Date archives "September 2010"

Founder Institute

I have just applied for the Founders Institute program in Singapore. The Founder Institute is a startup-mentorship program with an enviable list of mentors and advisors on their panel. The program is structured around a 16 week course that covers the fundamental aspects of building a solid foundation for any business. The focus is specifically on product driven technology businesses, this is exactly where I want to put all my focus into moving forward. Since the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey I have been primarily in service based businesses. They are easy to setup and I have been most fortunate to have had some great partners who have helped me reach as far as I have. However, most of these businesses have inherent scaling problems, this limits growth and makes it very challenging to grow past a certain size.

Product based technology businesses do not however have such limitations. They have a separate set of challenges that I am hoping that the Founder Institute’s program will assist me in understanding and applying. This program attracts a lot of high quality candidates from around the region and is extremely competitive to get into. The question that comes to mind is why I should be amongst the selected candidates for the program. To make my case and elucidate why I should be selected, I have drafted a letter to Mr. Adeo Ressi (Creator of Founder Institute) below:

Mr. Ressi,

I realize that admission to the Founder Institute program is very competitive. Listed below are 3 reasons why I hope you will give me the opportunity to attend this program:

1. Unique Background: My background of working on several service based businesses in multiple cities in Asia could add substantial value to the group. I have had substantial experience in Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Dubai & Saudi Arabia. I have specifically worked on businesses within the marketing industry. Being a bootstrapped entrepreneur, I have made mistakes and other participants may be able to derive value from those experiences in the region.

2. Brand Outreach: This blog and my twitter feed has a reasonable following and I would use these two mediums heavily during the entire length of the course. This would include summaries on each of the weekly session, take-aways and what I personally get out of each session. This would give other individuals wanting to enter the program a front row seat on what to expect from it. With my deep links in South Asia, this could open up the possibility of further institutes within this area as well.

3. Giving Back: I strongly believe in paying it forward and want to use the knowledge that I gain within the course to help other entrepreneurs who do not have the opportunity or means to attend a Founder Institute program. This is especially the case in countries like Pakistan where we have a rapidly growing entrepreneur base in dire need of direction and structure on how to launch their businesses.

I look forward to meeting you in Singapore soon.

Best Regards

Usman Sheikh

The results for the admission come out on the 27th of September for the early admission. Will keep everyone updated on the outcome. Either way, I think it is a great program and if you have the opportunity to apply and attend the program, it would certainly be a massive boost to your entrepreneurial journey.

Update 28th September:

After patiently waiting to hear from the Founder Institute, I was really happy to learn yesterday that I have been shortlisted for this program.

The next step in the admission process was a psychometric and IQ test.

I have done the test, it was challenging, as also a lot of fun. The IQ section of this test appears to test the prefrontal cortex.

I am going to do some research in this area as it appears that many studies have been conducted in this field to measure the correlation of this type of test, with the success ratio of executives around the world.

It has been quite a while since I took my last IQ test and hence I am looking forward to learning how I fared on it.

It should take another couple of days now till the final list of candidates is selected. Fingers crossed!

Many thanks to everyone for all the kind words I have received from people who regularly read this blog and follow me on twitter!