My Founder Institute Experience

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Towards the end of 2013, I was accepted to the Founder Institute Winter 2013 Jakarta Semester program. To begin the program, we had 43 Founders which were accepted into the winter semester from 200+ applicants with only 9 remaining Founders to graduate; including myself as one of the Founders. The Founder Institute is a 4-month training program and idea incubation which started out in Silicon Valley, USA, where Founders are taught to develop their own business. To graduate, Founders must go through a rigorous process of completing assignments, pitching to mentors with passing scores while incorporating a company to establish a viable business .

What is the Founder Institute (www.fi.co)?

Taken directly from the Founder Institute website; The Founder Institute is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 35 countries, the Founder Institute has helped launch over 1,017 companies in 4.5 years. The company’s mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and build sustainable startup ecosystems that will create one million new jobs worldwide.

After Graduating in the Jakarta Winter 2013 Semester, there a five important things that I learned in the program.

The five things are:

1. I learned the process on how to a establish a new business and incorporating a company. The steps and hands-on experiences lets me understand the main processes on how to effectively take an idea into creating a legal company. This is very important to understand when you start your own business.

2. By making it mandatory for Founders to pitch weekly to mentors lets me learn about mental toughness when others tell you that your idea sucks and will not work. Doing the load of assignments within a strict limited time-frame also allowed me to understand about some aspects of a startup-entrepreneur such as meeting deadlines and being laser focused to complete tasks. Also, failing and redo-ing many things from scratch while continuously going back to the drawing board to improve what we have done taught me the importance of resilience and perseverance.

3. I also learned that if we focus on small wins, this will lead us to progress forward to reach our goals. Many times we often only look at the big picture but forget about the steps to get there by focusing on accomplishing the little things first. This is key in starting your own business by completing the small steps or small wins to gradually move forward.

4. I learned that when you face any given situation with a closed mind, you tend to not listen and shut down your opportunities by not hearing what others have to say. Learning to listen, sorting out clutter and prioritizing was a key learning point for me. Throughout the program you will have lots of feedback and one of the key things is to choose feedback you want to use and prioritize your time on progressing forward.

5. I also learned that we should look at our ideas through the challenges aspect and all the things that can make our idea fail for us to learn about how to make it succeed. This is hard for a lot of Founders because they don’t want to be told of the challenges and no one wants to hear that their ideas really suck.

6. Lastly, the importance of the Mentor/Advisor was key in my learning process. I learned that to have a useful and helpful Mentor/Advisor can leverage you to learn things faster. Your Mentor/Advisor should not slow you down; these are signs that you need to find a new Mentor/Advisor. I learned that many successful entrepreneurs had great Mentors/Advisors that will not only tell them good things but will challenge your assumptions because they want you to succeed. I also learned from one of our Mentors, (Adrian Li, CEO of Qraved) that your Mentors/Advisors should be N.I.C.E :

N etwork (relevant Network)
I nvestment (open to Invest)
C redibility (Credibility)
E xperience (have Experiences)

In conclusion, I highly recommend for anyone to apply to the Founder Institute as you will learn something new despite of your current expertise and experiences. I came in into the program as an experienced corporate Manager with an MBA and learned many new things how to start my own business that I would’ve never learned on my own. I accomplished exactly what I wanted to accomplish since the beginning of the orientation assignment of the Founder Institute. Thanks for your time reading this post. Good luck!

“Live your life and learn everyday.”

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