Last weekend, Jessi and I traveled with 18 students of the Center for Entrepreneurship to Black Coral Island. Black Coral is a small barrier island that you can rent for a reasonable price and offers solitude and a breathtaking natural environment. The students spent hours playing volleyball, swimming, and dancing during the night. We also had several talented cooks who made the group sashimi, grilled tuna, and marinated chicken.
Although the students spent much of their time simply enjoying the time away, they also learned the basics of the Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas begins with a single piece of paper that gives its user the ability to sketch out a business. It includes a section for the needs and problems, customer segments, unique value proposition, costs, revenue, and other important aspects of a successful business.
I provided small student groups a Business Model Canvas with the needs/problems filled out. Each group worked with me on developing creative solutions to these needs/problems and to complete the rest of the canvas. Groups imagined businesses to fit the FSM’s unique needs, including a taxi app, a reef conservation cooperative, a employer/employee matchmaking service, healthy snack options, and others. The groups then spent the next 24-hours testing their ideas by surveying other students on their services and prices. The results varied from some teams actually undervaluing their services and eventually increasing their prices to other groups that had do a complete pivot on their idea.
In the end, the students learned that getting business ideas off the ground doesn’t always require a 60 page business plan. Instead, they can quickly come up with an end-to-end business model and then adjust through market research and testing before they fully commit to an idea.
It was a really fun weekend full of great food, fun, and breakthroughs. We plan to host another one next semester so please stay tuned.