Startup Institute: 'We want to help people find careers they love'
By Alex Hern, theguardian.com,
|Aaron O'Hearn, the co-founder|
With every multimillion dollar acquisition deal, the technology startups space must seem more enticing to those stuck in unfulfilling jobs. As interest in the sector grows, there's an increasingly competitive market for retraining courses that offer the chance of fulfilment, excitement – and a slice of the pie.
Initiatives from the government, industry and the charitable sector all exist to help potential entrepreneurs gain the skills and confidence they will need to launch their own business. Many still fail, but not through lack of aid.
The same is less true of those who come after. Joining a start-up, whether as employee two or two hundred, frequently takes almost as much courage and talent as setting out alone. Organisations such as Steer and General Assembly offer the opportunity to learn portable skills like coding or marketing, but without the specific focus on small companies.
Startup Institute started in Boston as an attempt to correct that imbalance, and launches in the UK and Berlin on Tuesday.
The company, which also operates in New York and Chicago, runs eight-week training courses supporting workers making the switch from a safer career into one at a new company. Although the courses include elements of practical skills, such as basic web development or design, they also focus on less tangible qualities.
"The ideal person that works for a startup is is three things," says Aaron O'Hearn, the co-founder and chief executive of Startup Institute. "Firstly, they are a continuous learner. Whether it's in their work, their personal life, their hobby, they're constantly absorbing new knowledge and learning how to apply it.
"They're always looking for a better way, they're always looking to understand something better, so they can do it more efficiently or more enjoyably. And the third thing is that individuals who work for startups, who have success there, are generally very aware. They have emotional intelligence.
"From a company perspective, these things are super critical. As an early-stage startup, I don't have the ability to train people on these three categories. I expect them to understand how to deliver, understand how to be self-directed, and understand how they're perceived by their team.
"Now, the reality is, most people are not these three things. But most successful companies absolutely and unequivocally have these characteristics on their early teams."
O'Hearn is keen to stress that it's not only the attendees who get the benefits of the Startup Institute launching. "In general the London startup ecosystem is incredibly active and bustling. London is starting to develop a fantastic capital infrastructure, and the early stage economy is growing really rapidly, but there's one thing which will gate all these company's ability to grow, which is great talent."
The company's London launch has been endorsed as "great news" by Matthew Hancock, the minister of state for skills and enterprise, while Joanna Shields, the chief executive of Tech City UK, said it "is well timed".
"A healthy pipeline of talented, skilled individuals is essential" to sustaining the capital's growth, she added. "It’s very exciting news for Tech City.”>>>