepreneurs and provide them with a format to setup a support forum. In time we could look at adding education components for the continued business operation.
As an entrepreneur moves through the stages, they will be assisted to provide feedback into system, thereby improving the offering.

Financial Sustainability:

We are currently exploring options by using;

- Access to Finance
- small % of revenue/profit from successful businesses
- Nominal, individually tailored, upront fees + one of above
- Subscription model from local organisations to use the platfom

To start, we are working with local entrepreneurs who are wanting to start businesses, to better understand the best process for them. To build the database we can find existing entrepreneurs in these markets and provide them an incentive to join, as well as work with experienced organisations.  
To understand the progression of the idea from start to finish, the shifts can be found in the updates below in chronological order.

Update (25/08):

Aditya and I have started working on some narratives as well as the user experience map. At the moment, we are refining the target user so we can complete some lightweight experiments.
Our initial thoughts on target user are high-school students, or post-school unemployed youth. I think we may need to define our user by experience level rather than education level, or maybe some combination of both. If you want to get involved, or add some thoughts, feel free to add them below.

Update (27/08):

Aditya and I had an interesting chat on google docs (hangouts wasn't working) we have decided to progress the idea together, but focus on tailoring the idea to each of our contexts. This will be tougher, but we realise the project will better for it.
We will both have some narratives up in the next 12 hours or so. And then start expanding on the user experience.

Update (29/08):
We had a great google hangout today. Both on the same page, excited we are through to the refinement stage and excited to see where we can take this. Unfortunately I (Simon) am away for the next week and will most likely have very limited access to internet. We have uploaded an experience map, not the prettiest thing, but functional. download and make some comments, it would be appreciated. Aditya will answer and comments we receive and spend the week speaking to users to validate and adapt our current plan. I have set-up some focus groups for when I return to Cape Town (8 September).
If you are in the contributing mood, it would be appreciated if you could talk to potential entrepreneurs and current entrepreneurs.

From potential entrepreneurs we want to find out how they would want to interact with this sort of platform and where they need support to become entrepreneurs.

From existing entrepreneurs we would like to know whether they would want to contribute their business model and what they would need in return. As well as, what would they need at the different stages of starting their business.
Chat soon.

Update (09/09):

Simon is back from holiday in Botswana and had an awesome time. Aditya spent the week contacting organisations in New York and is waiting to hear back from them by the end of this week.
We started putting some resources together and started working on a program/resoource structure. See it here
Simon is meeting with some potential users tomorrow, and hopes to start refining the user experience for a specific user after that.
Once we have completed our respective tasks we will start wireframing the website, probably early next week.

Update (10/09):
Spoke with a small business owner today who is looking for opportunities to start more businesses, currently he is only looking at traditional franchising. I pitched him this idea and what he found most alluring was;

1 - Lower upfront costs

2 - Guided Start-up process

3 - Validated business models for his area.
I realise from my conversations with him, that in the marketing of this we will need locals to spread the word and drive the adoption, both of the users and the contributers. These could be area managers and be based in local economic nodes and between the local business centres, chatting to existing and potential entrepreneurs.

Update (13/09):

We had our first Cape Town Meetup on Thursday evening and a couple people chose to contribute feedback on this idea, which I was very grateful for. Below is an image of what we came up with on the constraints, how to overcome the constraints and a potential MVP idea.
The major constraints were; Information and uncertainty overload, Take-up or user adoption and Tangible support
To overcome these;

Information and Uncertainty Overload

- Translate the platform into applicable local languages, this could start with the instructions.

- Ensure at each stage of the process the user is getting the right amount of information to move forward without being overwhelmed.
Take-up or User Adoption

- Partner with local organisations, hubs, incubators, business development centres to use as a channel. This was also the suggested MVP/Lightweight Experiment: Signing these organisations up.
Tangible Support- As the users progress through the start-up phases, ensure they are subscribed to a local peer forum, as well as suggesting local entrepreneurs who could become mentors/advisors.

 

What are the next steps for implementing this idea?

Working with target users who want to start businesses, to better understand the best startup process for them. Planning and implementing a prototype database. Developing a plan for the MVP.

Briefly describe a user scenario which illustrates the specific need that your idea is trying to solve.

