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Draper University in Silicon Valley School Uses Unconventional Methods to Train Future Entrepreneurs
Silicon Valley, USA, Nov 28, 2016: Many future entrepreneurs first attend university and business school. In Silicon Valley, though, a place that celebrates innovation, there is a school aimed solely at current and future entrepreneurs that uses unconventional methods of teaching.
Most of the students did not expect jumping into a chilly pool with a billionaire investor would be their first step at Draper University. But the unexpected is the norm at Draper, and Aima Ohiwerei from Nigeria is experiencing it first-hand.
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“It’s not like your regular school. Kind of like pushes you to try and imagine more than you can actually think you can imagine,” said Ohiwerei.
One drill is to try crossing the street blindfolded with only the help of verbal instructions.
Thinking about doing something beyond the conventional is what Draper University tries to teach, says the school’s founder and venture capitalist Tim Draper.
“People need to be able to step out, apart from the crowd, and try extraordinary things and now that we’re all interconnected, and all communicating with each other throughout the entire world, it’s even more important for people to be able to step out and do something a little different,” he said.
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Draper says for entrepreneurs to move outside their comfort zones takes a certain mindset and emotional tenacity.
“I’m trying to get into people’s heads that starting a business is very difficult. You will be up against a lot of pressures and we want you to, after going through this program, we want you to be able to be immune to the pressures that are going to be coming against you,” he said.
That’s exactly what Ohiwerei hopes to learn in this seven-week course. “Just push through all the negative thoughts and all the negative comments towards your startup, toward you, just push through that’s what I want to learn.”
“I would like to know how to be fearless, just go full speed without stopping,” said David Lopez, a student from Peru.
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Hundreds of students from more than 70 countries have attended this entrepreneurship course. Students between 18 and 28 years old learn to be emotionally prepared for entrepreneurship by listening to Silicon Valley startup founders who have succeeded and those who have failed. They also experience some unusual training, like a volleyball game they play where the rules keep changing.
“Different things start to happen and their brains start to open up and they start thinking anything is possible,” said Draper.
Consistent with the uniqueness of the school, the graduates become superheroes. They get a cape and mask as they are sent out as entrepreneurs to change the world with their unique ideas.
Life after graduation
While there are many schools and programs in Silicon Valley that teach students how to start their own business, Draper University has a particularly unusual teaching method.
Its founder, venture capitalist, Tim Draper says the program’s goal is to mentally prepare people for the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Two graduates tell their story of life before and after the program, in this second of two reports from VOA’s Elizabeth Lee.
It’s not a coincidence that Christine Ntim lives and works just 10 minutes from the airport in New York.
“Vietnam, Japan, China… I’ve only been to four countries on the African continent,” she said.
Ntim grew up in Haiti and loves to travel. Her travels led to her form Vendedy, an online directory of street markets.
“I come from a generation of street vendors, so my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mom were all street vendors in Haiti,” she said. “I didn’t realize this was a way of life for people. That’s how things just got started.”
What helped Ntim’s company to reach the next level was an entrepreneurship program at Draper.
“I grew up as a street vendor, so I grew up knowing how to sell anything,” she said. “So if I am feeling uncomfortable, I knew this was a different experience. I had to sell rubbers – it’s a better way to say – it or condoms. That was awkward.”
In the classroom and out in the field, the school’s founder Draper says he pushes students to think creatively to overcome challenges. His aim is to nurture entrepreneurs, calling them super heroes.
“You need to be resilient, tough, determined, you have to be able to overcome great barriers to be very successful,” he said.
International student body
Students from more than 70 countries have attended Draper University. Graduates have created about 350 companies.
Pakistani native Asra Nadeem felt immediately at home at Draper, where she is the Graduate Program director. “All my life, being a woman from Pakistan, one of the things I’ve heard the most that I have to be less loud. My mother’s never been happy with how loud I am.”
In contrast, Nadeem says her assertiveness is celebrated here. Her crazy ideas are embraced. “I wanted to build vertical cities or I wanted to talk about mining asteroids.”
When the students graduated with super hero masks and capes, Nadeem says she wore hers with pride.
“All your life you’re feeling like an outsider and that’s kind of where the super hero theme comes in. Super heroes are also these anomalies, these people who always feel like outsiders and all of a sudden you have all these people who are great in some aspect or the other who think about all these revolutionary things and they’re together,” she said.
When Nadeem graduated, Draper offered her a job because of her assertiveness. She now helps in fostering more super-hero entrepreneurs by leading them through unconventional tasks. (VOA)
The pandemic brought about a global boom of entrepreneurship in 2020. Thousands of small businesses launched in the UK last year, and many were very successful. Some businesses started as passion projects, while others aimed to fill a hole in the pandemic market. Services and products, like at-home workouts, popped up all over social media from new and exciting businesses. The pandemic left many Brits financially unstable and scared for the future of their career. Launching their own business gave them something to focus on again and a small amount of income.
