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Development of New Ventures

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

The preparation we were tasked with for our New Venture Development class was essential for anyone looking to start a business. My posts usually refer to class activities but this post will focus mainly on the material we read before class. A lot of the reading and references seem to point me back to my experience with Babatunde. I suspected, before I began the course, that a lot of the course’s content would remind me of different experiences both positive  and negative that I have had with my small business. I was correct. It’s great to look back at the experiences with new knowledge and make sense of why certain situations happened and why other opportunities perhaps failed to materialise. In some ways it’s a privileged position to be in, both for this course as well as shaping my future.

The Lean Start Up method is about learning what your customers really want and learning it quickly. The method encourages continuous testing of what you think your customers might want and adapting your product or service based on the results, and doing this before you run out of money (Ries, 2011). This method of starting a business is fairly new and contradicts the slightly older method of perfecting a product or service before it goes to market. If you think you have a good idea for a business, this book and it’s simplified model of business growth will help you to get a good measure of whether your idea will make money or be a hobby fairly quickly. It also provides ways of expanding your ideas and figuring out solutions for any problems you may be encountering in developing your idea/s.

The 20 Reasons Start-Ups Fail report was really interesting for me. Again, alot of it related to Babatunde and why the business isn’t where I’d like it to be. Judging from the report, I would say the reasons we struggled were running out of cash followed by burn out. In my opinion it is possible that the cashflow issues resulted in the burn out eventually. Financial stress always seems to be a problem which can be fixed with a few tweaks or perhaps more severe pivots. Unfortunately the changes I attempted with Babatunde didn’t have the desired effect on our cashflow so I got to a point where I felt there was nothing I could do to rectify this. Thereafter motivation and innovation became difficult which is what I felt to be burn out. According to CB Insights 8% of start-ups fail due to burn out.

The Global Start Up Ecosystem Report was an insightful report. The report contained many facts and a plentitude of numbers and statistics. It was interesting to see where in the world start-ups are thriving and growing in number. I learnt alot about fintech, adtech and edtech and their respective differences from this report. What I found most interesting, and somewhat disappointing, about this report however, was the lack of data on Africa. The same could be said of South America. These continents need entrepreneurs the more than the continents with developed economies. I understood that the organisation responsible for the report aims to have more countries involved in order to create a wider platform for entrepreneurs. Hopefully the success of start-ups in Developed Nation’s cities will trickle down to the developing economies in the near future. It makes me wonder how I can help in connecting the developed start ups with start-ups from developing nations to help them grow.

In the afternoon Luke Ducker spoke to us about his experience in MACE and his start-up which he runs with his brother. Luke started a sound studio and film production company after finishing his MACE course at Kingston. Some sound advice was offered to us in relation to the course as well as starting a company.

The days class ended with a visit to the Bright Ideas Launch in the atrium of the Business School. The finalists of last years competition were all presenting their ideas. In terms of New Venture Development, it was great to see ideas which started small, carefully developed to a level where they are developed products or services which are presentable and close to scaling up further. A former MACE student, Kaya, was one of the finalists with her protective clothing line for dancers named Danzza. I think it was inspiring for our whole class to see how well she had done with her idea that she came up with in the Design Thinking for start-ups module. However, to be fair, all the finalists products or services were very inspiring and well presented.

Bibliography –

CB Insights. The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail

Ries, E. (2011). The lean startup : How constant innovation creates radically successful businesses. London: Portfolio Penguin.

Start Up Genome. (2019). Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Available at (accessed 5 January 2020)

Guests enjoying the presentations of the Bright Ideas finalists.


Published by fortysomethingrebirth

I am a South African from Jo'burg. I love football, music (mainly from the Caribbean) and design. I am currently studying a Masters of Managing in the Creative Economy at Kingston University in London.

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