Last month, I tried my luck by submitting an application for the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops at MaRS. The workshops would be in preparation for the Up Start! Competition which I also planned to join later on. I knew that I wanted to join and benefit from the workshops the moment MaRS announced the call for application. I didn’t know if I would be accepted as the spots were limited. I just knew that I have a strong idea and business model. It would be a shame not to at least try. After all, these workshops are valued at $500+. If I got in, I’d be able to attend for free, get valuable advice from experienced mentors, network with other entrepreneurs and help me in preparing not just for the big thing itself but for other future endeavours.
Good thing, in working with my idea and business model, I had jotted down some notes and had read quite a lot of articles which helped me frame my proposal strategically. It didn’t take me that long to come up with my 5-sentence application. What took me a long time was in deciding what specific information should I actually include. What MaRS was asking were the following: the entrepreneur’s name, business’s name and the description of the business. Easy? Sounded like it was. But I had to consider that on the day they announced it alone, more than a hundred participants were present and hundreds more were watching the webcast across Ontario and maybe even Canada. I had to come up with a strong paragraph that would catch the reviewer’s attention. I didn’t have an idea how many would apply, but if I would “compete”, I gotta do it right to “win”. That thought aligned with what I usually tell myself: If I’m going to do it, I have to do it well.
For my application, I thought about the possible information that they would want to know other than the idea alone. I knew they wanted to invest on something with obvious “potential”. So definitely the how-I-came-up-with-the-idea-story some entrepreneurs revert to was not relevant. After mentally going through what I have, I decided that the following information would be enough to help them evaluate my application:
- What type of business it is
- For whom
- How it will work
- How it differs from other known competitors (e.g. business model)
I instantly knew, after writing my application, that including the above information would secure me some spot. I was right. On December 16th, I got an e-mail in the evening letting me know that I got accepted. After double checking my schedule, I immediately RSVP’d and paid the deposit.
Below are the workshop details:
Part 1: Designing a Value Proposition
Part 2: Designing a Business Model
*I already have a model but I’m still excited to know any other options
Part 3: Perfecting Your Pitch
Now I’m really excited!