Venture Lab Intensive Recap

On January 20 and 21, the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI) hosted a two-day Pre-Course Intensive for the eleven teams selected to participate in our inaugural Venture Lab course taught by Jen van der Meer and Michele Kahane. The Venture Lab builds on the Lean Launchpad® curriculum taught at leading universities and is designed to support graduate students and upper undergraduates in developing financially-sustainable ventures that address critical societal challenges and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact.

The two-day intensive was filled with numerous sessions and workshops led by a variety of facilitators, most of whom teach courses related to topics in social change and design-driven entrepreneurship at The New School. Some of the themes covered over the course of the weekend included the following:

  • Drafting an impact statement in 8 words or less
  • Unlocking one’s personal network to leverage resources
  • Developing a social impact theory of change as a means of testing assumptions
  • Reflecting on resilience and identifying times you’ve demonstrated this quality
  • Crafting your public narrative, with an emphasis on your personal story
  • Considering how power and privilege impact the entrepreneurial journey
  • Learning how to design with and not for key beneficiaries  
  • Hearing insights from an impact entrepreneur challenging global industry standards
  • Identifying leverage points embedded within larger systems

The Impact Entrepreneurship team has been deepening our connections with the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem in New York City by continuing to cultivate relationships with serial entrepreneurs, social impact trailblazers, tech-investors, designers, and subject-matter experts. Many of these individuals are serving as Mentors and Advisors to students. The culminating session of the two-day intensive was a mixer during which Venture Lab participants connected with this growing community of support and received feedback on their draft business model canvas.

Over the course of the coming semester, participants in our inaugural Venture Lab course will become familiar with the lean launchpad curriculum during weekly class sessions while applying these learnings to further develop a social enterprise. I admire their courage in embarking on this entrepreneurial journey and can’t wait to see how each person in the Venture Lab grows, both individually and collectively with their team.

If you are a New School student interested in applying for next year’s Venture Lab course, we encourage you to subscribe to the IEI e-newsletter and follow us on social media. We will share information soon about upcoming events for prospective applicants, as well as the dates for the next application cycle!