Cape Town Narrative (User Description): Sizwe is 22 years old and lives in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Sizwe is bright and driven, but since finishing school he hasn’t been able to go to college or university because his parents couldn’t afford it. In the last 4 years, other than 6 months in an administration role, he has done some informal work like construction and working in his uncle’s shebeen (Township bar/pub), but the income is too irregular and he needs and wants make a better life for himself and his family. // Sizwe, learning from one of his friends from school, approaches one of the many business skills providers, like Business Bridge, the Business Place and Shanduka , but they can’t help him without an idea as they only offer business development and education services for existing business owners. // He hears from a friend at a skills provider about our platform and uses his local internet cafe to have a look. As he gets on to the website he is greeted by a home page with a teaser and the prompt to find out how it works. This simply explains how it works and what his next step is. // The next step is for him to do an introductory survey which details his previous business experience, where he lives and his education experience. He understands that this is necessary to help filter ideas for him. // Once the ideas are filtered on the system Sizwe is offered a choice of packages with the prompt of a commitment device. // Sizwe follows the guidance in the package through the different stages of starting a business, as well as continues to, triggered by a proactive system, access advancing resources. He likes the guidance because it is simple to follow and helps him focus on the most important steps, whilst still doing it all himself. He finds the peer support, with both other local entrepreneurs and others on the platform, very useful. // After a year of working on his business he has decided it is time to further his business knowledge so he can access more finance in order to grow his company. He has adapted the model significantly and has shared his learnings back onto the platform because he wants to pay it forward and help an entrepreneur, just like he was helped. // New York Narratives Below (they were too cluttered together)

Complete a User Experience Map. This will help you visualize how a potential end user will interact with your idea. Once you have completed it, upload it using the Upload File button at the end of this form. PDF files preferred.

  • Completed

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

End-user Benefit: Potential Entrepreneurs - Highly supported during the startup stage. Social Benefit: Local Communities - Through economic growth from and job creation by the potential entrepreneurs. Funder Benefit: The impact of job creation Potentially financial reward (I think this can be profitable by providing access to affordable debt finance) Team Benefit: We get to do something really cool that could have an incredible impact.

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

It will help create employment, and because the youth make up the largest percentage of unemployed, the new jobs created will create opportunities for them. It is also likely that, in the developing world, most of the the potential entrepreneurs will be youth.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Contributors: Determine what existing businesses would need as incentives to participate by asking them to participate. End-users: Start with a focus group for potential entrepreneurs

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Input - Helping to identify the constraints that need to be overcome - Suggestions on the MVP - General Idea Critique - Other Skills - At some point we will need some Dev work done to create the platform (But that is still a way off) - Someone with expertise in Social Finance to add their weight to the idea that you could be sustainable, perhaps even profitable, using access to finance as your revenue source? - Anyone with local knowledge to critique the idea with your lens.

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation
View more

Team (3)

Simon's profile
Aditya's profile
Aditya Brahmabhatt

Role added on team:

"Welcome to the team :)"

Michael's profile
Michael Kuntz

Role added on team:

"Michael is President and COO of Generation Enterprise and wants to collaborate on building the database. Generation Enterprise currently partner with at-risk youth (unemployed or underemployed) in underdeveloped and impoverished urban areas to launch community businesses capable of creating ten or more decent, sustainable jobs for their peers."

Attachments (1)

Experience Map - OSBM Cape Town.pdf

OSBM Experience Map - Cape Town

83 comments

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Spam
Photo of Scott Sloan
Team

Simon,

I am working with the Business Place in Phillipi and I am interested in your idea. Can we meet to have a chat about where you are currently at?

Scott
scottysloan@gmail.com

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Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

This sounds great Simon! How is it going? Are you going further with it?

Spam
Photo of April Finney
Team

How is this project getting on? I would be interested to follow its success

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Simon. How is it going? I am doing some research for the Zero to Five Challenge and I came across a South African Program that uses SMS messaging as a resource to share tools and to teach skills to budding entrepreneurs in South Africa. The parent company is One Global Economy.
One Global Economy ( a non profit working with low income communities to use technology to improve their lives.)

"One Global Economy has adapted to serve the enormous market of mobile phone users in developing countries. The South Africa Mobile Entrepreneurs program offers business information and financial literacy tips to small scale entrepreneurs over text messages."
Here is their digital platform http://southafrica.thebeehive.org/
http://southafrica.thebeehive.org/content/372/400 Includes build a business plan, a link to join their entrepreneur program, a tool for resume writing etc.
https://www.globalgiving.org/pfil/14801/projdoc.pdf

I am not sure if you knew about the company so I thought I would share it.
Potential partner? Also the BeeHive online platform is global - it is up in several other African countries, in English and the local languages. Might this might be a way to scale your idea by sharing a link, once you get it up and running?

http://oneglobaleconomy.org/our-work/success-stories/sosthenestory/

Spam
Photo of April Finney
Team

that would be a great partnership

Spam
Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Congrats guys!
Loving the sound of open source by itself.

Spam
Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Simon and Aditya, it's been really exciting to see this idea grow! Can't wait to see where it goes.

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Photo of Tom Christensen
Team

Well, look what you and your team did!!! Awesome! I suspect there is a lot of work ahead, but don't let that put a shadow on how big a deal being a winner among all these great ideas is! Already you are leaving an impressive trail. Onward!!!

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Tom :)

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Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Congratulations Simon ... Looking forward to some awesomeness...

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Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Simon, I echo Wekesa's congratulations! Looking forward to seeing what's next for this awesome product.
All best,
Leigh

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Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Congratulations, Simon!

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Wekesa, Leigh and Alex, and congratulations to you too! :) Really love the direction you've taken. At some point, when my life is a little more normal, I will take a full read through of your doc and see where I can't add some value.

