Learn Startup Skills at Training Camp

Our five-week bootcamp will make sure you're ready to add value to your startup on Day One.

Training Camp

We make sure our Fellows are ready to add value and make an impact at a fast-paced, growing startup from day one on the job. That’s why every Fellow is required to attend Training Camp before starting at their new companies.

Training Camp is five weeks of learning new skills, getting to know your Fellow class, and beginning to think like an entrepreneur. At Training Camp, you’ll probably work harder than you did throughout four years in college, but in the end, you’ll come out stronger, energized and knowing you have your entire Fellow class beside you.

Our Training Camp curriculum is designed to give you both the hard skills and soft skills you'll need to succeed and become a leader at a startup

What You'll Learn

Working Together

Each week, you’ll be working in a small group with your fellow Fellows to complete a new challenge.
You might be building a website from scratch for a non-profit or entrepreneur in need. Or using design-thinking principles to come up with a creative solution to an ever-present problem.

Working so closely together with your challenge group will help you brush up on your ability to collaborate, compromise, and tackle complicated projects in a short amount of time. This kind of work will give you a taste of startup life and show you how to effectively add value from the very beginning.

Learning from Experts

We don’t expect Fellows to just know how to tackle every new challenge or project, so we bring in some of the best teachers and subject matter experts to lead trainings.

In the past, we’ve had The Flatiron School lead a coding bootcamp, McKinsey & Company train Fellows on problem solving frameworks, and IDEO has taught the principles of human-centered design and design thinking. Our trainers will teach you the fundamentals of UX/UI, sales, marketing, market sizing, finding a profitable business model, and so much more.

Leadership Skills

We know it takes more than just being good at the specific requirements of your job to truly become a leader. That’s why we bring in experts to teach our Fellows the essential soft skills they’ll need to grow in their careers.

During Training Camp, our Fellows learn how to give impactful presentations; navigate issues of diversity, equity, inclusion & allyship in the workplace; network and seek effective mentors; time management and interpersonal communication; and how to be a rockstar startup employee.

Hear from Successful Entrepreneurs

We believe that entrepreneurs are made, not born. We make sure that Fellows hear and learn from those who’ve already taken the leap and built successful businesses.

You’ll hear the stories of why some of today’s biggest names in business launched their companies, how they got their starts, and how they faced and conquered challenges along the way. You’ll also get the opportunity to pick their brains, ask your burning questions and maybe even join them for coffee, lunch or dinner to get to know them better.

Going Deeper

We know that not every Fellow will need the same kinds of training to be ready to make an impact on day one. That’s why we offer additional electives based on interest areas.

Electives can range from personal finance and the latest trends in tech to workplace identity and how to be an effective ally. If you don’t see an elective you want on the schedule, you can host it – we always have Fellow-led sessions as part of the curriculum.

Weekly Challenges

Working Together

Each week, you’ll be working in a small group with your fellow Fellows to complete a new challenge.
You might be building a website from scratch for a non-profit or entrepreneur in need. Or using design-thinking principles to come up with a creative solution to an ever-present problem.

Working so closely together with your challenge group will help you brush up on your ability to collaborate, compromise, and tackle complicated projects in a short amount of time. This kind of work will give you a taste of startup life and show you how to effectively add value from the very beginning.

Expert Trainers

Learning from Experts

We don’t expect Fellows to just know how to tackle every new challenge or project, so we bring in some of the best teachers and subject matter experts to lead trainings.

In the past, we’ve had The Flatiron School lead a coding bootcamp, McKinsey & Company train Fellows on problem solving frameworks, and IDEO has taught the principles of human-centered design and design thinking. Our trainers will teach you the fundamentals of UX/UI, sales, marketing, market sizing, finding a profitable business model, and so much more.

Professional Development

Leadership Skills

We know it takes more than just being good at the specific requirements of your job to truly become a leader. That’s why we bring in experts to teach our Fellows the essential soft skills they’ll need to grow in their careers.

