Being an entrepreneur is often more challenging than expected. You can often feel alone and don’t know where to start. That’s why Start-up Leadership Program aims to cultivate a community for entrepreneurs to learn about how to do a star-up together. Originating in Boston in 2006, SLP has rapidly spread to 20 cities around the world across America, Asia and Europe. Last year, SLP was only launched in Beijing and Hong Kong in Asia. This year, the program has expanded to include Shanghai and Taipei.

Start-up Leadership Program is a global 6 month, non-profit, min-MBA program for ambitious entrepreneurs that are working on their start-up. SLP recruits start-ups across the tech, bio-tech, energy and social-enterprise industries. As a highly-selective program, SLP is looking for the best entrepreneurs in each city. The course teaches fellows critical lessons about how to build a product or service, how to build a team, how to fund raise, how to negotiate with investors and how to successfully exit a start-up. The program is lead by the fellows and everyone must contribute to the program by organizing classes, teaching classes and inviting speakers. The goal is to bring industry experts who have relevant experience to the class being taught; for example, venture capital investors might advise on how to raise money, lawyers will advise on how to negotiate a term sheet and successful entrepreneurs will advise on how to build a product and a team.

SLP Beijing 2012 Graduation Day

Last year, I was one of the fellows from the first Beijing chapter and am now a Co-Program Leader for Beijing in conjunction with Yoyao Hsueh from MashUp Asia. Our role will be to ensure the next Beijing chapter runs smoothly and help guide the class of fellows to get the most out of the program. For me, besides learning a lot about how to build a start-up, one of the biggest benefits of joining SLP, is the strong global network of like-minded entrepreneurs who can help you in unimaginable ways. Some teams were even formed among our fellows throughout the program. The connections are invaluable and intelligent, driven and well-resourced people are only a phone call away. From time to time, there are global calls where any fellow can join in and listen to great speakers such as Brad Feld, a Managing Director of Foundry Group and co-founder of TechStars.  Many start-ups who have gone through the program have gone onto other programs such as TechStars and have risen significant funding or successfully exited.

As a non-profit program that does take a lot of effort and resources to pull-off, sponsors, mentors and advisers are critical. In Beijing last year, we were fortunate to be often hosted by premiere law firm, Cadwalader, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Matrix Ventures. We also invited passionate and wise speakers such as Stephen Wang from Alive.cn, Richard Robinson from Youlu, Frank Yu from Kwestr, Ming Yong from Google, Zhang Chen from Yahoo. Although non-profit, SLP has managed to pull together some great people whose thoughts and advice are invaluable.

For SLP Beijing 2013, we are looking to recruit a class of 25 fellows. Start-ups can be from a range of industries such as tech, bio-tech, life-sciences, social or non-profit and we encourage a diverse range of start-ups to apply.

Here are the general rules and requirements we are looking for in the new batch of fellows:

  • Only one member from each start-up team should apply
  • Applicants should be already working on an idea or have a beta
  • Start-ups must be less than two years old
  • Applicants must be fluent in English
  • Applicants must be committed to the program and be able to contribute to it

The 2013 program will commence in September and will finish in March 2013.

For more information, please check out http://www.startupleadership.com and to apply, please fill out the form here. Note that you can also apply to any chapter around the world from this form.

We look forward to seeing your applications and kick-starting the next SLP chapter!