Wekeza, what did you think of the ashoka hangout?

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Photo of Stephan Dietrich
Team

Hello Simon, as I understand your scenario, you will act as intermediate between global investments firms and local entrepreneurs in search for capital. Can you explain, how you are going to differentiate your service from the usual incubators? What marketing strategy are you aiming for? Can you name a few strategies, which differentiate the marketing strategy of your own idea from the entrepreneurs you are mainly aiming for?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Stephan, think of it more as a structured startup program, where the participants choose a business model they would like to startup. Access to finance channels will be available, but isn't the core of the idea. The service will be differentiated by its structure and content.
I'm unsure of your marketing strategy questions, but now that you have this information, what marketing strategy would you suggest?

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Photo of priyanka botny
Team

Simon,
How about helping a team here with a business model? All the teams here are similar to startups. There are so many strategies in marketing eg. gamification is the new marketing strategy and is said to be no. 1 by 2018. What do u think about other strategies and integration in the OSBM?

People will be ready to accept it when it is practiced and devised well. Take a look at 7 domain analysis. It is more like a business model or many be a business model.
Love your introduction of new concepts and great thinking.
Pri

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi. Are you considering literacy and numeracy skills as you think about building your platform? The scenarios are great. They give a feel as to what you expect will happen. The users appear to be highly motivated and very capable. They also have only a high school degree. The average American adult reads at the 8th grade level. In the inner cities 2/5 adults are below 5th grade reading level. Will your platform include support services for those folk who want to start their own business, are motivated self starters with ideas, but due to poor educational opportunities lack basic skills?

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Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

Hey Bettina
The idea is to create a repository of resources and become a connector, leveraging existing resources and connecting them to people in need. As such our focus is on building partnerships through which we can reach out to different demographics. What do you think would be the best way to reach out to the demographic you mentioned? How do we reach out to these people? Are there any organizations that these people connect to? These are some questions we need to answer. Your inputs will be very helpful : )

So the focus is on building partnerships and connecting, thereby giving us the freedom to scale and reach out to different demographics.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Aditya.
Thanks for the info. Great approach. I think there might be formal organizations and informal community gathering spots. One approach would be more formal and the other more about feet on the ground. Not sure which way you want to go but feet on the ground might lead you to some local leaders that you might not otherwise find?
A few thoughts -
1)http://ehbcc.org/wordpress/ East Harlem Economic Development Corp.
Organizations like this can be a good place to start to share your platform and to gather information on where else to do so.
2) Faith based leaders. There are many. Perhaps share the idea with them. Might they invite community members who can benefit from your platform for a meet and greet? Sometimes these organizations are linked together as well.
2) Approach community members where they spend time with recreation? Basketball courts, soccer fields? Are there leagues in the community? There might be. An informal approach but might be a way to connect as well.
3)Approach GED programs.
4) http://grameenamerica.org/
Grameen has an office in Jackson Heights, Queens. Have you been to Jackson Heights? It is a very multicultural community. Lots of languages spoken here and variable levels of literacy in all these different languages.
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/04/01/nyregion/0401-GRAMEEN_index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/29/business/microcredit-for-americans.html?pagewanted=1&hp
Grameen might be an interesting place to have a conversation about your platform and they might have ideas of where to connect in the community.

I will try to think of some other connectors.....
Hope that is somewhat helpful.

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Check out the Robin Hood Foundation and the organizations with youth services they fund. http://www.robinhood.org/

Henry Street Settlement - Great organization on the Lower East Side. Check out what they are currently doing around youth employment. Can your platform integrate with youth services in an organization such as this?
http://www.henrystreet.org/programs-age/teens.html

Spam
Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

Bettina, this is amazing stuff! I will spend this next entire week,following up on each one of these resources. thank you so much!
Feet on the ground seems like the more effective option. I really like the idea of connecting to GED programs as a way to connect to people outside of a traditional schooling system. I truly believe in the power of informal approach as we often tend to forget our users are human beings just like us and you can learn a lot about them if you just spoke to them as a friend. Will definitely look to Grameen to provide further direction on this. The Greenpoint Center looks amazing, a great place for us to test out some of our assumptions and very strong potential partners.

Thank you for opening up so many doors : )

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi. I was editing the Greenpoint Center comment and deleted it. Here it is back up.

