Fifty MBA students took part in the Entrepreneurship and Business/Venture Plan Development Programme at UC Berkeley from 14th to 23rd of July as part of their global experiential learning. Led by the course leader, David Charron, students formed a total of 11 teams to work on their business ideas from scratch, aiming to develop a comprehensive plan for their products in the innovative environment of the bay area. From introduction of Silicon Valley’s innovation and entrepreneurship culture, the programme walked students through the essentials of innovation process with business hypothesis, opportunities recognition and validation. Students had a chance to visit Galvanize with a tour in Ferry Building to learn about different business models in the city's famous landmark. They also visited to Alphabet Energy to learn how the two entrepreneurs Martin Scullin and Adam Lourimer found their ways to success. At the same time, students were encouraged to make used of their weekend at Berkeley and San Francisco to conduct on-site interviews with potential customers to further develop/fine-tune their business models so as to better understand the needs of their future customers and the overall business market.
Students were also introduced to a panel of entrepreneurs from San Francisco who openly shared their business challenges, triumphs and future ventures. Students not only found the discussion fruitful and informative, they also learned the importance of storytelling in attracting venture capital. While the programme ended by a final presentation to a panel of four judges who are all experienced entrepreneurs in town, students spent much time to practice their presentation hoping to deliver their business ideas clearly to their audience. All judges listened to their final deliverable carefully and gave valuable and constructive feedback for each group so that students can continue to work on their ideas after going back home with a greater chance for success. Of the 11 teams giving presentations, the “Red and Green” team had won the “The Best Customer Understanding Award” and the “Big Four” team received “The Best Storytelling Award”.
Same as last year, the programme was well-received by our students who enjoyed their learning experience at UC Berkeley. They all appreciate the invaluable sharing of the guest speakers and experienced entrepreneurs.