Schooling should never get in the way of your education

Entrepreneurial Education

It’s exciting to see new entrepreneurship programs popping up at more and more Universities these days. Undergrads are increasingly well equipped to start up or contribute to small entrepreneurial teams, thanks in part to our growing domestic and international focus on technology entrepreneurship at the institutional and cultural levels.

At the same time, there are fewer groups that shun traditional education more than startup entrepreneurs. We pride ourselves on learning by taking action, by stepping forward–even if we misstep. We know some of our best lessons learned are the hardest ones earned, and since we know that we don’t know everything, we are willing to surrender ourselves to the startup curriculum: build, measure, learn, repeat.

But knowledge is power, and if you’re getting all of your new knowledge from your daily work, odds are that you’re limiting yourself and your startup. Mark Twain is right; to catch the trade winds in your sails, you first must leave the harbor.

Check out Startup Digest for local listings of startup events, startup workshops, developer meetups and other ways to leave your safe harbor. And here are a few more ways Indiana entrepreneurs can continue to learn along their startup journey.

Techpoint Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Growth Stage Companies


It’s hard to press pause on your work, but sometimes it only takes one day to provide inspiration, strategies and tactics that you’ll rely on for a long time. If you’ve learned enough along the way to take your startup to growth stage, you won’t want to miss your chance to gain the knowledge that will help your team’s next step the right one. On October 11th, Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Growth Stage Companies will feature speakers and discussions with experienced professionals like Rich Rella of BidPal, Jeremy Dearringer of Digital Relevance, Sean O’Connor of Flat12 Bierwerks, Don Aquilano of Allos Ventures, and Mike Fitzgerald of Gravity Ventures. The agenda for this daylong workshop includes:

  • Stories from the Trenches: “The Rise of Flat12 Bierwerks “How Flat12 Bierwerks grew from a crazy idea into one of the hottest local breweries in Indy, with striking similarities to software-as-a-service and other tech startups.
    • Fundraising
    • Buying Out a Co-founder
    • Product Considerations and Marketing
    • Creating a Board of Directors
    • Regulations and Licensing
    • Distribution Channels
  • Mock Investor Negotiation
  • Protecting Yourself vs. Protecting the Business
  • Human Resources and Employment Law: “The Do and Don’t List”
  • Preparing for Funding: How Diagnotes Attracted Capital
  • Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies Panel
  • Growth-Stage Investors Panel
  • “Ask the Experts” Small Group/1-on-1 Time

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekends are 54-hour hands-on sprints where marketers, designers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to take an idea to fruition over a weekend. The events are great for sharpening the skills you already have while working with new teammates to pick up others. Other learning opportunities at Startup Weekends include determining if a startup idea is viable, pitch practice, lean startup methodology implementation on a new problem, and more. At the end of the weekend, teams demo their products and receive feedback from the panel of experts and the community.

Entrepreneur Training for Specific Skills

Pragmatic Marketing


Marketing is about so much more than messaging. The best modern marketers understand customer identity building, win/loss analysis, go-to-market strategies, and more. Product management, inbound, outbound–entrepreneurs pursuing marketing skills today will certainly be doing their well by their startups. I attended the Practical Product Marketing training from Pragmatic Marketing last year, where I picked up their framework (which I love). This type of training can be expensive to attend, but most attendees agree: its worth it.

Individual Google Adwords Certification

Google Adwords Individually Qualified certification brings skills in search media and online advertising that startups need to succeed. If your startup advertises online, someone on your team should either already have this certification or be working toward it. The world of online advertising changes quickly; some of the most well-known principles of search have been stale for years, and one of these certifications helps to ensure that you aren’t left behind.

Get out of your safe harbor and learn something.

Let me know how you like to learn as an entrepreneur in the comments or on twitter!