Aditya,
Unrelated to the above but related to your idea in general:
Check out this amazing organization - The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center. It is a non profit that rehabs buildings and subdivides the spaces which they then lease out (long term) at lower than market rents to small niche manufacturers. I visited one of their buildings in East Williamsburg. I attended a tour with a group called Open House New York. The GMDC directors spoke about their mission and we visited some of the businesses. There are several young entrepreneurs who have space there. I wonder if the entrepreneurs would benefit from your platform either before they get to this point of leasing space, or even as they expand their businesses. One business we visited has expanded while in tenancy there. He currently employs 50 workers and is in the process of taking over more space. The idea here is to keep manufacturing in the city as a way to keep good jobs here. About 40% of the workers in their buildings either did not graduate from high school, have a high school diploma or a tech school diploma. Although not the business owners these businesses provide very good jobs for a variety of people. The whole enterprise was inspiring. Tenants that are in your target age group might be a good group to get some feedback from as you build your platform. I wonder if the workers would be interested in hearing about your platform as well.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/nyregion/small-factories-thrive-in-brooklyn-replacing-industrial-giants.html?hpw&_r=0
http://www.gmdconline.org/

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Happy to help! I have been working in underserved neighborhoods in NYC for a long time and find a strong sense of community in these neighborhoods. There are extended families living close by, neighbors looking out for each other, lots of informal connections. If you are interested in feet on the ground you might want to target some barber shops and hair salons - there is always conversation going on in those businesses.
Another idea as you move forward is to speak to someone in The Borough President's Office for each borough. They might have connections to local leaders or programs that can help you as well.

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Bettina, thanks so much for all your input :)

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Sure!

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

This might interest you both.
https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-usa/home

At the bottom right corner of the page see this:
New "JA Company Program" Gives Teens 21st Century Entrepreneurial Experience - Junior Achievement USA®, in partnership with The Hartford, unveils its reimagined JA Company Program..

Spam
Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Awesome job Simon and Aditya.

I have a proposition for the team -

Invitations to join in a Webinar & Twitter Chat 9/17
" Collaborating to Solve Youth Employment"

#AfricaYouthFwd #SocEntChat

http://www.changemakers.com/futureforward/blog/webinar-twitter-chat-917-collaborating-solve-youth-empl-0

* Let's showup and engage the audience with our findings and possibly seek feedback

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Wekeza, proposition accepted :)

Spam
Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Excited to hear how the webinar went!
+ Simon and Aditya great job with the latest update on user insights + great job with the Cape town Meetup.

Spam
Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Hi Luisa, its happening September 17th .. You are welcomed to be part of it.. Some social listening.. Am keen to see how the twitter chat will go, we (u or/and Simon) can contact the hosts to setup a feed back loop or jus joining in and find out what people feel bout over work

Spam
Photo of Jennifer Fong
Team

Hi Simon! I love your idea to inspire future youth entrepreneurs! Do you see funding for youth ideas being a part of your model?

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Jennifer, Thanks and sorry for the delay. I think funding might become a necessary part of the model as we build out the platform, but what we will do in the early stages is leverage off existing finance providers in the region. I think we may eventually be able to make this sustainable through offering financial tools. What do you think? Should we do it, can we do it?

Also thought, based on cooking with mama, you might be interested in this local cooking school - http://www.ictchefs.org/ :)

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Cool idea Simon!
Perhaps you can include links to websites of possible grant makers for funding sources? Maybe your model can include information on funding that users post to share with others who use your site?
ex: http://womensnet.net/about-us/

Have you considered bringing this idea to youth via programming in schools or summer programs? Might be a great opportunity to teach them about building a business in a fun group setting - getting them ready for their real world needs...

I wonder if involving youth in the design process of this project/website/offline materials might make them more accessible/user friendly and fun for them to use? I also wonder if a website might have different portals for different age users - high schoolers might respond to one approach and 23 year olds might respond to a different approach - by approach I mean how you present the material - what is the hook that keeps them looking? What examples are used that invites their attention - things like that. This age group 16 - 24 is broad enough that they self identify differently. They all need work but bringing them to the conversation and keeping them there might require different approaches. What do you think?

Great idea. Good luck developing it!

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Bettina,

A resource bank of funders, funding channels and methods to access funding is definitely on the cards.

Aditya is looking into incorporating it into schools. In SA, this isn't as impactful in the short-term as targeting post-school youth and will be much harder to diffuse into the education system. But will definitely keep it in mind as we proceed forward.

Involving youth in the design process is a great idea. So far I have been speaking to organisations that work with youth, but we are moving into conducting some primary research with youth soon and engaging them more from there.

We will definitely need different hooks. Instead of age, I was thinking of using business experience as the main segmenter, thoughts?

For example: In SA 75% of 18-30 year-olds have never worked before, so content that hooks them will be different to content that hooks the 25% who have worked before and the % of those who have worked that have studied before etc.

So I agree, each segment will need different hooks. I will bring that into the user experience i develop, Thanks! :) If you have any thoughts now, or when that goes up, please feel free to contribute.

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Congrats on getting shortlisted Simon and Aditya!
Do you have more stats on the 75% of youth 18 - 30 in South Africa who have never worked? Have they worked informally? off the books? What per cent have finished high school and what per cent college? Are many high school drop outs?
I think your idea to segment based on previous work experience is interesting and agree that work experience itself will distinguish groups in terms of their skills and probably also idea generation re: businesses that they are dreaming up - but not completely in this regard. The groups will need different supports.

