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One of two in-person sessions over the 5-month Fellowship

Over the last decade, 3 Day Startup has delivered in-person entrepreneurship and innovation programming to 15,000 individuals in 35 countries.

As learning modalities and tools providing greater scale and scope become available, how can we adapt our model to achieve maximum impact?

Before 2018, our biggest virtually-delivered program was our 3DS Certified Facilitator Training program, which equips facilitators to deliver our Foundations program through a series of videos and resources.

That changed in early 2018 when we landed a project with the U.S. Department of State that provided the support to take our online programming to the next level.

Meridian International Center (the project lead) and the U.S. Department of State asked us to build the “Entrepreneurship Institute,” a combined in-person and online entrepreneurship learning component of the Young Leaders of the Americas Program (YLAI). This 5-month program, aimed at entrepreneurs leading startups and scale-ups (1-3 years along in their ventures), serves 250 Latin American and Caribbean entrepreneurs distributed across 36 countries.  

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Our challenge was to build 13 online modules spanning five months alongside a handful of in-person modules. We call this approach Hybrid Learning because of the combination of in-person and virtual learning opportunities. In blending the scalability and convenience of online modules with the adaptability and energy of in-person programming, 3DS is able to achieve higher impact in entrepreneurial communities around the world.    

Each online module consisted of a short, engaging video paired with an experiential assignment. For example, the mentorship module video provided an overview of mentor/mentee relationships and the assignment provided a breakdown of how to identify and email a potential mentor. Participants shared their email drafts in the platform, promoting best practices and peer learning. The result? Entrepreneurs equipped to build relationships to advance their enterprises.

The experiential assignment is an important aspect of the program, given our roots in immersive learning-by-doing. Rather than listen to a lecture about the importance of customer discovery, we know that transformative change happens when a participant attempts a real-world customer interview and learns from the experience. Through our Hybrid Learning model, we can teach virtually and still create this crucial transformative moment.  

Modules covered topics such as:

  • Best Practices in Mentorship
  • Creating Your Strategic Action Plan and Long Term Goals (video)
  • Build A Social Mission Into Your Company’s DNA
  • Scaling Your Business and Learning From Failure 
  • Funding Your Business, Part 2: FFF, Angel Investors, Accelerators/Incubators, Venture Capital (video)
  • Addressing Global Challenges Through Entrepreneurship
  • The Future of Business – Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and AR/VR

While the assignments and cohort discussion occurred within a private online platform (Canvas LMS), the videos linked above paint a picture of how the modules worked.

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One of the more high energy in-person components

In addition to the above modules, 3DS developed and managed other synchronous and asynchronous resources for the Entrepreneurship Institute:

  • Live Mentor Sessions: Virtual mentor talks, office tours, and Q&A sessions delivered through Facebook Live
  • Live Chat Sessions: Weekly sessions for participants to ask questions and receive more guidance as they progressed through the modules
  • Curated Resource Library: Deeper resources about entrepreneurship topics 
  • Virtual and In-Person Training Sessions: For program partners so that they were aware of how the Entrepreneurship Institute fits into the overarching structure of the YLAI Fellowship program, caught up on content, and aligned as far as goals and stakeholders.

The Entrepreneurship Institute was a huge success and we are poised to deliver it again next year alongside our fantastic partners: Meridian International and the U.S. Department of State. We are deeply grateful to them for the opportunity and eager to continue with this exciting new approach to developing entrepreneurs on a global scale.

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