Sustainable Vision VentureLab


Date:  August 26-30, 2011

Location: Microsoft NERD Conference Center, 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA

Meet the teams and their technologies!

The Sustainable Vision VentureLab is an intensive, five-day, highly experiential and immersive workshop designed to enhance the success of your venture. Participants develop strong, sustainable business models that create products or services for the benefit of people living in poverty. 

At Sustainable Vision VentureLab you'll have the space to think and explore within a dynamic environment that will help you evolve your business strategy, sales channels, marketing, and financial mechanics of your venture, with support from people who have been there and done it themselves.

You'll come out of the workshop not only with a more competitive action plan, but also with a set of tools that will help you grow your venture for years to come. 

Topics discussed may include:

  • Blocks and barriers to performance
  • The Human operating system
  • Strategy mapping
  • Operating in another country/culture
  • Understanding your customer
  • How do you create and articulate value
  • Innovating at every level
  • Business model case studies from the developing world
  • Understanding the supply chain
  • Designing for affordability
  • Features vs. benefits
  • Telling a story
  • Presentation techniques & tips


About the Instructor

James Barlow, NCIIA's Program Manager for Outreach, has worked in the University entrepreneurship space for 7 years and has been Commercial Advisor or Commercial Director for 16 start-ups.  He has served as a consultant internationally on start-up strategy, enterprise education and training. Prior to working in Higher Education, James was a Performance Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Strategy Consultant for FTSE listed companies and also worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry in Sales and Sales Management. He earned his BSc Honours Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kent. 

Sustainable Vision VentureLab is held twice a year, the next workshop will be in 2012. For more information, contact us:


What participants have said about VentureLab:


"How would I describe the NCIIA VentureLab? No amount of adjectives could ever do it justice but here are a few I would use: exciting, exhausting, inspiring, humbling, challenging. hilarious, risqué, refreshing, and so much more. The VentureLab is something you have to experience before you can really understand its worth. Not only do you come away with a better understanding of your venture and its place in the market, but also new skills, contacts and even friendships. The instructors are fantastic and it's a chance to mingle with the best and brightest of your peers. I would recommend it to any budding entrepreneur, it's a must." —2010 VentureLab participant


"VentureLab was a great experience. It's definitely a hands-on, extremely inspiring and helpful opportunity that allowed us to think actively about the short and long term goals of our venture. The workshop was fast-paced and applicable in many ways to not only our venture, but also life in general. I left VentureLab humbled and inspired by the people I met and the experiences and opportunities I had." —2010 VentureLab participant

"VentureLab is a good experience for anyone feeling alone in the world of social entrepreneurship. VentureLab helps you find direction and inspiration for your developing-world venture."—2010 VentureLab participant