World of Opportunities: 3 Lessons from the Start-up weekend

Written by Derrick Mwiti, a third year student at Multimedia University of Kenya

This year’s Startup Weekend Education Nairobi (SWEDU) was held on 21st May @iBizAfrica Strathmore. Startup Weekend Education brings together programmers, marketer, designers, and startup enthusiasts to form teams and launch EdTech businesses in less than 54 hours!As part of the Lapid Leaders Experience, we were invited to take part in the experience.

This meant that Lapid Leaders Africa (LLA) was one of the organisations that was represented in the challenge. I was part of the team representing LLA, we actually won the challenge. In addition, all the the other winning ideas were formulated by Lapid Leaders. I learned three great lessons from this experience.

Startup weekend 1

Winners: From left, Esther (Andela), Derrick (Lapid), Esther (Andela), Rehema (Lapid & Team Leader), Joy (Andela), Melisa (Yusudi) and Eddie (Lapid)

  1. You will go through your business model canvas more than once

The first step in developing any great idea is developing the business model canvas. We reviewed our canvas very many times, and each time we did, we had to add or remove something from it. One should especially make sure that they get the value proposition and customer segmentation right because getting the business model relies on the two.

  1. Getting the buyer’s persona is critical

As part of developing our business idea, we had to develop the buyer’s persona. A buyer’s persona is the description of your customer. To develop a successful business, you must know who your customer is demographically and geographically. Demographically meaning in term of age, race, gender, economic status, level of education, income level and employment. Geographically meaning the location they are. You should be able to draw a picture of your typical buyer. You should be able to differentiate your user from your customers. The person who gives you money for your product/service is your customer otherwise they are a user. For example if you advertise on Facebook you are their customer otherwise you are a user.

Startup weekend 2

First runners-up: 4th from left, Steven Nderitu (idea originator) representing LLA

3. A Call to Action

The last part of the challenge involved pitching the business ideas that we had been working. It was clear that the team should help the person(s) pitching in order for them to have practiced enough before pitching in front of the judges. You will need to practice more than thrice or until you get it right. More importantly, your pitch should have a call to action. For example our call to action was to offer the investors a 20% stake in our business. Your pitch should have some ‘Asking’. What do you want from the investors?

Those were some of the lessons that I picked up from the start-up weekend challenge. In the end, my team won and we therefore get six months incubation at META courtesy of NEST, three months incubation and space @iBizAfrica and a chance to participate in the Imagine K12 startup accelerator based in Redwood City, California.

All participants of the startup weekend will get 300USD cloud platform from Google and free .CO domains and hosting for one year. The second and third runners up will also get incubation @IBizAfrica.

Many thanks to Lapid Leaders Africa for the three months heat experiences that enabled us to do a three months task in two days! Many thanks to Team Guardian, it was all about team work. We are looking forward to taking this business to great heights, #ItsOurTime



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