Thanks to the Russian CIEE Russia Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Virtual Exchange Program for having me speak with them about startup investing and entrepreneurship. Looking forward to hearing the business pitches at the end of the program.
This virtual exchange program for Russian and American university students aims at creating a dialogue between peers in the two countries, developing students’ intercultural competencies, while at the same time developing their entrepreneurial skills. During the ten-week, non-credit course, participants will acquire an understanding of the entrepreneurial process, including customer, market, and industry analysis that are used to develop a viable product. Special attention will be devoted to the topic of inclusion by ensuring employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Course sessions are designed to motivate students to generate their own business ideas by working in groups on a concrete project, to be presented during the last week of the program. The program participants will be divided in teams, comprising Russian and US students.
Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:
- advance their intercultural competences, as well as their problem-solving and negotiating skills by working in teams with their peers from culturally and geographically diverse backgrounds;
- develop conceptual and practical knowledge of entrepreneurial process and an entrepreneur’s role in different cultural contexts;
- recognize the importance of creating diverse and inclusive workplaces for organizational success;
- enhance pitching skills by actively participating in group discussions and contributing to the final presentation of their group.
Methods of Instruction
The course material is presented via on-line (synchronous) sessions, running twice a week. Sessions on Wednesday will introduce the major business concepts and ideas, while Friday sessions will focus on their use in practice. Invited guest speakers from business, academia and NGO sectors will address students in various weeks, followed by Q&A sessions. Weekly readings and assignments will be posted every Monday on the Canvas course site. Although fluid from week to week, students’ workload will on average include:
- 120 minutes of live class sessions;
- 30 minutes for home assignments;
- 30 minutes engaging in team work on the final project.
The final project: In-class Business Pitch
The culminating assignment of the program will be an in-class business pitch, which students will develop over the course of the program. Its presentation will assess student abilities to articulate their business idea, their initial start-up needs, and the business launch timeline. Students can draw from the lectures, practical sessions, guest talks and reading materials while preparing their presentations. The presentations should follow the template and the criteria, which will be provided at the beginning of the course. Student teams will deliver their presentations during the concluding session (Week 10) as a team. Course participants and instructors will offer their feedback to each team’s presentation based on the set of criteria that were previously discussed in the course.