From education to employment

New course launched to help students create venture backable businesses


@FutureLearn and @FoundersFactory launch new online course to boost skills needed to build the next generation of VC-backable businesses


  • Following huge growth in VC investment in recent years, and in preparation for the ‘new normal’, new partnership aims to develop and inspire entrepreneurial thinking and creativity needed to launch a successful VC-backable business
  • Online course teaches key skills including how to spot opportunities in the market, generate and scrutinise ideas, pitch to potential investors, and ultimately create a viable venture which will be pitched to the Founders Factory Venture Design team for a chance to enter the Founders Factory programme
  • Course will help train the business leaders of tomorrow, support the upskill agenda, and start learners of all ages on the journey to set up their dream business
  • Founders Factory finds that more than 480,000 university students currently, or plan to, run a business while at university, and a third (33%) still want to start a business despite the pandemic

20 October 2020, London, UK: FutureLearn, the UK’s leading social learning platform, and Founders Factory, a world-leading startup studio and accelerator programme, today announce the launch of a new online course,Venture Design: How to create venture backable businesses from scratch”. The course aims to upskill and inspire those who want to learn how to set up a VC-backable business, arming them with practical tips and tricks to turn a dream career into reality.

The search for VC-backable businesses today has only been accelerated by the pandemic, with sectors now in particular focus relating to remote working, healthcare, sustainability and e-commerce. According to industry figures, in 2018 alone, more than $254 billion was invested into new ventures. Going forward, SMEs will play a huge role in rebuilding the economy, and currently account for three fifths of employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. However, there is a clear risk associated with setting up a business, given that on average over 90 percent of new ventures will fail. This course will help learners understand how they can take advantage of their huge potential and opportunities to benefit from VC investment.

“Venture Design: How to create venture backable businesses from scratch” will run over six weeks and be available online to all ages. It will cover the fundamental skills needed to come up with and test new venture ideas from scratch, demystify the venture building process, provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the core skills to identify and develop their own start-up, and provide the means to upskill and reskill for a ‘new normal’ in light of the pandemic.

Hosted on FutureLearn and drawing on expertise from Founders Factory, the course will arm a generation with the skills and confidence to launch new businesses that will regenerate the economy. It will also enable those affected by widespread redundancies and business collapses to seek new opportunities, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a tremendous impact on the job market and wider economy. 

The course will share top tips for launching a VC-backable business, including how to:

  • spot opportunities by looking at markets that are ripe for disruption

  • collect data to better understand unmet customer needs 

  • develop a business plan that outlines your value proposition, ‘go-to-market’ strategy, and distribution plans

  • deliver an investment pitch that is rehearsed but remains authentic

Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer at FutureLearn, said:

“We are so excited to be partnering with an organisation that works with the world’s leading founders and corporates. We hope that this course on building a startup from scratch will inspire our millions of learners to build, fund and scale their own startups, as they are a core driver in our economy and will be more important than ever as we recover from the pandemic. 

“As we experience huge shifts in the ways we learn, work and live, this course will make a great contribution to efforts across the UK to add new skills and capabilities to our workforce and economy.”  

Sahil Sachdev, Head of Venture Design, Founders Factory, said: 

“We’ve learned so much over the last five years about what it takes to build a startup from scratch, from taking that first idea and developing into a concept, through to what it takes for a venture-scale business to succeed. 

“We designed this course to share those learnings, lower the barrier to entrepreneurship, and help more people create and build more venture-backable businesses regardless of their background, age, network or access to capital. For Founders Factory as well, we see this as a great way to engage with founders who are at the beginning Sheof their startup journeys and leave the doors open to learners to pitch their ideas to us.



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