The Capacity Entrepreneurship Programme provides an integral learning experience to unlock and harness the entrepreneurial potential of persons with refugee and migrant backgrounds. The bilingual programme is designed to develop entrepreneurs and support them in transforming their idea into a real entrepreneurial business or project, as well as in taking the first steps to enter the Swiss Market.
Along the way, aspiring entrepreneurs engage with a series of tools, workshops, group activities, assignments and challenges that allow them to learn from peers and experts that will support their development of skills and ideas.
Through this programme, they develop and strengthen entrepreneurial skills such as:
- Creative thinking
- Planning and organising skills
- Communication skills
- Decision making
- Financial Modeling
The programme is divided into three phases: LAUNCH (ideation), BOOST (entry market) and ELEVATE (active coaching and mentoring and independent work).
Phase One - LAUNCH - (March – June)
LAUNCH is the three-month ideation phase of the programme providing foundational entrepreneurship, personal and prototyping skills for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The goals of this phase are:
- to equip participants with the skills to ideate and design innovative entrepreneurial projects through creative thinking
- to guide a self-assessment to learn about themselves and improve their readiness to begin their entrepreneurial journey
- to introduce aspiring entrepreneurs to Swiss business practices and the Swiss entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure a safe and meaningful start of their early-stage projects
At the end of Launch, participants are expected to have an Elevator Pitch, the first building blocks of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) and a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Phase Two - BOOST - (September - November)
BOOST is the second phase and it focuses on developing a solid foundation for new business and social projects to prepare entrepreneurs to enter the Swiss market.
This phase of the programme also supports the growth of start-ups by:
- Strengthening the network of experts and influential individuals from the financial industry and establishing partnerships with other incubators and accelerators
- Providing access to experienced specialists across different sectors
- Mentoring and coaching by experienced entrepreneurs and business experts
** This phase is open to all participants who have already participated in Capacity or new applicants whose projects are more advanced.**
By the end of this module, participants will have a comprehensive Business Model Canvas, and the knowledge and tools to develop a Business Plan and a Pitch Deck, which provides a clear roadmap forward.
Phase Three - ELEVATE - (News will soon follow)
ELEVATE is a one-month phase and the last one of the Entrepreneurship Programme. It is designed to enable entrepreneurs to work independently and apply the programme’s learnings. During this month they write their business plan and pitch decks, and collect feedback from their mentors and coaches. At the same time, participants benefit from a number of interactive coaching events and optional workshops on relevant topics to strengthen their projects.
***This phase is also open to Capacity alumni as a multi-purpose opportunity to further develop and improve their business or non-profit organisations, expand their local network, meet and support the new group of entrepreneurs and stay connected to the Capacity community.***
At the end of Elevate, participants deepen their knowledge on topics around business and personal development, complete a validated Business Plan & Pitch Deck, master their Pitching and Public Speaking Skills, and benefit from a larger and Solid Local Network.
- Refugee background or coming from a country at risk of a humanitarian disaster.
- An interesting and viable initiative for-profit or non-profit.
- Commitment to the programme and the development of the project.
- Disposition to work independently on the project for an average of 5 to 10 hours per week.
By the end of the Capacity Entrepreneurship Programme, entrepreneurs are ready to register their business or non-profit organisations. They celebrate their achievements in a Pitch Party, a public event in which they present their business or non-profit organisations and make the most of this valuable networking opportunity.
What is the approach of the Capacity entrepreneurship programme?
Through tested methodologies such as Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Effectuation, participants develop their creative thinking for problem-solving and apply it to all business areas of their projects.
Aspiring entrepreneurs get access to more than a business curriculum. They also receive guided training that includes finding their own measure of success and learning about themselves, their skills, and how to navigate the entrepreneurial journey. A personal development process that also enhances and transforms their professional career.
Where is the programme based?
We are currently based in Zurich and accept participants from the greater Zurich area. If you live outside of the greater Zurich area and would like to participate, please note that we are not able to cover any accommodation costs you may have as a result of the programme. If you need support to cover some of the transport costs contact us.
What does it cost to participate?
The cost of our programme is divided as follows:
100.- Sfr for LAUNCH, 200.- Sfr for BOOST and 50.- Sfr for ELEVATE.
***There are flexible payment solutions
What language does the mentoring programme use?
Our programme takes place in English and German. We expect all our participants to have at least an intermediate level B1-B2 in German or English.
Oftentimes workshops, groups sessions and events are in English with simultaneous translation in German.
Mentoring takes place in the language the mentor and the mentee agree on.
What can a mentor do for an entrepreneur?
At Capacity, we focus on supporting individuals to achieve their full personal and professional potential through entrepreneurship. Through the entrepreneurship programme, we provide each participant with a mentor who will help them to understand the basic concepts around Lean Start-Up Methods.
Our mentors are individuals with experience in Swiss businesses or start-ups contexts, often both in Switzerland and internationally, and with local networks that they will use to support their mentees.
Typically, a mentor will support a mentee on the following fronts:
- Ideation: mentors will support mentees to shape your idea into a realistic business model
- Administrative: mentors may help mentees understand forms (especially if mentee does not speak German and they do)
- Pitch: mentors typically support their mentees by co-developing a pitch and identify methods to approach potential partners and funders
- Resource allocation: A mentor may support a mentee in finding the necessary resources to test and launch the start-up idea
- Network: A mentor can help a mentee by building connections and a network within Zurich and beyond
- Learn from their mentee: Many of our mentors state that they also learn a lot from their mentees. Mentors will receive comprehensive training on how to benefit and learn from their mentee’s wealth of experiences
A mentor will NOT:
- Become a business partner unless both parties are happy with this arrangement
- Fund or otherwise financially support their mentee’s project
- Necessarily be an expert in the mentee’s exact same field. Mentees are expected to bring specialist knowledge for their respective fields.
- Necessarily support their mentee after the end of the Programme