The first group of participants has begun coursework at the Investment and Innovation Academy created by BMI in partnership with LitBAN and Baltic Sandbox. The programme opened with a module on “Fostering the Entrepreneurial Mindset”, delivered by Per Møller, the Managing Partner at 70Ventures, a revenue accelerator and investor in B2B start-ups, and Erik Bhullar, an entrepreneur, founder of several business ventures, investor and mentor.
The new programme attracted a diverse first group of participants including several coming from abroad. They represent large international corporations, small and medium businesses, and private investors and business owners. More than 25% of the group’s members are women.
“The diverse group we purposefully gathered perfectly represents the ecosystem: its key players, their different approaches and the possible synergies among them. This is a great space to share experiences, get a grasp of the whole ecosystems and find or define one’s own place in it. Learning from your own experience as well as from each other, and not only from the lecturers, is a significant part of this programme, hence the diversity of the participants and the network is a key component,” says Diana Česonytė, the Director of Executive Education programmes at BMI Executive Institute.
During the first two days of the programme, participants learned that it is easy to come up with a new idea for an innovation or a new business, but success lies in precision execution. They examined the key factors in pre-prototyping, testing and selling, to experience what it takes to successfully enter the market with a new product or service. The lecturers shared their own insights on how new ideas can create value, how business models define the success or failure of the startup, and what is involved in the implementation process.
In one practical exercise that was part of the first learning session, participants had to sell a toothbrush worth 2 euros outside of the classroom for the highest possible price. The exercise took participants out of their comfort zone to give them insights about consultative selling, creating value for the customer and profiling the ideal customer.
“It’s a perfect exercise to practice your entrepreneurial mindset, which you can only sharpen through challenges and personal experiences. You need to expose yourself to create value and that’s not always easy. Books cannot teach you this. We take inspiration, trends and best cases from the books, but we can only learn to act faster, with agility and avoiding errors, through our own practice and experience,” Per Møller notes.
Lina Danienė, an entrepreneur and business coach, joined the programme looking for a setting to test her ideas and find a clearer path for moving forward with them.
“The best part of the programme is that it’s very practical. It’s like a hackathon – we immediately started putting ideas on the table, discussing and selecting among them. The process is truly very intuitive and organic. It provides an understanding of what tools you need in this process, how to build your competences and know-how. The practical experiences give you a structure and guidelines you can build on,” Lina Danienė says.
The Academy will continue with a second module in two parts: the first, “Strengthening Investment Strategy”, will take place on 23-24 February, with the other, “New Idea Valuation”, on 9-10 March.
A few seats are still available in some modules. For more information about the programme and how to join, visit https://www.bmiinstitute.com/vilnius/investment-innovation-academy/ or contact Diana Česonytė, the Director of Executive Education programmes, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +370 679 35 097.