In the second installment of our new interview series, we chat with the eLab Program Developer Karina Cagarman to find out what makes our eLab’s curriculum so unique.
Karina is finishing her PhD at Technische Universitat Berlin’s Centre for Entrepreneurship while at the same time being the program coordinator for eLab and also teaches various entrepreneurship classes herself. She brings a wealth of entrepreneurial experience to her role here as head of curriculum at eLab.
Karina was tasked with creating a unique and state-of-the-art entrepreneurship crash course that incorporates the best entrepreneurship research and programs worldwide, considers the diverse international backgrounds of eLab participants and delivers a new way of teaching entrepreneurship: short-term, intense, experiential and mind-setting.
In our interview with Karina, we discuss the challenges involved, what part of the curriculum she’s excited about, and how eLab can prepare participants to think and behave more entrepreneurially.
What was most challenging about developing this curriculum?
Combining the most current entrepreneurial tools and a huge amount of student and lecturer feedback to create a unique, state-of-the-art program that creates maximum impact in just six weeks. There are many tools – and there’s a lot of discussion about what entrepreneurs need to know. One hot topic: is writing business plans necessary? We believe they are. After all, banks and investors require them.
What part of the eLab curriculum are you most excited about and why?
To be honest, all of it! It combines the approaches of design thinking, lean startup, and business planning, providing participants with all the tools to solve relevant problems, develop and test solutions efficiently, and convince investors with business planning know-how.
In addition, we highlight the importance of considering future trends and impact. Participants explore impact measurement in a special workshop and learn to consider the effects their products and services may have on society, the environment, and the economy, beyond whether they’ll make money.
What makes eLab stand out?
eLab stands out in so many different ways due to its nature as a unique state-of-the-art program. eLab’s vast network of connections including mentors makes it unique as well as the locations of London and Berlin, start-up hubs with their vibrant ecosystems.
How much has entrepreneurship changed since you first started out?
During the last two decades, entrepreneurship as a discipline has changed a lot. In the beginning, it was all about proper planning based on assumptions. Now it is more about experimenting and using qualitative and quantitative methods to check the assumptions you have about your product or service. Consequently, flexibility, learning ability and an agile management process are key ingredients for future entrepreneurs. Furthermore, entrepreneurship is about solving the problems of potential customers mainly focusing on a human-centered design. Customer involvement and continuous feedback loops are therefore the key ingredients.
How does eLab help participants adopt an entrepreneurial mindset?
eLab helps you see opportunity in everyday problems and learn to select problems worth solving. Creativity-boosting techniques enhance your ability to think outside the box, and teamwork leads to richer solutions, as teammates build on each other’s ideas. Participants also run experiments and work closely with potential customers, listening to feedback to improve their solutions – just like they would in an actual start-up.
Can you give three points of advice for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow?
Take action, learn from failures, and talk to people about your project.
In today’s fast-paced society, it’s essential for future entrepreneurs to have access to the latest information and to think about the effects their business will have on society that reach beyond financial ones.
eLab offers scholarship opportunities such as “community impact”, for those with the desire to make a positive difference in society, and “founding females” – supporting the need for more women in entrepreneurship.
Our pioneering programs will launch in January in both London and Berlin and we look forward to welcoming you onboard.