Please see below for info on participation criteria, age, stage of startup, team vs. solo, technical requirements for participation, tips for having a rockstar video-conference call, and language.
If you have other questions, please us the link on the bottom of the page!
1.) What are the key criteria for participation in a Sprint?
The Sprint format is fun, and flexible, and can help young entrepreneurs or young startup teams at different stages of their startup development.
As with much in life, what you benefit from the sprint process is mostly determined by what you put into it.
These are the main things that we expect from Sprint participants, and will help you have a great experience:
Positivity: We’re here to provide positive support to help people learn, and grow, regardless of their starting point. In fact, the actual stage of your startup at the end of the sprint is less interesting to us than what you’ve learned and how much you’ve improved your idea.
Open Minds: Come with an open mind, open to learn new ideas, meet some great people, and get feedback on your idea. You don’t even have to agree with all the feedback and suggestions! But maybe hidden within a suggestion that you disagree with is the idea that will unlock the success of your startup.
Collaboration: People learn best through doing, teaching, and sharing, and so it’s highly likely that the more you share and give feedback to others during the sprint, the better that you yourself will do. We know it’s a bit counterintuitive, and of course you need to make sure to spend time working on your own idea, but sharing ideas is powerful for all people involved.
Flexible and Adaptive for You: The experience is flexible and adapted to each person and team, so if you’re feeling bored or like your current activity isn’t fun or helping you with your idea, talk to one of the facilitators and we can work together to figure out how to maximize your time during the sprint.
2.) Do I need to have an idea or a startup to join a sprint?
The short answer is yes! And no. :-)
First off, you certainly do not need a registered company or a formal “startup team” working on launching a new product or service.
However, it is helpful to join with at least an idea, something that you’ve been thinking about doing, or that you want to explore further, or test. We’re even ok with you joining with a bad idea! Actually, we love bad ideas! We can then work together to refine it, clarify it, try different approaches, and help craft that bad idea into a great idea.
There’s actually a great saying: “One of the best ways to come up with great ideas, is to come up with lots of ideas, and see how you can filter out the good ones from the bad ones.”
Just to add as well, we’re even ok with you having a good idea of the challenge you want to address, but you’re not sure of the solution. It’s actually more difficult, and more important, to have clarity of the problem you want to address, who has that problem, and how that problem impacts those.
3.) What do you mean by “youth” or “young entrepreneurs”?
Good question. We broadly focus on young entrepreneurs under 30, but different programs have different focus age groups. We love working with university or high school students (or people in those age groups - school registration is not a requirement). We have some exciting programs for high school students coming soon. 🎉
4.) Is it better to join with a team, or is it better to join solo?
As with many things in the startup world, as in life, it’s best to do what’s right for you. That being said, it’s impossible to build a thriving startup or enterprise alone. At some point solo founders will need to bring other people on board, and we think it’s usually best to do that as early as possible. Working with a small team usually leads to a much stronger outcome, both because of the diversity of ideas and solutions that groups can come up with, but also because building a startup is a damn lot of work. The more hours and more hands that can go into that effort the better.
That being said, it’s also worth noting that one of the main reasons that startups fail is because of co-founder disagreements. We recommend that all teams take sufficient time to make sure that they’re aligned on values, long-term goals (personal and professional), roles, finances and financial objectives, and work styles. These issues (amongst others) can easily derail a startup effort.
5.) What kind of equipment do I need to have to participate in a virtual activity?
While many things can be done on phones today, we have seen that people are most effective at (a) building a startup and (b) taking part in online workshops when they’re using a desktop or laptop computer.
A good internet connection also helps.
We strongly encourage people to wear headphones with a microphone for video discussions or calls. This usually gives better sound quality, and leaves your hands free for other activities like taking notes, doing research, or sharing questions on the video call chat.
We generally use Zoom.us for our video-conference sessions. We encourage you to download it on both your laptop and mobile phone (as backup), and try it out with friends! 🥳
6.) Do you have any tips for having a great video call or meeting?
Use headphones, except if many people are trying to connect on one device
Each person should keep their video on, so people can see each other, unless bandwidth issues are impacting quality
Mute your microphone when not speaking, and be aware of background noise
The location you are in, and readiness for the call/meeting, is the same whether you are at an in-person meeting or on a call; walking around, in a noisy/distracting place, people distracting you, or trying to multi-task (on your phone, laptop, etc) is just as disruptive for an online meeting as for an in-person meeting.
Agendas are massively helpful to have effective meetings (see IDOARRT for a popular framework; we add NAR to that as well, for Notes Shared, Actions Assigned (to specific people, etc), Reflection on how to make the next meeting more effective
Have fun! :-)
7.) Which language is the Sprint in?
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