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.
As a framework for identifying and solving problems, Design Thinking, is a critical tool for helping entrepreneurs see the world through their customers’ eye. The course will equip startups with necessary tools required to understand complex problems, work in process-driven teams, and design customer-centric innovative systems.
This course is divided into three segments, the first being customer research, which introduces start-ups to techniques of fetching data insights through field research. The second segment focuses on ideation, design and prototyping. The third segment, guides them on how to make their ideas stick. The course is supported by local case studies / examples by industry veteran that will enlighten them with actual innovation using a design thinking process and a user-centric mindset. Another strong pillar of this module is extensive feedback (group and individual) and peer huddles.
While starting a new venture, it is critical that entrepreneurs are both aware of and compliant with local and global regulations. With this course 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 module is run by practicing legal consultants of Pakistan.
Training begins 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.
Marketing, Branding, and Sales
This course is taught as a one-week intensive bootcamp, intended to ensure that participants walk out with a functional understanding of marketing. It covers 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.
It aims to familiarize startups with the process of strategic marketing planning in a practical and applied manner. Startups will develop an understanding of how to build brand awareness and gain traction for their products and services. Participants should expect to engage in group work through the duration of training.
Strategy & Business Modelling
The key aspect of foundry training is to enable startups with the ability to analyze, think strategically, and make smart business decisions to achieve long-term objectives. The goal of this module is enabling them to deliver effective, scalable and transferable business models. The module is divided into two streams of training both closely interlinked in entrepreneurial decision making.
The first section of this module 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 section focuses on 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.
The 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 how their business is perceived by target market and techniques to stack up against competition with effective future planning.
Sessions will be equipped with examples of market research conducted in local real time scenarios. The course will enable startups practically in the area by introducing local service providers with their workplans.
Business Communications and Personal effectiveness
Communication is the key ingredient for ventures to convey their value, vision and viability to stakeholders, the course is mindfully curated with four ‘micro focused’ faculty. This course will provide practical guidance to startups in mastering business communications.
Verbal, non-verbal and digital communication is fundamental in building their skill to innovatively and persuasively convey business value, vision and viability to key stakeholders. Learning to tell their story will enable startups to bring dry facts and figures to life by reframing them as human experience. Coupled with this, art of storytelling will enable them to grasp the skill of convincing investors with emotionally resonant biography of their brand.
Crucial and crisis communication will help startups learn the techniques to approach conversations they have been avoiding and manage stake holders during a calamity in business. Understanding the basics of pitching will enlighten their knowledge of factors that count in investor’s decision making. The segment of personal effectiveness is included to enhance negotiation, persuasion and leadership skills.
The course is designed to take startups through the essential knowledge of entrepreneurial finance. To cater diversity of cohort as well as investor’s standpoint of venture’s financial projections, the course is divided into two phases of training.
The first phase will focus on building knowledge of basic finance language, financial forecasting and types of financial challenges that any company may face. Start-ups will develop an appreciation for how business decisions and economic events effect the financial performance of an organization.
Second phase will be a practicum of financial planning of respective startups that will include unit economics; company valuation; fundraising methodology, structure and alternatives. During the course, challenges in a variety of industry settings and stages of venture development will be examined both from the entrepreneur’s and from investor’s standpoints.
Recruitment period: February to March
Foundation Council Meeting: April
Incubation: Start April to September
Startup Summit: October
Recruitment period: September to October
Foundation Council Meeting: November
Incubation: Start November to End March
Startup Summit: April