The third edition of Entrepreneurship 101 (E101) began with 30 students that came from different backgrounds and diverse fields of studies; some of them already had interesting ideas they wanted to pursue while others were curious about entrepreneurship and wanted to explore if they too could start a venture of their own.
The course this time around followed the same format as the last two, with course content uploaded online by the University of Saarland and 4 in-person sessions held at the NICL facility. The in-person sessions for this edition were instructed by Ghazi Taimoor, who is Head of the LUMS School of Education’s Professional Education and Policy Engagement Office, and also teaches Entrepreneurship in Education course at the School.
Participants would study the online content and learn about the different aspects of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking. The modules covered a range of topics, from how to define a target market and establishing a business model to creating marketing and finance plans. They would then attend in-person sessions to further hone the concepts.
The in-person sessions effectively supplemented what the participants were learning through the online modules. The sessions, led by Ghazi, were engaging and created a dynamic community of learners, who would discuss what they learnt each week, present their deliverables, and get insight from Ghazi on the course content and their presentations.
Throughout the month, the participants worked with teams on the various deliverables and worked on several innovative ideas such as an e-platform for Urdu books, eco-friendly transport services for university students, and a digital service to connect nutritional brands directly with their customers.
One of the participants, Elwina, travelled to Lahore from Islamabad every week for these sessions. A home-based entrepreneur herself, she develops organic products, and wanted to formally learn more about entrepreneurship and what it entails. “I liked that sitting in Pakistan we were getting access to course content and knowledge about entrepreneurship from an international university. Overall, I had a great experience, from the online content to the in-person sessions, the faculty was amazing. I learnt a lot, and will now work on the feedback I was given and incorporate it into my own business,” she shared.
Talking about the course, Ghazi explained that the classes were a two-way transfer of knowledge. “My own experience of teaching this course has been fascinating because there was a collaborative learning environment; not only was I teaching but I was also learning. And with the diverse body of future entrepreneurs in the class, we were learning different things from each other, giving feedback and collaboratively working on ideas.”
Except for 4 of the participants who had to drop out due to personal reasons, the entire class of the third edition of E101 graduated the course – with many of the participants excited to further work on their startup ideas and continue their entrepreneurial journey. Positive evidence of the confidence and motivation the participants gained during the course is that three of the students enrolled also applied, and are now incubated, to NICL’s 6-month Foundry programme.
This year’s edition saw an immense amount of engagement from the participants with the in-person sessions adding a lot of value to their experience, especially in the form of receiving feedback from their peers and networking. The testimonials from students and the interest in the programme are an excellent indicator of the demand for Entrepreneurship 101 and show immense potential for future editions.