Launchpad Virtual Sessions

1. Design Thinking and User-centric Design

In this session, teams will learn how to develop their solutions using the design thinking framework for product development. Design thinking is a human-centered, interactive learning process that focuses on customers as people with defined needs and works backward to a technology solution.

Pre-reading materials:

Instructor: Andrea Kobor, Innovation Consultant, World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator

2. The Lean Startup Methodology

In this session, teams will learn about the lean startup method, which teaches how to drive a startup – how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere – and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development.
Pre-reading materials:

Instructor: Kyriacos Koupparis, Head of Frontier Innovations, United Nations World Food Programme  

3. Product Development

This session will work with teams to help them understand the product development process, which is generally a six-stage plan that involves taking a product from initial concept to final market launch. This includes identifying a market need, researching the competition, ideating a solution, developing a product roadmap, and building a minimum viable product (MVP). 

Pre-reading materials:

Instructor: Casey Traylor, Technology & Innovation IT Officer, World Bank Group

4. Business model canvas and value proposition

This session will focus on the Value Proposition Canvas, a tool which can help ensure that a product or service is positioned around what the customer values and needs. It is a detailed look at the relationship between two parts of a broader Business Model Canvas: customer segments and value propositions.
Pre-reading materials:

Instructor: Kevin Dubon, Program Manager

5. Setting up your company - The business of MEL

This session will focus on setting up your company legally and considering other practical aspects of running a successful business using your idea.

Instructors: Kerry Bruce, Vice President for Measurement and Impact, Bixal 

Guest speaker: Siobhan Green, Division Lead, IMC’s Digital and Data Governance and Transformation team 

6. Pitching Your Startup

This session will help the teams to prepare a pitch deck for their startups. A pitch deck presentation — also known as a startup pitch deck or slide deck — is a visual document that provides investors with essential information about the business plan, product or services, fundraising needs, and key metrics like valuation, target market, and financial goals.
Instructor: Kevin Dubon, Program Manager 

7. Financing Your Startup

This session will help you learn about financing your company. This important session will cover aspects of right start-up financing that can give your new business a solid financial base. Working out how to finance your start-up begins with knowing how much money you are going to need and where to find it. This session will also help you to understand what the different types of finance can offer a start-up so that you can get the right financial mix for your business.

Instructor: Zamani Moodie,Operations Officer, Caribbean Development Bank 

8. The Customer Base

This session will help teams understand the basics of identifying and retaining a customer base and the costs associated with it. Customer acquisition refers to bringing in new customers - or convincing people to buy your products. It is a process used to bring consumers down the marketing funnel from brand awareness to purchase decision. The cost of acquiring a new customer is referred to as customer acquisition cost (or CAC for short).

Instructor: Dwayne Samuels, Co-founder, Samelogic 

9. Your MEL brand

This session will help understand the business of owning and operating a MEL company. It will combine the elements learned in earlier sessions and give practical tips and examples from the field on how to create your own brand and its unique proposition to help you acquire customers and retain them.

Instructor: Kerry Bruce, Vice President for Measurement and Impact, Bixal 

10. Analyzing Your Business Performance

This session will help teams to learn how data analytics can be used describe, predict, and inform business decisions in the specific areas of marketing, human resources, finance, and operations. This will help to grow the business and understand the market in real time.

Instructor: Valentine Gandhi, Chief of Party – USAID/Burma MELSA project and Senior Advisor for GEI Launchpad