The idea to segment based on age is more one of where they are at developmentally, as well as self perception. An 18 year old who has just finished school and is eager to work will not have the same cynicism and crushed spirit as someone 10 years older who has been defeated by the system time and again. Is there a way to preserve this optimism within your product? Also interests, images, goals are different. This age group is still thinking short term - it is part of adolescence. On the other hand a 30 year old, at least in America, does not consider him/herself in the same generation as an 18 year old and may not appreciate a product that targets them side by side. Might be interesting to talk to some of each age group to find out what they think distinguishes them from each other and build in some of those characteristics into the design of the portals and the marketing as well. Youth in their mid 20s see themselves being in a different life stage from teens. From a larger perspective they might be lumped as part of the same generation but on a day to day basis, kid by kid, they do not want others to diminish their different paths at that moment. It might be that being unemployed and on the path to entrepreneurship overrides their perceived differences and unites them in self perception. Don't know. Something interesting to think about.

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Bettina, thanks for these thoughts, will definitely include them. If you want to see more stats on the youth unemployed check out the table at the bottom of this page - https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-employment-pathways/research/rolling-the-dice-in-south-africa and if you would like some more info, feel free to send me an email, contact details are on my linkedin profile :)

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

thanks for the link.

Spam
Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

Great idea Simon. I believe that encouraging entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to get ahead of this challenge of unemployment. Through this we would be providing people everywhere with basic well-defined tools to start their own businesses. Maybe you could then connect to local organizations, where the end-users could go to physically for help, like micro-loan institutes, to understand the financing. Through the website we could also connect people to local businessmen, so that they learn from real world examples. The website could serve as a hub of resources, added to by local knowledge.
I guess engaging with the community of users would be one of the challenges, how do we reach them?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Aditya, Exactly that :)

I think the most effective way to reach them is possibly through local organisations, or through large organisations, both corporates and NPO's who have broad reach and can help spread the message?

We can reach the large organisations ourselves, but perhaps we employ people per country/region to spread the message to local organisations.

Thinking we could have a map that tracks all the places you can access the platform and get support. This helps individuals find support and helps us track where the gaps are?

Thoughts?

ps want to join the team and help me refine this?

Spam
Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

To aid it, maybe one of the first business model packages you roll-out is a training/resource centre, so you know there will be organisations set-up to help spread the message.

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Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

Would love to help! How about adding universities to that list? We can definitely add corporates and NGOs to reach to the users. I guess a good way to refine this would be to do the User Experience Map. Lets give it a shot and we can share and discuss. my email is adbrahm@nyu.edu.

Spam
Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to hear you guys are planning to collaborate – here on OI or directly via email, etc. Tip: Simon, if you add Aditya to your OpenIDEO Team officially – he'll start getting email notifications on all comments here. We're seeing this new feature create a lot of traction for teams on other posts and are amped to see how things go here...

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Photo of Jason Rissman
Team

Thrilled to see so much collaboration and iteration to help bring this idea to life! One idea: does the small business administration or business brokerages offer similar tools for franchise opportunities that you could learn from?I imagine it wouldn't be as comprehensive as what you're envisioning, nor as open source, but perhaps something to learn from or someone to partner with.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Jason, Great ideas.

1. Partnering with local resources like the SBA will be incredibly efficient when offering business support :)
2. I think franchise opportunities and business brokerages are potentially useful, depending on the end-user. Buying into existing businesses needs a certain amount of business acumen and capital, thus good opportunities exist under certain circumstance. Thoughts?
3. I think learning methods from franchising consultants will be incredibly useful as we try to create a business model in a box.

Definitely will add these thoughts into the progression of the idea. Thanks for sharing.

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Photo of Andrew Martz
Team

I developed a basic framework for the application of the Open Innovation model.

In addition to the ideas presented here, there is even more opportunity to apply an Open Innovation platform to business model development.


My idea to create youth employment is in three parts:

This is a hybrid concept, organized around the prevention of Malaria infection.

Demand / Problem: Malaria is a recognized private and public health problem. There is a globally recognized need to minimize and eliminate malarial infection to improve human health in infected areas. Chemically treated mosquito nets are one of the most effective and immediate solutions for preventing malaria. However, production costs, distribution, and public education are ongoing challenges. Distribution is largely dependent on Intergovernmental organizations and charities. Engagement of the private sector remains an ongoing challenge in the distribution chain.

Supply / Solution: The idea combines open source product design, business entrepreneurship training, and youth owned businesses in manufacturing, sales, and distribution to supply a needed solution.

1. Open Source Product Design. Part One is a design contest for developing a low cost, long-lasting, and easy to use mosquito net for use in areas infected with Malaria. The campaign tackles the problems of producing low cost mosquito nets with appropriate design for those who live in urban areas, remote villages, or nomadic environments, by using an open innovation platform to capture and utilize ideas from those who have practical knowledge and experience in regions where people live with Malaria, and also from those whose design expertise may be particularly suited to address this problem.

2. Business Entrepreneurship Training. Part Two is the development of a low cost business entrepreneurship program for youth. This tackles the problem of youth underemployment, by creating youth employment opportunity, through utilizing the tools of micro-lending, teaching business entrepreneurship, and helping interested young people learn to start a new businesses. It creates opportunity for private ownership, responsibility, and private incentives to protect, build, and grow a business with well-designed, functional product that meets a proven need.