During Training Camp, our Fellows learn how to give impactful presentations; navigate issues of diversity, equity, inclusion & allyship in the workplace; network and seek effective mentors; time management and interpersonal communication; and how to be a rockstar startup employee.

Entrepreneur Firesides

Hear from Successful Entrepreneurs

We believe that entrepreneurs are made, not born. We make sure that Fellows hear and learn from those who’ve already taken the leap and built successful businesses.

You’ll hear the stories of why some of today’s biggest names in business launched their companies, how they got their starts, and how they faced and conquered challenges along the way. You’ll also get the opportunity to pick their brains, ask your burning questions and maybe even join them for coffee, lunch or dinner to get to know them better.

Additional Electives

Going Deeper

We know that not every Fellow will need the same kinds of training to be ready to make an impact on day one. That’s why we offer additional electives based on interest areas.

Electives can range from personal finance and the latest trends in tech to workplace identity and how to be an effective ally. If you don’t see an elective you want on the schedule, you can host it – we always have Fellow-led sessions as part of the curriculum.

Some of our Past Guests

Dan Gilbert

Founder & Chairman, Quicken Loans

Dug Song

Co-founder & CEO, DUO Security

Arlan Hamilton

Founder, Backstage Capital

Work Hard, Play Hard

Work Hard, Play Hard

There's plenty of work, but a lot of fun too

Outside of the structured curriculum, Training Camp includes plenty of social events and outings. From beach trips to sporting events and Fellow open mic nights, you’ll have plenty of you’ll have plenty of time to spend with the other Fellows.

You’ll have two years with the Fellows in your city—but this is the time to get to know Fellows heading to other cities, meet a few potential co-founders, and lay the groundwork for friendships that will last a lot longer than two years. You’ll also have the chance to get to know Alumni and explore the city on your own.

Unexpected Lessons at Training Camp

Unexpected Lessons at Training Camp

Calum McClelland was hesitant about Training Camp. By the end of his senior year, he was tired of studying—more than anything, he wanted to jump in and begin adding value at a company. It was hard for him to imagine learning anything of substance at Training Camp that he couldn’t just learn on the job.

“My expectations weren’t very high going in, but Training Camp had a profound effect on me. I joined VFA because I was interested in entrepreneurship, but getting to know the other Fellows and hearing about their commitment to impacting the country for the better gave me a sense of purpose.”

Read Calum's Story

FAQs

When is Training Camp?

Training Camp takes place for five weeks each summer. We typically start in late June and wrap up by the beginning of August.

Is Training Camp mandatory?

Yes. Training Camp is an instrumental part of the Fellow experience, so it is absolutely mandatory for Fellows to attend and engage for all five weeks.  

What if I have a trip planned?

Training Camp is still mandatory. It’s a critical component of the Fellowship, when many important relationships are built, and we wouldn’t want anyone to miss it. Feel free to reach out to us if you’re concerned about a potential conflict.

Will I be able to focus on specific skills?

Yes! Training Camp provides skills-based learning for Fellows who already know what kinds of roles they’ll be working in or who want to focus on a specific area. Through a combination of concurrent skills sessions, optional electives and weekly challenges, Fellows are able to make sure that they gain both a wide range of tools and subject matter specialization during Training Camp.

Where is Training Camp held?

From 2012-17, Training Camp was held on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. For 2018-19, Training Camp will be held in Detroit on the campus of Wayne State University.

Do I have to pay a fee to attend Training Camp?

No. We do not charge Fellows to attend Training Camp. If fact, we provide a transportation stipend to get you to Training Camp. Once there, we cover your housing and provide a stipend for food (many Fellows find they have money left over at the end of the summer).

I'm not a Fellow, can I still come to Training Camp?

Training Camp programming is exclusively for VFA Fellows. At this time, we do not offer an option for others to simply attend.

If you are an expert, professional or entrepreneur interested in leading a training or session, please reach out to programs@ventureforamerica.org.

© 2018 Venture for America. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Briteweb