According to The Founder Institute, the best way to learn is by doing, and we couldn’t agree more with their experiential approach. Student entrepreneurs who are part of The Founder Institute programming participate in a four-month journey of structured curriculum which includes weekly training courses and business-building assignments.
BioLinc student entrepreneur Lenford Morris (above) recently graduated from the fourth cohort of The Founder Institute’s Toronto program along with 16 other entrepreneurs including Goodman School of Business graduate Alex Fung (BBA ’15).
Morris’s company, LendU, is one of 59 companies to graduate from the Toronto program at large.
“Being in the fourth cohort was a very interesting experience because there was a lot of diversity when it came to people in the program and their professional backgrounds,” Lenford said.
To match the diversity within the program, mentors holding various positions came to hear the cohort pitch their business ventures. Among the mentors were entrepreneurs, CEOs, lawyers, angel investors and venture capitalists.
The intensive program was first started in Silicon Valley and now has chapters all over the world. The Founder Institute walks entrepreneurs through the idea stage to developing a minimum-viable-product and getting customers, a walk that Morris found to be beneficial.
“I benefitted the most from the acceleration process and learning how to validate and test my product offerings,” he said. “The structure of the FI curriculum really pushed my business to new heights by prompting me to ensure what I am offering is a real solution to the problem that I am solving and that the problem is actually a real problem.”
The curriculum started with idea and customer development, then moved to company and team formation, product development and distribution and go-to-market, bootstrapping and fundraising.
Beyond the acceleration process, Morris highly values the peer-to-peer connections he made within the program.
“Being connected with people who shared the same mindset was important because building a startup into a company can really wear you down physically and mentally at times, being around the right people can help point you in the right direction,” he said.
Morris highly recommends the program to anyone who has a startup idea or is ready to start conducting market research.
“The Founder Institute is a good way to help validate and test your idea, and then built it up to its fullest potential,” he said.
Morris has spent the summer on marketing, building his product and raising funds for LendU and is planning on partnering with alumni associations and hiring ambassadors across Ontario to target their customers.
LendU has already accomplished so much this summer and with a number of exciting things ahead, we can’t wait to see the company continue to flourish.
Full list of startup companies that graduated from the fourth cohort of The Founder Institute: http://betakit.com/founder-institute-toronto-graduates-17-new-startups-in-fourth-cohort/