Defy provides hands-on training, experiential learning,
skills, knowledge, access, and tools that prepare
entrepreneurs-in-training (EITs) to become business
owners and leaders in their communities and families.
Defy’s program model is built on the following core components:
EITs average 15 hours in Defy’s Training Center per week (Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and all day Saturdays) to learn the basics of business and entrepreneurship. Our MBA-style coursework draws from the award-winning curriculum of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to teach business theory and application. Our experiential, highly competitive training would remind you of The Apprentice. Because the person behind the venture is vital to the bottom line, soft-skills and personal character development complement our business curriculum to build a personal platform for full transformation and success.
Defy EITs only survive when they bring significant commitment, ambition and discipline to Defy’s table. Each week, they juggle three training sessions, entrepreneurial assignments, extracurricular reading, exams, and tough contests. All are held to the highest professional and personal standards. Most EITs also hold down jobs, have kids and families, and struggle financially—but they’re willing to invest in their futures.
After undergoing an ideation process, Defy entrepreneurs-in-training (EITs) put their ideas to paper by conceptualizing, writing, and presenting full business plans (including comprehensive financial models). Defy’s trainers and executives guide EITs through the process of conducting market research, refining operations, and generating customers. All EITs who choose to participate in Defy’s Entrepreneurship Incubator incorporate their companies, open business bank accounts, generate promotional materials, and solicit customers.
Coaching and Mentorship
EITs gain access to the expertise and coaching of Defy’s network of business leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors. One-to-one executive mentoring offers personal support and business guidance in meeting the challenges and responsibilities of entrepreneurship. Our guest faculty consists of business thought leaders and has included Seth Godin (entrepreneur and marketing guru), Tim Draper (venture capitalist and founder of DFJ), Duncan Niederauer (CEO of NYSE), and Daymond John (Shark Tank Star and founder of FUBU).
Defy EITs join a focused, ambitious family committed to building a positive future for themselves and their loved ones. A competitive but highly team-oriented training culture supports EITs through their transformation, offering lifelong personal connections and business partnership opportunities.
Tryout Boot Camp (80 classroom hours)
DEFY’S CORE PROGRAMS
This introduction to Defy is part of the competitive EIT application and enrollment process. Before committing to the full training program, applicants participate in training two evenings per week and all day Saturday for three weeks to experience Defy’s culture and expectations, learn the basics of entrepreneurship, ideate a business concept, and prove their entrepreneurial abilities in our weekly contests that are all judged by executives. Experiential training and contests range from an entrepreneurial citywide scavenger hunt to a “Mocktail Competition” to a “Taste of Defy” customer service contest. Team-building, challenges, and shared reflection build tight bonds among like-minded applicants committed to building successful futures.
Following three intense weeks of Tryout Boot Camp, applicants are interviewed by Defy graduate panels, staff, and speed-dating-style interviews with executive volunteers for acceptance into the Entrepreneurship Fellowship.
Entrepreneurship Fellowship (250 training center hours)
Over four months, EITs continue forming their business concept while learning the ropes of business development, market research, finance, and more. Defy’s comprehensive, hands-on entrepreneurship training equips EITs to write a 15-20 page business plan, prepare financial statements, and compete in two business plan competitions judged by executives of Fortune 500 companies, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and other business leaders. Seed funding of up to $2,500 awarded through business plan competitions and mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals help EITs to take their ideas from concept to reality. But Defy is about more than business! Defy hosts a rigorous, 30-hour character development seminar, and many other personal development workshops that cultivate leadership skills from the inside out. Defy’s Family Love Services invites EITs’ loved ones into their journey of transformation. The Entrepreneurship Fellowship culminates in a cap-and-gown graduation and awards ceremony celebrating EITs’ amazing accomplishments.
Entrepreneurship Incubator (Ongoing coaching and access to resources)
Defy’s Entrepreneurship Incubator provides EITs with intensive resources and support to roll out their business. All entrepreneurs who graduate from the Fellowship are eligible and earn privileges, resources and opportunities in the incubator as they demonstrate increased success and commitment. Under the coaching of Defy’s Entrepreneur in Residence, incubated EITs can earn access to:
- Start-up grants
- Equity investor introductions
- Pro bono or “low bono” services in such areas as
- Product development
- Marketing and branding
- Finance and accounting
- Sales and customer service
- Sales and customer service
- Human resources.
- Monthly meetings with Defy’s Investment Committee, which acts as an advisory board
- Access to free office space and limited back office services
- Life of an Entrepreneur Dinner Series, featuring accomplished entrepreneurs
- Promotion to Defy’s network
- Roadshow opportunities (national speaking engagements and meetings with investors)
- Media opportunities
- Sales channels (e.g., exhibiting at Defy’s annual Sales Expo)
Graduates of Defy’s Entrepreneurship Fellowship are eligible for continued business and professional development services through our Alumni Program. Networking events, social outings, guest lectures, and career development support keep alumni involved with the Defy community and moving along their path to success.