The Entrepreneurship Support Value Chain Training Program


 An entrepreneurial ecosystem should be set to provide jointly the set of services entrepreneurs need to effectively launch a sustainable company. The startup enablers and the surrounding ecosystem should therefore be capable of designing and implementing an Entrepreneurship Support Value Chain (ESVC) that provides the appropriate services, tailored to the reality where it is embedded. Potential entrepreneurs need to be stimulated to start a business, supported in the pre-start phase, where concepts are validated, helped in the launch phase, where they need to overcome the “valley of death”, and finally, accompanied during the expansion phase, where they grow organically and scale.  


 The capacity development program takes participants along this journey.


Essentials of entrepreneurship program development

This workshop is targeted to people who are new to the industry and need to be brought up to speed on what incubation and acceleration really are. Whether you are setting up a new incubator or have just been appointed to a new job within an incubator, this workshop will help you navigate the industry and give you ideas about how to shape your own program.

Supporting entrepreneurs in the start-up phase and then delivering proper services during the first years of the life of an enterprise is no easy feat and certainly not one to be taken lightly. If you are a coach, you will be working with real people who will share their visions and dreams with you. Incubators, innovation centers and entrepreneurship centers are among the places that provide constant support. However, the services they offer vary according to the type of entrepreneur, the type of firm being set up and the local context where the entrepreneur operates.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Identify the essential ingredients of the entreprenuership support value chain
  • Appreciate the essential components of the various elements of the ESVC
  • Understand the key factors that make an entrepreneurship support program successful from stimulation to scale-up
  • Productively adopt the mindset of program management and start-up support

 Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for newcomers to the incubation and acceleration industry, for managers and key staff members of existing incubators, and for whoever is thinking of opening and running a business support program.

Course Outline

Day 1: From idea to start-up

  • Incubators and accelerators in their own ecosystem
  • Entrepreneurship stimulation and lead generation
  • The selection process
  • The pre-incubation proces
  • Idea validation: Proof or concept, technology, business and teams
  • Business modelling
  • Business planning
  • Access to finance

Day 2: From start-up to scale-up

  •  Incubating start-ups: services and methodologies
  • The right mix of services
  • Physical vs Virtual incubation
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Access to finance
  • The first client
  • Born local vs Born global
  • Internationalization support

Entrepreneurial ecosystem development

The economic growth of a region depends in no small part on the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. That ecosystem must nourish the local entrepreneurial community and the innovators that will enable growth to happen, but every region, every local territory, every actual environment has its own particular features. Entrepreneurship responds to the conditions where it is embedded, and these vary greatly from place to place and over time. Getting it right is not easy, and managing the process whereby local stakeholders agree on a common vision is also complex.

In this two-day workshop, which combines elements of both training and technical assistance, local actors, institutions and players from the public and private sectors of a local territorial ecosystem will work together to understand how to best establish and run entrepreneurial support services in their local context. Through an analysis of the needs of local entrepreneurs and by adapting the business-support-service value chain, the workshop will stimulate the participants to forge a shared vision of the territory and arrive at a common understanding of who should be doing what, how to get there, and with what resources.

 This workshop will enable you to:

  • Understand how your own ecosystem works
  • Understand your positioning within your ecosystem
  • Map out how you can better interact with your ecosystem to ensure improved support to your entrepreneurs
  • Know what resources are necessary and how to find them

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for key players of local ecosystems who are already or will be engaged in setting up an entrepreneurship support program.

Course outline

Day 1: From theory to practice

  • How to conduct a business service needs assessment
  • Business service needs assessment in practice
  • The business service value chain in theory
  • The business service value chain in your context
  • Ecosystem analysis in theory
  • Ecosystem analysis in your context

 Day 2: From analysis to action

  • Business services and ecosystem in theory
  • Business services and ecosystem in your context
  • Entrepreneurship stimulation and lead generation
  • Pre-start
  • Launch
  • Growth
  • Defining a plan of action
  • Budget: who pays?
  • Action planning in your own context

Incubator and accelerator business modelling

Financial sustainability is essential if you want to have a maximum positive impact on your community. In many countries, incubators and accelerators are handicapped by inadequate resources and cannot exploit their full potential, and this lessens their impact.

Whether public, private, or a mix of the two, entrepreneurship support programs need to find the right balance in their own revenue streams, to ensure that they can continue to deliver outstanding business and innovation services to the entrepreneurial communities they serve. Given the nature of incubators and the scope of their outreach, such a balance is not easy to attain.

Incubators are aggregators and service providers that work within various ecosystems at local, national and international level. By applying the specific methodologies taught in this workshop, managers and key staff members will be able to build a model that will facilitate the sustainability of their organizations’ operations, enhancing their chances of success in delivering high-impact support programs.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Define the business model of your entrepreneurship support program and incubator
  • Set value propositions and define your customer segments
  • Define key partners and terms of engagement
  • Understand what resources are necessary and how to find them
  • Maximize your own potential

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is designed for incubator and accelerator managers and key staff members.

Course Outline

Day 1: From theory to practice

Defining the context

  • Catchment area
  • Attraction factors
  • Sector-specific or generalist
  • Competition vs coopetition vs cooperation

The business model within the service value chain

  • Outreach and stimulation
  • Preincubation programs
  • Incubation and acceleration services
  • Scaling up

Day 2: From analysis to action

  •  Defining the business model
  • The long-term strategy
  • Getting ready: key actions in the short term
  • Where do we go from here?

Coaching the entrepreneur's journey

A good coaching program can make the difference between success and failure of innovative startups. It is therefore mandatory for any business support organization to set up a coaching program that is built around the needs of the entrepreneurs they are set to serve. Coaching is a crucial service that needs to be delivered seriously and empathically and holds a prominent position within the prestart and the startup support phases of the local entrepreneurship support service value chain. Both hard and soft skills need to be acquired by whoever engages in coaching activities. Indeed, coaches will have an influence on the dreams and expectations of people and on the success or failure of teams. It is a job that needs to be taken seriously by engaging in continuous technical improvement through the mastering of specific tools and processes designed around the needs of the entrepreneurs. It is a job that needs to be taken with commitment and dedication, by engaging with the entrepreneurs emphatically, factoring in diverse cultures, and a variety of personal needs. Coaching is a combination of science and art.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Understand the elements and process to set up an effective coaching service
  • Have an overview of the skills necessary to successfully master coaching
  • The “must do” and the “must avoid” when coaching an entrepreneur
  • Understand the hard and soft skills key to a successful coaching service
  • Have an overview of the most effective tools existing to ensure proper coaching services

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is designed for managers and key staff members of entrepreneurship support organizations actively involved in coaching services and for individuals who want to become a coach.

Course outline

Day 1: The “good” coach

  • Mindset, Tool set, Skill set, and Strategy
  • Directing, advsing, mentoring and coaching
  • Setting up a coaching relationship
  • The coaching conversation

Day 2: putting coaching in a startup context

  • The entrepreneurs’ journey
  • Coaching in the pre-start phase
  • Coaching in the launch phase
  • Coaching in the growth phase
  • Creating a coaching program


Setting up an effective pre-start program

Whether incubators and accelerators are oriented to local economic development and aim to create stable jobs, or are oriented to high-growth and aim at high profitability through disruptive innovation, they all need to produce a positive impact. Lead generation is therefore something all incubators must engage in, either themselves, by acting to attract innovators and/or entrepreneurs, or through other ecosystem players.

Stimulating the entrepreneurial community of your territory is essential if you want to reach maximum impact. Yet, all too often this activity is considered superfluous or assigned a low priority: the consequences can be seen in inefficiencies and poor impact. Incubators need to select those ideas that have a real chance of success. So stimulation is just the first step. Then it is necessary to provide support to any hopeful entrepreneur to actually prove the business case. In short, incubators need to set up a pre-incubation program that efficiently helps prospective entrepreneurs to validate their ideas.

This two-day workshop will explore the various possibilities and methods of stimulating the potential entrepreneurs of your region to think entrepreneurially and to engage with you in developing ideas, opportunities and businesses. It will provide methodologies and tools that can be used by coaches and staff members of incubators and accelerators in developing a sound pipeline.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Set up an efficient selection process
  • Master the key services of a pre-incubation process
  • Understand how to support entrepreneurs in the ideation and design phase
  • Apply methodologies to seek technology and market validation
  • Understand and master proof of concept, proof of technology and proof of business
  • Assess teams and competencies

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for incubator and accelerator managers and key staff members actively involved in entrepreneurship support programs.

 Course outline

Day 1: Selection and first support

  • The elements of the selection process of a business incubator: What works and what does not
  • External or internal selection process?
  • What to ask for from applicants
  • How to evaluate applications, the interviews, the pitch and the key questions
  • Ensuring alignment with your goals

 Day 2: All about proof

  • Proof of concept
  • Proof of technology
  • Proof of business
  • Team appraisal

Setting up an effective launch program

Helping start-ups survive the “valley of death” is a difficult task that requires an acute ability to read between the lines of the companies’ needs and the maximum possible creativity on the part of the incubator practitioner. During these years, anything can go wrong. The entrepreneurs need to be guided toward minimizing risks and leveraging opportunities. However, the evidence shows that around 87% of the companies that go through a sound incubation program are still in business after their first three years. So sound incubation programs make a difference!

This two-day workshop will help enable your incubator to put in place a state-of-the-art incubation program, analyzing the services needed during the incubation phase of a start-up and assisting you in determining priorities.

 This workshop will be enable you to:

  • Define a mix of optimal services to ensure proper support to selected entrepreneurs in their first years of activity
  • Gain insights on how to design proper entrepreneurial services and on how to execute them efficiently
  • Understand and know how to manage expectations, from start-up and company perspective to stakeholder engagement.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for incubator and accelerator managers and key staff members actively involved in entrepreneurship support programs.

 Course outline

Day 1: Services in the incubation phase

  •  Facility management and pricing
  • Company set-up and legal support
  • Coaching: when and how
  • Mentoring mechanics
  • Access to finance, an overview
  • Private equity vs bootstrapping
  • Housing: physical vs virtual

 Day 2: From theory to practice

  •  Setting up your mix of services
  • Strategic partnering
  • Networking locally, nationally and internationally
  • Business modelling of your incubation activities
  • Equity positions

Supporting international expansion

Preparing a company to go international smartly and wisely is part of the “expansion” services that an incubator may deliver. In doing so, the business support organization needs to be able to rely on a range of trusted connections that will enable companies to pursue opportunities abroad and co-location. International partnering is essential and this workshop will enable you to understand how to set up targeted services and to establish an effective network.

This two-day workshop conducts an all-around exploration of internationalization support. Day 1 leads participants through the best methods and tools to help a company “get ready” to internationalize and take off wisely, while Day 2 highlights and explains the main opportunities offered by international and national networks.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Identify the international opportunities of the companies within your incubation program
  • Support your client companies and tenants for a smart international take-off
  • Have an overview of where to look for international connections and how to approach them
  • Support international companies wanting to investigate and set up shop or do business in your region

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for incubator and accelerator managers and key staff members actively involved in entrepreneurship internationalization support programs..

Day 1: Smart Take-Off 

  • Assessing when a company is ready for international expansion
  • Approaching the international dimension
  • Networking as a service
  • Examining and integrating into your ecosystem
  • Preparing your clients for international growth
  • International coaching strategies
  • Understanding cultural differences
  • Cost assessment, negotiation and pricing structures

 Day 2: Soft Landing 

  • How to get ready to support incoming companies
  • Welcome packages: hard and soft support
  • Cost assessment, negotiations and pricing
  • Networks, local and international partnerships
  • Ecosystem and opportunity building

Financing the entrepreneur's journey

Entrepreneurs need capital to get rolling and to grow. However, accessing capital is not the simplest thing. Whether to go for public grants and loans, pitch for private equity, or venture into the world of alternative finance is a matter of opportunity, choice and pertinence.

This three-day workshop will highlight all the available sources of funding per incubation phase and will provide insights on the what and the how of specific funding opportunities. Participants will learn when and how to facilitate governmental funding versus business angel investment, when and how to facilitate access to bank loans or whether to take the route of setting up a crowdfunding campaign. Participants will learn what it takes to support a company in becoming ready for investment.

This workshop will be enable you to:

  • Understand the different financing formulas and opportunities
  • See how better to support clients in assessing financial opportunities
  • Identify the right financial opportunity for your companies
  • Support companies in accessing the various financial tools available
  • Support companies in accessing private equity
  • Conduct value assessments and support companies in negotiating deals
  • Know the landscape of alternative finance and how to access it

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for incubator and accelerator managers and senior staff members who plan to set up access to funding services.

Course Outline

Day 1: Conventional finance 

  • When, how and where to seek conventional non-equity-based finance (Seed capital, Grants, Bank loans, Guarantee funds)
  • Accessing non-equity-based finance: what are current financial providers looking for and where are the deal-breakers.

Day 2: Conventional finance 

  • When, how and where to seek equity-based finance (Business angel investment, venture capital)
  • The current national state of equity-based finance
  • Preparing for a pitch and collecting feedback
  • Preparing for a just negotiation

 Day 3: Alternative finance 

  • When, how and where to seek alternative finance
  • Crowdfunding (Reward-based, Peer-lending, Equity-based)
  • Blockchain technologies (crypto-currencies, International Coin Offerings) 

All of our workshops can be run physically and/or online and incorporate coaching sessions to ensure adaptability to your context. They are run by seasoned professionals and practitioners of the incubation and acceleration industry. They all combine theory and practice: the elements of each topic will be presented and the work will be implemented in ways that tailor theory to the actual cases raised by workshop participants. 

The workshops devote ample space to assessing the playing fields in which participants operate and are designed to provide know-how and inputs on the practical issues at hand. After completing a workshop, participants will have a clear idea of what can be done in their own organization and local environment to boost entrepreneurship support programs.

Each module pays close attention to the local context, first examining it and then factoring it into the training, with the aim of providing real practical value to participants.

Each module can be accompanied by tailored coaching sessions, to support the application of the methodologies learned within the participants’ contexts and realities.