Workshopping for startup success

Updated on 31 October 2014

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Workshopping for startup successThe Lean Startup Machine (LSM) has since its start in 2010 become the world’s biggest startup workshop. And now the city of Johannesburg is hosting its first LSM event.

Johannesburg was selected through the ‘Bring LSM to your city online campaign’, garnering the minimum 400 votes required to host the event. LSM then provides local organisers within each city the tools, framework and training to roll out a LSM in their own cities.

The co-organisers are Tshepo MolopeTefo Mohapi, Peter Peele and Sidhika SooklalMolopeMohapi and Peele, all who are from different professional backgrounds, were the LSM’s biggest promotors or “evangelists” in Johannesburg. They were handpicked to head up the event after undergoing the necessary interviews and vetting.

The LSM method

The Startup Machine is a three-day workshop that teaches entrepreneurs and innovators to start their own companies using Lean Startup hands-on methodologies. The workshop is based on the framework and principles drawn from The Lean Startup book, the bestseller by Eric Reis, which quickly became the go-to guide for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.

According to their website, the focus of the workshop is to teach entrepreneurs “the process of validating business ideas through hands-on experimentation and mentorship”.

 Co-organiserTshepo Molope.

We chat to one of the co-organisersTshepo Molope, about what the LSM participants can look forward in the three-day workshop event (LSM Johannesburg runs from 31 October to 2 November), and what they hope the impact of the event will be on the city’s startup ecosystem.

How have you customised the Lean Startup method for the South African entrepreneur and our specific challenges?

Lean Startup principles are universal to any geographic area, where the customisation occurs is how local entrepreneurs approach the opportunities to build their businesses through experimentation.

What kind of entrepreneur/startup founders are you hoping will show up? What level readiness should they be at?

We expect all levels of entrepreneurs from seasoned to upstarts, anyone who wants to validate the viability of their ideas using lean startup principles.

What are the 3 things you hope each participant will walk away having learnt?

– How to use the Experiment Board (a template which allows entrepreneurs to test their startup ideas) to validate their ideas.

– How to apply lean startup and customer development principles.

– And most of all, to become part of the Johannesburg startup community, and have fun as well.

In what ways do you see your event contributing to the country’s and Johannesburg’s startup culture and ecosystem?

We all decry the rate of startup failure in the country, and initiatives such as the LSM can improve the success rate by helping entrepreneurs to avoid the crucial mistake of building companies around products that no one wants.

What can participants walk away with in terms of prizes? 

Standard Bank and Edge Growth will be giving away cash prizes as well as business support to this weekend’s winning teams.

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