Access to capital is the lifeblood that fuels the growth of promising new companies, but raising capital is a daunting challenge for even seasoned entrepreneurs. That's why a program that originated in the Research Triangle of North Carolina - Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur - has been adopted by business leaders here in Idaho.
IRE, as we call the program, was created by the North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center. This critically acclaimed program will be taught at Boise State University on May 2-3. Sponsored by the Idaho SBDC, Idaho Technology Council, Boise Angel Alliance and KeyBank, this program will provide an insider's look into the world of equity funding. Entrepreneurs can apply for the program at VentureReadyIdaho.com before the deadline, Friday, April 19.
Although this program was created by a technology deployment center, it's intended to meet the needs of any startup or growing company that requires funding. It was developed through direct input from experienced entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists. Since its deployment, many entrepreneurs have benefited from the accelerated training on raising capital. In fact, one entrepreneur commented that in the course of one day, he learned more about the equity investment process and procedures than he learned in several months going through the process.
What differentiates this program from other "pitch" programs in Idaho is that Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur takes a comprehensive approach to helping entrepreneurs prepare for nearly every aspect of working with investors. It goes beyond "the pitch" by teaching entrepreneurs to examine market opportunities, quantify their funding needs, put together the best team and structure their deal.
The program will also give an insider's look at equity funding through teaching participants what investors look for and expect from companies they fund. Understanding what investors look for and how to approach them will help participants make each deal a win-win opportunity for the entrepreneur and for the investor.
Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur will also help entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls that prevent them from raising capital. For example, entrepreneurs commonly aren't able to clearly articulate their business models and have insufficient research, poor financial projections or unrealistic valuations of their businesses. Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur will teach entrepreneurs how to avoid these mistakes and more through its rigorous and proven training program.
To help us launch Idaho's inaugural Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur program, members of the Idaho Technology Council and their cosponsors are bringing in two veterans of the program from the North Carolina program who will use a "train-the-trainer" approach to help the Idaho program become self-sustaining. To provide as much individual training time as possible to each applicant, no more than 25 participants will be admitted into this year's program, and each participant will be screened based on company and entrepreneurial status. Participants who go through this program will obtain access to top Idaho investors and serial entrepreneurs. To help attendees remember key principles taught during the program, each participant will also receive a comprehensive workbook that reviews best practices on raising equity capital.
To make Idaho a more attractive landscape for investors, we need to help our entrepreneurs prepare to successfully navigate the funding process. This program will dramatically shorten the time for Idaho entrepreneurs to raise capital, help entrepreneurs to be more strategic in raising capital and increase the visibility of Idaho entrepreneurs.
If you're ready to take your business to the next level of growth, apply to join us on May 2-3 to learn best practices in raising equity capital. Every entrepreneur serious about raising capital should make the investment in this program.