3. Manufacturing, Sales, & Distribution. Part Three is the implementation of youth-owned, product manufacturing, sales, and distribution businesses. This tackles the problems of product manufacturing, sales, and distribution of mosquito nets, by placing ownership in the hands of invested community members, rather than a centralized distributor, NGO, or Agency. It creates youth employment opportunity, provides practical experience, manufactures and distributes appropriately designed mosquito net technology in malaria infested environments, teaches responsibility and reward, improves the quality of life for both the sellers and the buyers, and addresses a much needed public health problem.

By orienting the opportunity toward a public health need, with obvious and proven demand, the energies of underemployed youth are assembled and organized to improve the lives of the youth themselves, with the added benefits of improving the communities in which they live.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Andrew, that reminds me of Dharma Life (Only an openly innovative version) - http://dharma.net.in/

The one question I have is, don't quality and affordable mosquito nets already exist?

Then if they do, maybe it would be possible to do step 2 and 3. Then we could build an openly accessible business model around selling the mosquito nets.

Thoughts?

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Photo of Michael Kuntz
Team

Hi Simon, I love the idea and work you've done. A question for you: is your objective to create micro-enterprises (a few employee operations) or SMEs?

My own organization has been working to develop youth entrepreneurs for several years and is considering a pilot of a similar, open-sourced business-in-a-box approach. The reason for this shift from allowing the participants in our program to develop their own businesses in a vacuum is that we've found most the businesses they develop to be copy-cat businesses that already saturate the market. They view the presence of these businesses as an indicator of their success, not a sign of saturation.

A second issue relates to the education/skill-set of the entrepreneur. Our mission is to provide a path for BoP youth to be leaders in their communities through entrepreneurship. The outcome that represents this goal is having a business with 10+ employees (no longer a micro-biz but a small-biz). We're finding that education levels are strong indicators of potential to achieve this feat. Most of our BoP youth have secondary educations at most; that proves to be a challenge in the planning and operating a business.

Thirdly, an early post in this thread asked whether the entrepreneurs were by necessity or choice? We've seen, and research has shown, that this aspect is significant in determining their likelihood of success. Reinvestment in the business, planning for longer-term asset accumulation and growth, and concentration of focus (as opposed to diversification across several ventures) are necessary to grow a business. Entrepreneurs by necessity often don't exhibit those behaviors.

I'd love to connect offline and chat more. Feel free to read up on our own experience at www.generationenterprise.org.

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Photo of Pankaj Parajuli
Team

Hey Simon,

I thought you might find this information helpful. We ran numbers on small scale Vermi composting business.

Table 1 -- Initial Investment

Particulars -Amount (Rs)
Plastic sheet - 240
Bamboo fencing - 2000
Earth worms - 24750
Total - 26990

Table 2: Yearly Income Statement

Particulars - Amount (Rs.)
Sales - 48000

Variable Costs
Cow Dung - 9600
Labour - 9600
Total - 19200

Contribution Margin - 28800

Fixed Cost: Depreciation 450

Net Profit - 28350

With these numbers, we figured out that it would take us 5 years to receive of money back if (i) 4/10 farms we trained are successful and (ii) we charge them 10% of profits.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks for these pankaj :)

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Michael,

Our goal is SME's. I'm keen to have a more in depth chat offline, because I tend to agree with your points.

1 - I think exposing entrepreneurs to "blue ocean" business models and giving them an opportunity focus

2 - I agree with you that education level is important. I'm also keen to explore other metrics to predict entrepreneurial success. Check out http://awethuproject.co.za/

3 - Choice, or opportunity focus will be key. I don't think necessity and choice are mutually exclusive though.

Looking forward to that email.

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Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hey Guys, love the idea of entrepreneurial resources for youth! Are your target users more needs-based entrepreneurs?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Dave :)

Target user will be people looking for an idea to start a business, this looks different in different contexts, but in SA we will start with opportunity driven entrepreneurs who haven't been given sufficient opportunity to develop their business skills and knowledge, but we wont be focusing on survivalist businesses.

Thoughts?

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Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Got ya. I'm actually looking for solid numbers concerning success rates of entrepreneurs with various levels of education attainment. I have heard that <10% of entrepreneurs have less than a bachelor's.

What I'm really interested in is what percentage of founders of venture-backed projects have less than a bachelor's. I'm also working on products that prepare youth for entrepreneurship, but not sure if I'd suggest for them to invest 100% time/effort into a startup without first getting a little schooling. While there are some great college dropout corner cases, the odds of replicating their results are astronomical. What were you thinking in terms of entrepreneurial + learning path alternatives ? Bootstrap a project on the side while in school; being an intrapreneur; etc.?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Think the first thing is to agree on what is defined as an entrepreneur?
I define it as someone who starts a business with some (Uncertain) time in the future, where if successful you are a business owner, not an entrepreneur. Maybe the cutoff is time, or post profit or consistently cash flow positive, not too sure yet. Thoughts?

