The Foundry

The Foundry

At the Foundry, an immersive six-month long program is designed to help Pakistani entrepreneurs develop their ideas into investor-ready business plans, and benefit from a network of experts and business leaders, culminating in a capstone investor summit.

The curriculum, delivered by LUMS faculty and international technical experts, refines business ideas and helps realize their potential.

What’s different about this program? It’s a mini-MBA for start-up founders, with a focus on applied knowledge. From teaching basic skills in accounting and finance, to thinking about strategy and business modelling, to applying the principles of design thinking, to finally marketing, branding and selling products and services, the program covers a breadth of relevant topics. Each session is designed to be interactive, and uses the start-ups themselves as cases to explain the theory.

For more detail on the course outline and curriculum, head on here to see our course modules.

Currently, the program is adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, with classes taking place entirely online. The sessions are highly interactive and have adopted best practices to aid learning in an online environment.

Foundation Modules

Design Thinking

As a framework for identifying and solving problems, Design Thinking, is a critical tool for helping entrepreneurs see the world through their customers eyes. This course will enable startups to uncover their customers’ real needs, generate ideas for solving them, and then quickly learn which of those ideas are viable in the marketplace. This course is divided into four modules. The first module, Design Thinking, will introduce startups to basic design thinking principles and enable them to construct products/services with high desirability, high feasibility, and high viability. The second module, Ecosystem Innovation, teaches startups to consider the ecosystem that already exists for their product/service and how to leverage it to enhance their offerings. Startups will learn to map the ecosystem relevant to their business and develop clear strategies around harnessing it to their benefit. The third module, Hard Conversations, teaches startups how to conduct difficult conversations with team members, vendors and other collaborators. Startups will learn how to approach conversations they have been avoiding, usually related to work styles, productivity, and collaboration and tasked with holding a real-life difficult conversation at the end of this module. The fourth module, Making Your Ideas Stick, will focus on communication skills and storytelling principles to develop a winning pitch and presentation for investors. At the end of this module, startups will apply the lessons learnt to develop a 3-4 minute pitch to succinctly present their product/idea/service.

Course Outline

Design Thinking: Eight (8) sessions

Ecosystem Innovation: Three (3) sessions

Hard Conversations: Five (5) sessions

Making Your Ideas Stick: Three (3) sessions

Law

This course covers key legal requirements relevant to starting, structuring and operating a business. When starting and growing a new venture, it is critical that entrepreneurs are both aware of and compliant with local and global regulations. Startups will develop a broad understanding of relevant aspects of the law to ensure legislative requirements are complied with and risks to their businesses are mitigated. The course will begin with an introduction to laws applicable to SMEs/Startups and cover pertinent laws in more detail including company law, choice of entity, and the advantages of registering a business; intellectual property including trademark, copyright, patent, and trade secrets; tax law; contract law and the different kinds of agreements applicable to startups; and ethical and compliance aspects of each of these. The course will enable founders to have a better understanding of practical ways in which to protect new ventures and seek the right kind of legal advice at the right time for their business.

Course Outline

Session 1: Introduction to Law

Session 2: Intellectual Property Law

Session 3: Company Law

Session 4: Tax Law

Session 5: Contract Law/Contract Management

Session 6: Compliance

Accounting & Finance

This course provides an introduction to key topics in accounting and finance for those involved in new ventures. It reviews financial accounting basics, describes what financial statements and accounting forecasts are commonly needed and covers key issues in finance, broadly defined as any financial or monetary activity that involves a company. It also describes various sources of potential funding, including the pros and cons of each option. Startups will develop an appreciation for how business decisions and economic events effect the financial performance of an organization. They will learn how to create, understand and analyse financial reports. They will be introduced to the concept of time value of money and financial planning techniques including cash flow analysis, capital budgeting and forecasting. In addition, startups will learn about raising capital, different avenues to take, and the terms and techniques used in funding negotiations.

Course Outline

Session 1: Introduction to the Universe of Finance

Session 2: Understanding Financial Statements I

Session 3: Understanding Financial Statements II

Session 4: Cash Flow Analysis

Session 5: Time Value of Money

Session 6: Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

Session 7: Valuation Basics

Session 8: Capital Budgeting: What to Invest.

