July 7, 2021
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8 minute

Introducing The Academy, an experiential learning program for startup growth

Inside Harvest

How can founders and intrapreneurs master the fundamentals of startup growth?

Ask most entrepreneurs what the key to long term success is and they’ll probably answer that it’s continuous, lifelong learning. 

But how do you know where to start? 

What if you’re a first-time founder with limited time and resources? 

What if you’re missing key pieces of information that help you evolve from subject matter expert with a cool idea to the founder and CEO of a successful business?

The Academy, the latest offering from Harvest Builders, presents a solution to this problem. The Harvest team consists of people who’ve helped build and scale some of North America’s fastest growing companies. Over the past two years, we’ve helped dozens of founders in the Prairies find product-market fit, scale their marketing, pitch to investors, and hire more people. This experience led us to two important insights: 

  • many founders with deep subject matter expertise and an innovative idea lack key training or experience with vital startup functions like Growth marketing, Finance & Fundraising, and Talent Management
  • there is an overwhelming amount of information geared towards aspiring entrepreneurs (e.g. books, LinkedIn articles/videos, courses, graduate programs) that it’s hard for entrepreneurs to select a path that will teach them what they need without taking up too much time

In short, founders need to know how to acquire customers and hire talent, but they don’t have time to go back to school for Marketing or Human Resources, and they certainly don’t have time to read 100 books on the subject. 

What they need are materials that understand their competing priorities as a founder while giving them actionable lessons they can immediately apply to their business. 

What is The Academy? 

The Academy is an experiential, hands-on learning program where founders and their teams can master the fundamentals of startup growth. Each interactive, online session is led by a resident expert who leverages Harvest’s proven playbook for launching and scaling companies. Participants apply the lessons learned to their own business and at the end of each learning track they leave with a ready-to-execute strategy.

Participants can choose one, two, or all of the following three learning tracks: 

  • Growth Marketing
  • Finance & Fundraising
  • Talent Management

Growth Marketing

In the Growth Marketing track, participants learn how to build a holistic marketing strategy that also aligns with their business objectives. They learn clear, actionable definitions for concepts such as “target audience” and “messaging”, and they identify the best channels and content to use for different marketing objectives. 

Participants attend five interactive online sessions to complete the Growth Marketing track:

  1. Foundations of Research & Buyer Personas
  2. Defining your value to your customers and building your key messaging
  3. Understanding the Customer Journey, Content Types & Channel Strategy
  4. Implementations & Next Steps in Marketing Planning
  5. Marketing Strategy Review

At the end of this learning track, participants leave with a customized Marketing Strategy for their business that they can immediately implement.

Finance & Fundraising

In the Finance & Fundraising track, participants learn how to set up their business so that it’s attractive to investors. They learn about important finance & fundraising activities such as financial planning and forecasting and pick up important tools and processes. 

Participants attend four interactive online sessions to complete the Finance & Fundraising track: 

  1. Understanding Finance: Introduction to Startup Finance Fundamentals 
  2. Extending Your Runway: Strategies for Financial Planning
  3. Fuelling Your Growth: Real-World Strategies for Capital Fundraising 
  4. Decision-Making By The Numbers: Introduction to Financial Model Development

At the end of this learning track, participants leave with a Pitch Deck and Financial Model for their startup. 

Talent Management

In the Talent Management track, participants learn how to identify and articulate their unique employee value proposition, develop hiring roadmaps, and conduct workforce planning exercises. They also learn how to onboard, train, and retain the talent they need, since keeping employees engaged is essential in the early days of a startup. 

Participants attend four interactive online sessions to complete the Talent Management track: 

  1. Marketing Your Workplace: Introduction to Employee Value Proposition Development & Compensation
  2. Hiring for Tomorrow: Strategies in Workforce Planning
  3. Attracting Top Candidates: Understanding the Recruitment Process
  4. Sourcing Great Talent: Advanced Strategies in EVP Marketing & Hiring
  5. People Planning: Identifying the Strengths and Skills Required of Future Hires

At the end of this learning track, participants leave with a Workforce Planning Strategy for their startup. 

What makes The Academy different? 

Two characteristics set The Academy apart from other continuing education programs. The Academy: 

  • offers sessions led by resident experts who have used these practical strategies and tactics to build and scale companies and have up-to-date knowledge from real-world experience
  • focuses on experiential learning, which emphasizes learning through doing, reflecting, and repeating strategies and tactics

Founders and their teams do not need to worry that their time will be taken up learning purely theoretical concepts. The Academy team has designed every workshop and session to be actionable and specifically applicable to founding teams’ practical needs in Growth Marketing, Finance & Fundraising, and Talent Management. These sessions are also designed to reinforce concepts by asking participants to use templates to apply strategies to their own business’ needs. 

Academy participants also enjoy the following benefits: 

  • opportunity to book two 30-minute tutorial slots with the learning track’s subject matter expert
  • access to the Harvest Exchange Community, including events and premium content
  • exclusive discounts from our preferred vendors and partners such as AWS, Goodlaywer, and HubSpot  

How much does The Academy cost?

The Academy costs: 

  • $5,000 for 1 track
  • $10,000 for 2 tracks
  • $13,000 for 3 tracks

Each learning track runs for 4 to 6 weeks, and the first learning track, Growth Marketing, begins Wednesdays in August.

Interested in participating in The Academy? Contact us to register!


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