Building a Global Entrepreneurship program – How Anupendra Sharma started Startup Leadership Program (SLP)
Building a Global Entrepreneurship program can be a daunting task. Our Season Finale – Grand 50th Episode features Anupendra Sharma of the Startup Leadership Program (SLP). Today, Startup Leadership Program has grown to enable 4000 entrepreneurs who have raised $3.5 Billion in funding for 2000 ventures spread across 28 cities in 14 countries.
Around the year 2006, two different types of people embarked on creating an organization that would enable entrepreneurship. One was Paul Graham of Y Combinator Fame and the other was Anupendra Sharma. Y Combinator and Paul Graham are famous for the kind of ventures funded and the exits. Y Combinator helped create billions of $ of wealth and transformed ventures. Anupendra Sharma built Startup Leadership Program from the shadows.
When he began in 2006, there were no templates available on building a global entrepreneurship program that would catalyze startups. Angel investing was still in its nascent stages while Venture Capital was perhaps in a slightly more evolved stage. Anupendra decided to start a non-profit organization in this backdrop. Given his Indian roots, being an entrepreneur is a privilege for him.
How the model came to be
When Anupendra began, it was initially to learn more about startups and entrepreneurs. He ran year-long mostly loosely defined sessions involving startups in life sciences. He then felt that this was an experiment that had to be shut down. To his surprise, participants of the program not just loved the program. They voted that it be expanded to include startups from other market segments and in other cities.
Anupendra’s inspiration was John Wood’s “Why I left Microsoft to Change The World”. He realized that a non-profit, volunteer-driven model was the way to go. His strength was in creating a curriculum that anyone could take and run sessions. This fit beautifully with the volunteer model. Along the way, he added aspects and elements that would make SLP an inclusive, self-governing, and empowerment-driven model.
What makes SLP Special?
SLP today is a global model that is run almost simultaneously across 28 cities in 14 countries. The program features classroom sessions, expert speakers, simulations involving negotiations of term sheet with real VCs. Further, role playing, pitching to investors, refining the product amongst others are key. The program builds up the entrepreneur to prepare them for the road ahead in their entrepreneurial journey. The underlying philosophy being that – if you prepare the entrepreneur, they will succeed in their vision or mission.
A unique aspect of the program is that Fellows, as they are called, can join the program in one city and travel to another city. In the other city, they can join a session along with the class of entrepreneurs or fellows from that city. This creates an amazing sense of inclusiveness and unparalleled access for entrepreneurs that is very unique to SLP.
This episode is all about how Anupendra built this with a frugal team of just 3 and yet created this massive impact.
Here’s how the word cloud looks like for this episode:
Here are some excerpts from the episode:
In 2006, September, I started my first class with seven people in it. Those seven people were a combination of VCs, entrepreneurs. And people working in research, actually, in academia, that is called the leadership programAnupendra Sharma 02:43
We’ve had one, two, maximum three full time employees sitting in Bombay, who engineered the backend. SLP hasAnupendra Sharma 16:49
always been frugal from the first day. It’s been something by the fellows for the fellows
Some of the things, of course, you stumble upon. And see if they’ll work or not, and they don’t work everywhere, either culturally, so it’s not guaranteed.Anupendra Sharma 29:02
Reach Startup Leadership Program here: www.startupleadership.com