Session 9: Risk and Returns – cost of capital

Session 10: Fundraising – tools and techniques

Marketing, Branding, and Sales

This course covers the fundamentals of marketing plans, strategic insights, marketing research, marketing promotions, and digital marketing amongst others. These subsets of the wide and heavily specialized marketing discipline are curated to serve as the most critical basic skills needed to undertake marketing campaigns for the incubated ventures. The curriculum includes general basic marketing theories as well modern digital marketing issues. Startups will develop an understanding of how to build brand awareness and gain traction for their products and services.

Course Outline

Session 1: Introduction to Marketing

Session 2: Advertising & The Promotional Mix

Session 3: Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy

Session 4: Integrated Marketing

Session 5: Digital Marketing

Strategy & Business Modelling

This course aims to develop the ability to innovate, think strategically, and make smart business decisions to achieve long-term objectives. The first module of the course focuses on developing a competitive strategy for an organisation through an understanding of the five forces at play in a competitive environment and the basics of positioning. In the role of key decision-makers, startups will learn how to decide what value to create, how to capture value through innovative business models, and how to deal with competition and sustain their competitive advantage. The second module of the course focuses on the value of data to businesses and an understanding of how data analysis can help companies better understand their customers, evaluate their ad campaigns, personalize content, create content strategies and develop products. Startups will be introduced to Python and learn how to translate data into insights with an emphasis on visualisations for different audiences including customers and investors.

Course Outline

Competitive Strategy

Session 1: Understanding the broad canvas of strategy

Session 2: Creating Value

Session 3: Capturing Value through business model innovation

Session 4: How to sustain value in a competitive environment

Session 5: Putting in all together

Data Analytics using Python

Session 1: Introduction to Data Analytics. What is data analysis and why it is important in the modern business world

Session 2: Introduction to Python and IDLE programming environment

Session 3: Using Pandas for Data Analysis

Session 4: Importance of visualizations in representing data analysis

Session 5: Introduction to Python Matplotlib to create visualizations

Market Research

This course provides an introduction to key topics in Market Research to determine feasibility of different opportunities for new ventures. It offers critical tools of research that helps in solving market challenges and provides strategies like market segmentation and product differentiation to help develop concrete business plan.

Startups will learn the basics of Market Research and its process from problem definition, to determining the suitable technique, selecting, collecting, to data analyzing and the concluding with results. In addition, startups will learn how their business is perceived by target customers and clients they want to reach, also how to stack up against competition and planning next steps subsequently.

This module will also discuss tools of doing primary and secondary research and their pros and cons. Recent developments in research especially technology-based ones will be discussed and debated. The focus of discussion will be which tools work best, when and how? Real examples and videos will also be shared.

Furthermore, this course will provide an overview of marketing research providers in Pakistan, practical examples of research, budgeting, work plans and implications from service provider.

Course Outline

Session 1: Fundamentals of Market Research, its method and process

Session 2: Classification of Market research

Session 3: Overview of Market research providers in Pakistan

Communications and Personal effectiveness

This module is the capstone of the training. Bringing it all together. The “philosophy part of it and the nitty-gritty”.

The personal effectiveness part will talk about how to utilize all of your skills, talent, and energy to reach a goal or set of goals in your life. Many of us hope to improve our own personal effectiveness but are unsure of where to start. This module will help you dissect different components of personal effectiveness and evaluate what works for you.

The topics of discussion will also be personal branding, its frame of reference and its key features philosophy. Through a self-exhausting survey you will learn how to define and redefine your goals/values and vision and also align them. The next big step of how to achieve them will be debated.

In the communication part of the course you will be guided how to pitch and what to pitch to prospective audiences like investors, partners, co founders and other stake holders.

Course Outline

Session 1: Personal Branding

Session 2: Personal Effectiveness

Session 3: Pitch evaluations/feedback

Session 4: Pitch evaluations/feedback

Summer Season

Recruitment period: February to March
Foundation Council Meeting: April
Incubation: Start April to September
Startup Summit: October

Winter Season

Recruitment period: September to October
Foundation Council Meeting: November
Incubation: Start November to End March
Startup Summit: April