Beta Corner!

At the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center (TEC), we practice what we teach. One key tenet of entrepreneurial thinking is to use hypothesis testing and experimentation to iterate our way to solving important problems.

In the context of TEC, we start with student interviews where we learn about needs and wants and pain points. We then come up with ideas for solutions. Then we build Minimum Viable Products (MVP) and test them with you all. We fail fast, we learn and iterate, and that’s how we can build the right solutions in the least elapsed time.

Now, what does that mean for you? First, if you sign up to be a beta tester, you will get early access to everything we are testing – and you will be helping us co-create solutions that work for people like you. Second, you can expect bugs and issues with everything you see on this page. Don’t get mad and don’t panic! Just let us know and you will be a hero to future students for your feedback. Third, you can take full advantage of everything we do, when we offer them – because we may not offer them again in the future.

To be true to the Lean Startup spirit, we will be launching Minimum Viable Products (MVP) that are not perfect (READ: Everything will be rough around the edges. You will find bugs. Lots of them. Extra credit when you find these bloopers and let us know.) We will fail. We will learn. Not everything we try here will earn ongoing support. So take advantage of this limited offer and take part in everything now. Your community will thank you for helping us co-create the best entrepreneurship education platform ever.

TEC Student Portal (i.e. this website)

Goal:

The goal of this experiment is to provide a welcoming space to help students find courses and programs that meet their needs. Normally this is achieved by having students walk through the doors of our space and talking to one of us. We would like to offer a digital alternative so students can still connect with us virtually, regardless of everyone’s physical location.

Hypothesis:

A digital student portal designed to be a one-stop-shop will help people find what they need and connect with us even though everyone is remote.

Experiment:

Deploy a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) website – simple, bare bones website built around students’ needs and wants that helps them find information they need

Metrics:

9 month trend for Google Analytics data on unique visitors, bounce rate, average session duration, ratio between new and returning visitors

Experiment duration:

Academic Year 2020-2021

Current status:

Live – site is deployed and in public beta

Jumbo Cafe Workshops as a lunch-and-learn activity

Goal:

The goal of this experiment is to see if students find it easier to attend interesting virtual educational workshops over lunch instead of at the end of the day. Jumbo Cafes used to be held in person at the end of the day on Wednesdays. We have heard from students and alumni that there is often a scheduling conflict at the end of the day.

Hypothesis:

The 12-1 timeslot will make it more convenient for students and alumni to attend.

Experiment:

Offer one semester’s worth of workshops and other short-format events over lunch (12-1)

Metric:

Average attendance per workshop, trend of workshop attendance

Experiment duration:

Fall 2020

Current status:

Completed – good attendance, time frame works – we will resume Jumbo cafes on Wed 12-1 in February 2021.

30-minute pop-up coaching by alumni and faculty

Goal:

Students often need one on one coaching and mentorship to explore issues that are unique to their situation. Historically this is done in the office – students walk into our space and meet with a faculty or other mentor on a first-come, first-serve basis. During COVID times, this is not possible. The goal is to test a digital alternative where students can set up time with a coach via a self-service mechanism.

Hypothesis:

Students can get the help they need by signing up for a 30 minute slot with an entrepreneurial coach they may not have necessarily met before

Experiment:

Set up virtual coaching hours with self-service sign up links via Calendly or a similar service. Provide links to each coach’s biography/LinkedIn profile. Market this service and see if we can drive awareness and serve students.

Metric:

Number of students who sign up for a 30 minute coaching session; Number of sessions per semester; month-over-month trends for coaching sign-ups

Experiment duration:

Academic Year 2020-2021

Current status:

Completed early – in November alone we had more than 40 coaching sessions from 5 coaches. We will continue this offering moving forward.

Virtual meetups: Pitch to Match and Ideathon

Goal:

Students need to meet other students to form teams and work together on interesting projects and new ventures – but COVID has made it difficult to meet people. The goal of this experiment is to explore virtual events that can provide some of the networking opportunities that used to be fulfilled by people meeting in the Venture Lab and attending in-person networking events.

Hypothesis:

Students can meet other like minded people in a carefully curated on-line meetup.

Experiment:

Set up a lead form to gauge interest in two kinds of virtual meetup events: The first type is a pitch-to-match event where students with projects/ventures pitch their ideas to find teammates, advisors and more, and other students with skills can pitch their skills and interests and find teams to join. The second type is an un-hackathon – jointly held with other schools at Tufts to tackle important problems such as social justice in entrepreneurship. Heavily market this during live events (2 infosessions for Ideas Competition, 2 Jumbo Cafes), social media, Jumbo Life and in our newsletter.

Metric:

Number of signups for the lead form over a 2 week period during which we aggressively market the experiment

Experiment duration:

September 28-October 12, 2020

Current status:

Closed early due to an overwhelmingly positive response. Planning Ideation for February 6 – 7 and a pitch-to-match meetup in April/May. Stay tuned!

Slack workspace for matchmaking and networking

Goal:

Students need to meet other students to form teams and work together on interesting projects and new ventures – but COVID has made it difficult to meet people. The goal of this experiment is to see if a dedicated Slack workspace for entrepreneurially minded students can help bring people together and help them find team members and network effectively.

Hypothesis:

A dedicated Student-only TEC Slack workspace is a viable way for students to connect even though they may not know each other yet in real life.

Experiment:

Set up a dedicated TEC workspace for Tufts students and seed it with the applicants for the Ideas Competition 2020 for a private beta. Open it to more students over time.

Metric:

Number of students who join the workspace by December 31, 2020; Number of messages posted by students by December 31, 2020.

Experiment duration:

November 12 – December 31, 2020

Current status:

Open