The Threshold Fellowship program lasts for six months. Each cohort will include a group of between twelve and fifteen Fellows and will require a minimum time commitment of approximately five hours per week. The following is a brief overview of the program’s components, with a link to a more detailed description of each component. Seminars are led by PresenTense certified trainers and Round Tables, Mentoring, and Coaching are provided by volunteer experts from the community. The program as a whole is divided into three conceptual stages. These three stages are not linear, but are woven through the six month program:
- Inspiration: Critically examine and diverge from initial ideas.
- Ideation: Converge on a business model and prototype. Test assumptions.
- Implementation: Actualize the final concept.
Learnings occur within in the following components, concluding with Launch Night at the end of June:
- Seminars: The program kicks off each month with a Seminar, giving the Fellows the tools and structure they need to move their venture to the next phase. At the core of our pedagogical model is trans-media theory, enabling us to use narrative storytelling to explain difficult concepts such as value proposition, business model development, operation planning and more.
- Clusters: Fellows are grouped into clusters of three to four, determined either by the stage of the venture and/or the area of focus. The goal of the clusters is to build a practice of reflection and openness to feedback, as well as a community of peer-support to enable to the Fellows to advocate for one another throughout their development. The Fellows meet with their clusters every month. During each cluster, two Fellows are invited to workshop a challenge they are experiencing, and is moderated according to Harvard’s Hotseat methodology.
- Venture Milestones: After participating in each Seminar, the Fellows are responsible to apply the lessons learned and turn in a Venture Milestone assignment; coaches help them along. The Fellows will submit a total of 6 venture milestones throughout the course of the Fellowship, the last of which is an executive summary created from the previous five. By the end of the program, fellows have the foundation for a solid business plan.
- Round Tables are case studies by entrepreneurs that relate the topic of the current phase to their experiences starting their companies. Throughout the course of the Fellowship, Fellows meet with at least six different Round Table presenters.
- Mentors: Drawn from a community’s skilled professionals, mentors support fellows through counsel in an area of expertise, support through potential networking opportunities, and as an example and a role model.
- Launch Night is both an educational opportunity to learn networking and promotion and also a no-holds-barred opportunity for social entrepreneurs to pitch their venture to potential investors and partners in the community. And it’s a whole lot of fun.