Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs: Comcast Business and Junior Achievement – Week 7

January 04, 2016

This is the seventh in a series on Comcast Business and its work with Junior Achievement. For a look at the previous article, click here.

This week, our functional business units continued presenting their plans and soliciting feedback from the rest of the company. We helped each of the groups establish a punchlist so they are clear on what needs to be completed between this session and the next.

As mentors, we try to not only focus on the work of building a company—we teach the students lessons, too. To that end, we invited experts from Comcast Ventures, Comcast’s funding unit, to come in and talk about building a startup. Our guest lecturers covered concepts such as burn rate to capital, or the amount of money leadership spends in order to manage the company versus the amount of cash it has. They also taught the students about the many different ways to procure funding beyond selling shares.

On that subject, I’m very proud to report the students have already raised the maximum amount of capital they can raise by selling shares per JA Company Program guidelines—$1,500. And they did this without a product. Instead, they sold investors on the concept of a youth entrepreneur movement. Now that the students have cleared that hurdle, it’s time to turn those investors into customers by preselling orders. But first, they need a product.

The students are close to having a product ready. They hoped to have their order placed with the vendor by last week but weren’t able to - there is still work to be done around the logo. The students initially wanted to brand their product with the Philadelphia “LOVE” logo, and have spent a good deal of time and effort investigating how to obtain a copyright, which has slowed the process down. This is a bit nerve wracking as they need to have the company built and all products sold by March 1 before they have to start liquidating. However, I believe the students can get there as long as they arrive to class on time, show up prepared and focus while they’re here.

To help them stay on track, the mentors have been teaching them how to run an effective meeting—we want the students to have a clear agenda and leave each meeting having identified next steps so there is no ambiguity about what needs to be accomplished before the next meeting.

Overall, our students are getting excited that they’re closer to having something to sell, and they understand there are very specific dependencies on getting to that point. By the end of next session, the students will need to have settled on a company name, slogan and branding, as well as a product price point, so they can start selling and get the product ordered and ready for delivery after the holidays.

Read Week 8

Functional business units continued presenting their plans and soliciting feedback from the rest of the company.

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