The Financial Times reported that the number of registered companies in the UK increased by 30% in 2020. As the world returns to normal, it will be interesting to see how these new businesses approach the post-pandemic world.
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If you have just set up a new business, here are some essential marketing tips to get the ball rolling:
Exploit social media
Social media is one of the most effective marketing platforms available. You can connect with a global audience for free and market your product or service to them. Post consistently and use high-quality imaging to catch your audience's attention. Engage with potential customers by replying to direct messages, comments, shares and likes. Use a few platforms to maximise your exposure and create a strong brand identity.
You can connect with a global audience for free and market your product or service to them. | Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash
Network as much as you can
Networking is a vital part of business, and you can do it on and offline. Use sites like LinkedIn to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and those in different industries. Reach out to them directly and ask about their company or role. You might be surprised by how much you can learn from one conversation. Once in-person events return, you should look to make the most out of meeting people in your industry. You might find brands to collaborate with or a mentor to learn from. Make sure to hand out your business cards at the event so people can get in touch with you in the future.
Networking is a vital part of business, and you can do it on and offline. | Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash
Create a blog
You need to be an expert in your industry. Create a blog and share your journey of learning to be a business owner. You can share your expertise and why you started the company, which other entrepreneurs can read and learn from. Your knowledge and experience might be extremely helpful for those just starting out. Use a range of marketing techniques to launch your business into the next phase.
Use a range of marketing techniques to launch your business into the next phase. | Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
One of Indias fast growing Direct To Consumer (DTC) beauty and personal care brands, MyGlamm, launches its national TVC around the message 'All Natural #NoNasties today with actress Shraddha Kapoor, who is also an investor in the brand.
Kapoor who has a great millennial and Gen Z connect introduces 'My SUPERFOODS Kajal' which has No Parabens, No Mineral Oils, No Nasties while still being long-lasting and smudge-free and made with the goodness of nature. This is followed by many girls trying applying the kajal with confidence and while highlighting the ingredients Avocado Oil, Goji Berries, Vitamin E and Sunflower Seed Oil.
Commenting on the campaign, Apratim Majumder, CMO, MyGlamm says "Women have been telling us about what they want from their beauty products for a while now. Wikimedia Commons
The brand focuses on creating quality products that are high efficacy made with all-natural and no chemicals in the formulae. his campaign follows the #TellMyGlammWhatYouWant campaign where women logged in to tell the company what they wanted from their beauty products. It aims to establish a beauty democracy by giving consumers the power to tell the brand what they want thus changing the entire experience of how women buy beauty products in India.
Commenting on the campaign, Apratim Majumder, CMO, MyGlamm says "Women have been telling us about what they want from their beauty products for a while now. We have been innovating to serve those needs with products. When they told us that they want a kajal that is not only long-lasting and smudge-proof but also takes care of their eyes, we knew we had to do this. The campaign is about telling everyone out there who told us they need a kajal that cares, MyGlamm Superfoods Kajal is here for you! The campaign debued on MyGlamm's social channels- YouTube & Instagram on September 16. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, Direct beauty brands, My Glamm national, girls, kajal, confidence ingredients, Avocado Oil, Shraddha Kapoor
Phishing attacks targeting organisations rose up considerably during the pandemic, as millions of employees working from home became a prime target for cybercriminals. A large majority (83 per cent) of IT teams in India said the number of phishing emails targeting their employees increased during 2020, according to a report by UK-based cybersecurity firm Sophos on Monday.
"It can be tempting for organisations to see phishing attacks as a relatively low-level threat, but that underestimates their power. Phishing is often the first step in a complex, multi-stage attack. According to Sophos Rapid Response, attackers frequently use phishing emails to trick users into installing malware or sharing credentials that provide access to the corporate network," Sophos' Principal Research Scientist, Chester Wisniewski said in a statement. The findings also reveal that there is a lack of common understanding about the definition of phishing. For instance, 67 per cent of IT teams in India associate phishing with emails that falsely claim to be from a legitimate organisation, and which are usually combined with a threat or request for information.
The findings also reveal that there is a lack of common understanding about the definition of phishing. | Pixabay
As many as 61 per cent consider Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks to be phishing, and half of the respondents (50 per cent) think threadjacking - when attackers insert themselves into a legitimate email thread as part of an attack - is phishing. Most of the organisations in India (98 per cent) have implemented cybersecurity awareness programmes to combat phishing. Respondents said they use computer-based training programmes (67 per cent), human-led training programmes (60 per cent), and phishing simulations (51 per cent).
Four-fifths of Indian organisations assess the impact of their awareness programme through the number of phishing-related tickets raised with IT, followed by the level of reporting of phishing emails by users (77 per cent) and click rates on phishing emails (60 per cent). All the organisations surveyed (100 per cent) in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Kolkata say they have a cybersecurity awareness programme in place. This was followed by Chennai where 97 per cent have such programmes, and then, Bengaluru and Mumbai at 96 per cent each. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: programmes, organisation, emails, phishing