Also, context is different, only 16% of South African's between 15-24 get to tertiary education. Only 1,7% of our population have a degree.

So % of entrepreneurs in this country with less than a bachelors will be the majority. (I will look for more details)

% of venture backed with less than a bachelors, not sure, but think it will be the minority. (I will look for more details)

Re the getting tertiary schooling and/or experience before entrepreneurship would be great, but it isn't a possible reality in this country for all individuals.

I agree with you though that getting someone to commit 100% of their time without thinking it through would be foolish, but i try default to paternalistic libertarianism, so I think helping someone through (Rather than telling them) that decision would be necessary and valuable. (You may enjoy this post - https://medium.com/my-thoughts-7/the-product-spectrum-bb2084b6f5b3).

Having said that, putting in milestones for them to set for themselves could be a good way to ease them into it. i.e.
- Proof of concept
- MVP (90% failure from here)
- Pilot (80% failure here)
- Profit (50% failure here)
- Cash Flow positive (20% failure from here)

Could help them breakdown how much time they should be investing versus the risk factor (Guesstimated in brackets).

That will help individuals, whether unemployed, studying, working, decide on when and how much to commit to projects.

Would love your thoughts on this, also not sure I got everything that you were asking. Keen to chat about it off platform to get more detailed if you would like.

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Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hey Simon!

I'm struggling with the same thing with my "kinerpreneur" products, which I'm trying to design as a suitable entrepreneurial guide for kids. I'm trying to come up with a "what is an entrepreneur" definition for my target users. What I'm currently leaning toward is:

"Entrepreneurs are people who sell products or services all on their own."

From there, I'm thinking about giving a few examples like:

"If you make cookies at home and sell them to your friends at school, you're an entrepreneur"

"If you get together with your friends and sell car washing services to your neighbor, you and your friends are entrepreneurs"

etc.

What interests me is the possible dialogue I could create for those "kinderpreneurs" to kind of graduate to "junior entrepreneurs" in high school/college toward products like yours. That's where I'm thinking may be a good place to provide clear distinction between need based entrepreneurship and venture-backed based entrepreneurship.

Let's definitely keep each other in the loop! I can see how your project can benefit mine from a product aspect, and my project can benefit yours from a channel/distribution aspect. Let's keep in touch!

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

So i prefer to define an entrepreneur, not by the fact of being self-employed, but rather they are people who take a business from idea to stability, through the validation and beta stages. Thoughts?

keen to stay in touch.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Nice work on the Capetown Meetup, Simon! You might want to think about adding members from that to your OpenIDEO Team. That way folks will continue to be part of the conversation on this idea via getting email notifications on comments here. We've seen this recent notification feature really nurture healthy conversations across ideas on this challenge. Bring on the collaboration...

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks :) Will work on it.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to see you make a fab start on Refinement, Simon. Your scenario really brings your thinking to life (and nice work on figuring out the // workaround to make up for our current limitation on paragraph spacing in the answer section on additional questions!) As you think further about how to explain your awesome idea, you might also consider creating some User Experience Maps for individual user journeys through your idea. More tips here: https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/4d9f8db8-8d5e-4331-ab6c-4d44cc659589.pdf We're looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Meena, Working on it this week.

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Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Some areas of focus for potential impact -https://mentor.mara.com/10-business-ideas-to-start-up-in-africa/?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C1005440445

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Photo of Aditya Brahmabhatt
Team

Thanks for the link Wekesa.
This will help us further down when we create the database of business models.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Also found this - http://www.foundation-development-africa.org/africa_business_opportunities/home_businesses_smme.htm which could be helpful.

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Photo of Luisa Fernanda
Team

Simon and Aditya,
Is great to see you collaborate and develop this idea. Aditya as you conduct interviews this week it will be interesting to learn what are common challenges that young entrepreneurs face. You might want to compare if these issues are different in NYC than in Cape Town and brainstorm on ways that this platform can support young entrepreneurs tackle these challenges. Looking forward to learning what you find out this week,

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Photo of Stephan Dietrich
Team

Are manufacturers also integrated or is this idea just for entrepreneurs and financiers?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Stephen, How would you suggest we integrate manufacturers?

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Photo of Stephan Dietrich
Team

As entrepreneur, I am always looking for people who can also make things and products. For example the very small, but highly specialized companies in rural areas, which are still running but not with 100%. You could for example test their interest in such activities, wether as part of the network or as client for your service, but then with constant orders.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Definitely. I think it will be encourages on a local and then network scale. i.e. one of the business models could be "Find local producers and see if you can become a retail/sales/distribution partner". Is that what you had in mind?

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Photo of Stephan Dietrich
Team

My initial 'wording' was more directed towards smaller manufacturers with difficulties in getting orders and networking contacts. Finding local producers is in need for people for example with the contacts or connections, basically more service oriented than just offering platforms. This would be for example more difficult than simply spotting or sharing. Approaching local producers would need a very different approach, than just offering a partnership, since this is one of the greater problems with the business models today, especially the uncooperative communication. If I have a look into my emails for example, more than 80% of the service mails from company based on these partnership models can be rated as counterproductive and negative.

