Sramana Mitra, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant founded the 1M by 1M(One Million by One Million) program, “a framework for Capitalism 2.0,” she says, and which she “envisions as a distributed, democratic capitalism.” Here is what this means: Not everybody can, or even needs to, come to Silicon Valley to create a company. There are creative entrepreneurs everywhere in the world, and they can succeed from virtually any place depending on the nature and the scope of what they undertake or on their own definition of success. Yet, where can they get accessible economic development tools? In other words, how can entrepreneurship education be democratized? Sramana’s 1M by 1M (One Million by One Million) brings a solution.
Startup America and Startup Anywhere: Check out the 1M by 1M program: While different countries and regions have started thousands of initiatives to rekindle the economy through innovation and entrepreneurship, one of the most critical needs is ensuring that entrepreneurs do not waste time and energy reinventing the wheel, or money they may not have in MBA programs or expensive consultants. The 1M by 1M program provides all the basics to start on the right footing at virtually no cost: “We offer a case-study-based online educational program, video lectures, and methodology, online strategy consulting at public and private online roundtables, as well as introductions to customers, channel partners and investors (pre-seed, seed, angel, VC, bank, alternative financing). The public roundtable is a free program accessible from anywhere in the world. The rest of the services are for paying members only.” The $1000 annual fee grants paying members unlimited usage of the service (just don’t abuse the system!). For a full explanation of why Sramana created this program, also consult this video.
What I like about this program:
Its “weapon of massive reconstruction” optimism: As Sramana puts it: “It is the entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurs alone, who wield the most potent weapons of mass reconstruction. To build markets; to build nations; to build worlds.” One million by one million makes one trillion of whatever currency, and even if it is as hard to represent as one terawatt, it expresses the human power to change the world for the better — and create jobs.
Its pragmatic “virtual incubator” approach: Sramana has spent years talking with entrepreneurs, capturing their stories. Some of her stories she shares in her books*, but hundreds more are available as case studies from which entrepreneurs can learn. Innovative ideas evolve with time, but business model innovations come at a much slower pace – and the principles for capital efficiency, effective bootstrapping, customer validation, and positioning are not going to change overnight. The 1M by 1M program is a virtual and scalable incubator that can help scores of entrepreneurs get their act together at a low cost and in no time, wherever they are located in the world. As a virtual incubator, 1M by 1M supplements physical incubators and has partnerships with a few of them already, as well as with corporate sponsors. For example, in March, 1M by 1M announced that it was working with Microsoft on their India Startup Challenge — with Microsoft BizSpark offering $100,000 in total grant to four startups with winning ideas in the Cloud & Mobile categories.
Its inclusiveness: Physical incubators, even the largest, can only host a limited number of companies, which means that the vast majority of entrepreneurs are on their own for all sorts of reasons. 1M by 1M doesn’t have to select or exclude entrepreneurs to function, and thus can accept companies regardless of their prospective TAM or the speed at which the business will grow. Small niche businesses are the economy operating system of the world, and yes, any small business owner can benefit from being trained. As a matter of fact, the program heavily focuses on bootstrapping and leadership (something useful to entrepreneurs with larger ambitions, anyway). 1M by 1M is a fully international social network of entrepreneurs (they only have to be able to speak/understand English). Changing the world for the better is a collective effort, where each entrepreneur defines his/her vision of effectiveness, while benefiting from sharing lessons learned.
Conclusion: Read Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start and a few other good books, including the ones that Sramana wrote, and join 1M by 1M. It’s a great way to start off, even if you have the type of business or you are in a place that allows you to apply for a physical incubator (in such case, you will benefit from this incubator even more!).
* Books by Sramana Mitra: