Open Court for Startups
Someone starts a business, maybe even get it really launched and see the seeds of progress. But where do they go for advice? The board serves that purpose, but in most small businesses and ventures theyÂ are too close to the fire toÂ be truly objective. You could hire someone such asÂ a consultant, but that costs sparse funds. You could find random experienced business people for input, but that’s a lot of work. Here’s a new idea.
I recently participated in a program called OpenCourt in the Lehigh Valley. It is the brainchild of Mike Gausing of Originate Ventures, and is administered by Tom Garrity of Compass Point. It comes from the open court idea in basketball where anyone gets a chance to play even regardless of skill.
This event-based feedback program allows the entrepreneur and their team come in and spend 40 minutes presenting their company, 20 minutes for Q&A from the panel, and then each of the panelists provides their feedback one by one. There is no prize. The only motivation of the companies is that they value feedback. The only motivation for the panel members is they enjoy helping entrepreneurs.
I served on the panel along with Mike Gausing who represented the venture and angel funding world, Bob Thomson of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Chris Jones of Keystone Financial Partners. This mix covered a lot of ground in terms of the expertise for feedback. I look forward to participating again.
Do you have a similar model program in your community? I’d love to hear about it.