Professor Robert H. Gertner, Professor of Strategy and Finance and Deputy Dean for the part-time MBA programs, University of Chicago Booth School of Business speaks to Gauri Rane about the School’s Global Launchpad initiative

What is the Booth Entrepreneurship progamme all about?

The Global Launchpad programme is a four-day “boot-camp” designed to provide entrepreneurial training to our alumni and non-alumni entrepreneurs with the tools and experiential learning needed to start new ventures or grow existing businesses.

The programme every year travels across boundaries engaging entrepreneurial minds across the globe. Participants in the Global Launchpad stand to gain a solid understanding of the core tenets of entrepreneurship as well as access to personal mentorship and coaching.

The program is taught by top Chicago Booth faculty who have a long and successful track record as entrepreneurs and investors having strong international networks.

Who can take this programme? What is the student profile?

University of Chicago alumni as well as other entrepreneurial non alumni can attend the program. The Global Launchpad is open to any University of Chicago alumni who are pursuing or planning to take up an entrepreneurial career.

Graduates from any year are encouraged to apply. Non-alumni and current students are considered on a case-by-case and space-availability basis. Business partners working on the same venture or start-up idea may apply but must submit individual applications and, if accepted, each will have to pay the full registration fee.

What do students take back with them post the programme, with respect to their career progression etc?

The programme’s curriculum blends classroom instruction grounded in theoretical framework with hands-on coaching by successful entrepreneurs and industry experts.

Participants gain both high-touch involvement with our faculty and access to a dynamic network of the local mentors.

These resources enable the students to validate their business ideas and understand the key steps in launching and executing their businesses. Participants also gain access to the network of other entrepreneurs in the program, building a community that continues even after the duration of the program.

What is your advice to prospective entrepreneurs?

Make sure you understand the problem you are solving and who your customers are. 

Too often, entrepreneurs try to solve a problem unique to themselves or their own experience that does not necessarily translate into sufficient market demand. Given limited resources, most entrepreneurs must learn how to efficiently access their networks to do a lot with very little.

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