In June 2016, Cartagena, Colombia was the home of the first Unreasonable Business Model Validation Lab. A 5-day accelerator for early/idea-stage entrepreneurs that are tackling social and environmental problems. It is designed to help these entrepreneurs rapidly identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business.
Throughout the process, a total of 266 applications were obtained nationwide in 40 days, 640 Facebook followers in less than 3 months, more than 3,000 visits to our twitter profile, and a reach of almost 300,000 people including our followers and allies’ networks.
Today, Colombia is considered one of the most prominent technological hubs in Latin America, in fact, The World Economic Forum ranked Colombia 4th in its list of countries with the highest number of innovative start-ups after Chile, Denmark and South Africa.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report states that Colombia is 1st in terms of its population’s intention to create new businesses and the Colombian government continues to allocate millions in seed capital and institutional resources to help build the support ecosystem that nurtures the growth of good ideas.
Colombia closed 2016 with the approval of a peace agreement, urging us to prepare for some of its most difficult challenges to date, framed within the context of peacebuilding and peacekeeping and foward-facing the goal of achieving long term stability.
Here is where the mind and power of the social entrepreneur prosper, within unprecedented scenarios that call for creative solutions so that no one is limited by their circumstances.
Here is exactly where we need to be, helping these ideas grow and become global examples of innovation.
Be part of the challange! Apply to be an entrepreneur, become a mentor, be a sponsor, or help our Lab team find entrepreneurs. (Read on to get involved!)
Welcome to Cartagena, Colombia
The early stages of a startup are marked with questions. Who is my customer? What problems do they have? Do I have a solution to their problems? What are they willing to pay? Will I be able to break even? An entrepreneur’s ability to quickly convert these questions into answers is one of the few characteristics that separates successful startups from failed ones. The problem is that few entrepreneurs know the rapid and systematic approach required to answer these questions. They go too slow, they focus on the wrong things in the wrong order, and they move forward without truly validating a business model.
The Lab & Curriculum
The Business Model Validation Lab is designed to do one thing: provide entrepreneurs with a step-by-step methodology to rapidly and systematically validate their venture’s business model. Entrepreneurs will:
Identify the foundational assumptions that underpin your venture.
Design and run experiments to validate / invalidate the foundational assumptions (through customer discovery and rapid prototyping)
Meet with mentors to get feedback and develop next steps.
The curriculum of the Lab oscillates between in-classroom workshop time and in-market customer interaction time.
Starts with orientation and workshop on assumption mapping in the morning. The afternoon is spent interacting with target customers.
Starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype.
Starts with a workshop on how to build powerful, long-term relationships with mentors, funders, and partners. Entrepreneurs prepare for Mentor Day in the afternoon.
Mentor Day! 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.
Begins with a workshop on how to validate the cost assumptions in the business. Afternoon is spent on strategic planning.
By the end of Lab entrepreneurs will have something to show for their work. They will have:
- Learned a repeatable methodology for how to do customer discovery
- Built 2-3 prototypes of a key element of their venture
- Tested prototypes with real customers
- Learned how to build and maintain mentor relationships
- Met and received feedback from 10-12 world-class mentors
- Conducted a break-even analysis of their business and identified the key cost and financial assumptions of their business
- Built out a basic budget and financial model
- Created a 6-month operating plan
Unreasonable labs Colombia is proud to present our incredible mentors. Tip of the hat to these leaders of entreprenurship and sustainable development who guided us with their experience as entreprenurs, who led and were part of modules and workshops. We are SO proud and honored to welcome you into the Unreasonable family!
National Director of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration
Economic Opportunity Director at ACDI/VOCA
Associate Teacher for the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Institute at Universidad EAN
FAQ’s & More About This Program
Application and Selection
- Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
- Idea-to-early-stage in their venture’s development
- Based in the Colombia or can test their idea on a colombian customer base (more on location below)
- For-profit or non-profit
- 18 years of age or older
Here’s a bit more on location:
- If I am an entrepreneur from a city not in the Colombian Caribbean region. Can I apply for this Lab? If you are outside the Caribbean region you can still apply. But please know that we will prioritize entrepreneurs that can easily test the foundational assumptions of their business model in and around Cartagena and within its population. If you can make a compelling case of why your idea is global, we will consider your application.
- My venture’s headquarters are here in Cartagena, but my operations are elsewhere? Can I apply? It depends. The Business Model Validation Lab is designed for ventures to interact directly with their target market during the Lab. For example, during the Lab entrepreneurs will go and do “customer discovery” by interviewing people (in-person) in their target market. If you are unable to do this because your venture’s operations are elsewhere, then the Lab will be less valuable to you. In any case, please feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions about this.
- Who their target customer is
- What, exactly, is the problem their target customer has
- What their product/service offering looks like (they haven’t built a prototype yet or have just begun building prototypes) and if it meets the needs of the target customer
Entrepreneurs are too late if:
- They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) who their customer is
- They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) what problem their customer has
- They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) that their solution solves their customer’s problem
- They have a product/service that is in mainstream production
- They have substantial sales
We are still finalizing some details but know that we are working with local friends and partners to help provide you with top notch community lodging in the city for unreasonably affordable prices.
Finally, we will be offering 3 full scholarships and we will work with entrepreneurs who are accepted but unable to pay, to try and find ways to sponsor their attendance.
Do not let the cost prohibit you from applying for the Lab!.
The Lab will feature both time in the classroom (learning principles of how to validate your business model) and time in market with your customers where you will be interviewing them and having them interact with your prototypes. There will also be one entire day dedicated to working with mentors. Throughout the course of the Lab, you will have plenty of time to work and rest. Taking time to digest the material is an important piece of acceleration!
Day 1: Day 1 starts with a brief orientation and workshop in the morning, followed by an afternoon interacting with target customers.
Day 2: Day 2 starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon, entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype and then go out again to meet with target customers.
Day 3: Day 3 starts with more time interacting with target customers before having an afternoon workshop on how to build powerful relationships with mentors, funders, and partners.
Day 4: Day 4 is a mentor day when 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.
Day 5: Day 5 begins with a workshop in the morning on how to validate the cost assumptions in each venture before spending the afternoon working on strategic planning. Then the Lab concludes.
Be a Supporter
Click here to email us to discuss becoming a mentor.
Welcome to the magical official headquarters of Unreasonable Labs Colombia
Lets give a round of applause for the the guys who make this possible in Colombia
Pipeline Partners are organizations that help us find the entrepreneurs. Like us, they support entrepreneurs. If you want to join our community of Pipeline Partners for this Lab, please Email Us
Here is the team that is making this happen.
Gustavo De La Vega
Tech pioneer. Founder and CEO of NativApps and over 12 years of entrepreneurial engagement as founder, mentor, investor and as an advisor for academia and government programs.
Tanita Preston Bertie
Entrepreneur, investor, industrial engineer and international development professional specialized in developing revenue streams that leverage inclusive policies for good business. A true believer of market driven development
Juan Felipe Yepes
Outreach and Partnerships
Political scientist , Master in International Cooperation . Peace, Development , Poverty and Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Luz Stella Hernández
Journalist to be, specializing management of organizational communications.
Luis Carlos Rodriguez
Logistics and Operations
Business manager, Master in International Affairs, currently obsessing about the structure of financially sound businesses that deliberately seek social impact.
Logistics and Operations
Management consultant turned teacher with a focus on strategy (especially around disruptive technologies) and business process improvement.