RUNWAY is a pre-incubation program at the Santa Fe Business Incubator designed to assist early idea stage individuals and teams in assessing the market potential of their idea and equipping them with the necessary information to make an informed go or no-go decision. Pre-incubation programs are specifically for individuals or teams that have been working on a business idea for a short period of time and who are ready to better form the idea into a working business concept and test the idea by speaking with potential customers and networking with business leaders in the community.
RUNWAY was initially designed as an individual one-on-one program with tailored meetings between the Santa Fe Business Incubator's staff and someone with a business idea. RUNWAY followed a set packet that guided these interactions. The Santa Fe Business Incubator has relaunched RUNWAY as a cohort based program bringing in business experts and mentors to guide participants through a six week curriculum that introduces participants to important startup business topics, guides them through a process of customer identification along with idea and market validation, and networks them into the entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem of Santa Fe.
From the PITCH your way to RUNWAY event the Santa Fe Business Incubator will invite 6 to 7 participants to the RUNWAY cohort. The cohort will start approximately two weeks after PITCH your way to RUNWAY. Invitees will be chosen based on the amount of time they've been working on the idea, how far along the idea is to becoming a business, the overall quality of the pitch, and the ability of the Santa Fe Business Incubator's staff and advisors to help accelerate the growth of the idea if the founder chooses to move forward. RUNWAY as an individual one-on-one program of the Incubator will continue and even if someone is not invited to the cohort they are still able to register for the original iteration of RUNWAY. The fee for the one-on-one program is $200 with that amount eligible to be used for other incubator services once the program is completed successfully. There is no charge for the invite only RUNWAY cohort.
The six week RUNWAY cohort is broken down by week and includes:
Runway Packet: Market Research & Validation Lessons 1 & 2
- Concentrate on being able to adequately describe the product or service
- Emphasis on speaking to the whole cohort and receiving feedback from the group
- Emphasis on identifying the problem that is being solved!
- Does the idea make sense? How can the crucial aspects of the idea be boiled down and made simpler? Does a lay person understand?
- HW: practice explaining the idea. Come back with a 60 second WOW statement/elevator pitch prepared
Runway Packet: Market Research & Validation Lesson 5
- Now that the idea has been refined take a look at the competitive landscape
- What are the basic things that need to be done and what sets the idea apart - use Productivity frontier and/or blue ocean strategy
- Use the group to help source competitors. What is already out there? How is this better?
- HW: Continue working on competitive landscape and strategic differentiators
Runway Packet: Market Research & Validation Lessons 3 & 4
- Use the Customer Map to identify personas of ideal customers
- With the group think of ways to validate whether those people exist and whether they want your product or service.
- Who is your customer? How will you find them and what will you ask to validate that your idea solves a problem for them? What will you do with the information? What connections can the SFBI, mentors, etc. provide to help?
- HW: Go and start collecting information
Runway Packet: Pricing, Strategy & Cash Flows Lessons 6 & 7
- How will the product or service be priced? What will the market bear? Is it a luxury item or a commodity?
- How will you calculate the margin on your product or service? How can you keep them consistent?
- Use the cashflow spreadsheet to begin inputting numbers and figuring out how many sales need to be generated at a certain price to account for expenses and bring in a profit.
- HW: Draft a proforma cash flow for your idea
Runway Packet: Pricing, Strategy & Cash Flows Lessons 8, 9 & 10
- Review the elements of a SWOT Analysis and use your idea to run a SWOT. Use this as an opportunity for group work
- Discussion on the types of funding available and how each individual idea can begin the process of accessing funding
- HW: Research funding available for the individual idea. Use the cash flow proforma to drive the research based on how much startup capital you will need.
Runway Packet: Business Formation
- Recap of everything that has been covered over the previous 5 weeks
- Discussion on the types of business entities and their benefits
- Discussion on the resources available in the community for startups and aimed at particular businesses
- Time to answer any questions and for everyone to fill out a brief survey on the program
All Hands meetings will take place every Wednesday from 5:00pm to 7:30 from March 4th to April 8th. Cohort participants will also have access to the Incubator's coworking space throughout the week and can schedule meetings with mentors, potential customers, etc. in the Incubator's meeting room space.
Following completion of the RUNWAY program every participant will be able to make an informed decision about whether their idea is a right fit for a business and whether it has a reasonable chance of success in the market.