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Photo of Rehmah Kasule
Team

Simon,
It seem like expect Europe where they have more old people and less young people, the rest of the world has more young people who can't be taken into the work force. Real challenge. Just for clarity when you say there are inequalities, do you mean based on gender or age. Otherwise, Great ideas here, when you start building the data base and you need successful business ideas from Africa, I will be happy to avail them to you. Another question, how does the project get revenue for sustainability?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Rehmah, Thanks for the input :)

When I was talking about inequalities, I meant based on income. i.e in South Africa, we have incredibly high income inequality - check out this map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2014_Gini_Index_World_Map,_income_inequality_distribution_by_country_per_World_Bank.svg which means we need to create wealth creation opportunities for the currently disenfranchised.

Thanks for the offer, can I include you on the team to keep you in the loop?

re sustainability, we need to work on a model, I have a couple thoughts;
- Access to Finance
- Subscription model from local organisations
- small % of revenue/profit from successful businesses
Do you have any thoughts on sustainability?

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Photo of Pankaj Parajuli
Team

hey simon,

In terms of sutainibility, when I tried to do open business plan for vermi-compost which has an increasing market here, and charged the successful enterprises 10% of their profit...it still took about 5 year just to get the money i spent on training farmers. Might need to look at other avenues.

Cheers,
Pankaj

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Pankaj, thats very useful.

Interested in a few things;
1 - How many farmers did you train? - i.e. would it have been better if there were more (And how many more would you have needed)
2 - If we assume advanced training is consumed (and paid for) separately in my model, would the model be sustainable then?
3 - What about charging a smaller % of revenue once they are cash-flow positive? Could that work? As a related question, how long did it take them to get cash-flow positive?

There are a lot of details in there, so happy to take this convo off platform if it it easier for you to answer?

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Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Simon, Your idea caught my eye. A really cool, modern idea! Looking forward to seeing how you develop this out.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Leigh :)

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Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Hey Simon.. I like this line of thought.. Open source business models.. :)..
Am curious, are u to set up a link with communities that need this models for there venture then u develop for them?

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hi Wekesa, Thanks for the curiosity :)

My thought is to set-up the links with communities, and let them choose and develop what they want if they want, I don't plan to develop the businesses for them. I'm thinking that if they need help in developing the business we will be able to direct them to local organisations who focus on doing that work.

I'm interested in what triggered that question? Do you see a potential constraint, or have a perspective that you would like to share?

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Photo of Janet Rodriguez
Team

this is really great! It reminds me of a startup I recently came across: Business on Market St. They are focusing on developing college students and are partnering them with startups/smaller business who may not have the resources to develop business plans. I love that through their learning and development they are contributing to and helping develop the local economy.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Thanks Janet. If you have more info on them and how they do their thing I would appreciate the share :)

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great thinking, Simon! For some additional fine-tuning of your awesome early-thought-starter post here, you might consider updating your Summary description so folks quickly understand what you're suggesting. Something we'd encourage you to think about is how you might update your Summary to encapsulate what your idea actually entails briefly and clearly.

Here's a template if you need some help, though feel free to come up with your own clarifying sentence structure.

Our idea is a_________________ [campaign/app/service/program/online platform/toolkit/social enterprise/etc.] that tackles the problem of _____________[the issue being addressed ] by __________[what your idea looks like in practice].

To further help folks here grasp how this idea could play out, we'd recommend you have a go at creating and sharing an Experience Map: http://ideo.pn/oi-ex-map

And as you think further about lightweight experiments for this – you may consider some early explorations with tools like Google Drive. Check out how Tom Hulme (OpenIDEO co-founder) used Google Drive to crowdsource a selection of useful tools for start-ups: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-01/13/useful-tools-for-startups Could also be interesting to drill down on defining your intended audience for this idea. How much prior knowledge would they need about what a business model is and how it can help them on their road to entrepreneurship? Depending on how widely you want to cast your net may shape how much introductory style resources you might include vs a more targeted offering which assumes folks already know how to jump in and start using the information you've outlined so far.

Excited to see where this idea heads!

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Sounds great, Simon. Hope you don't mind that I used my Community Manager super powers to shift your take on the template up into your Summary section (above the image) so you start by briefly explaining the essence of the idea. I moved what was there down to the Description area – though feel free to shift around further as you see fit!

Sounds like it could be interesting for you to think about next steps in terms of lightweight experiments – especially those that put some potential end users into the picture so you can iterate based on what you learn from their desires, needs, barriers, motivations, etc. Here's some tips: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type Looking forward to hearing how things go!

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Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
Team

Simon, I like it. Your platform could even water down 10Ks and Qs for a younger audience to give them an idea of how public company business plans look.

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Photo of Simon Blampied
Team

Hey Aditya, Just for clarity, what is a Qs?