INTRODUCING TECHQALA 2021
WHAT IS TECHQALA?
Techqala is part startup accelerator, part business innovation camp and part bonding experience, established by UK service design and digital product company Unboxed in 2015.
Originally founded and run in Cape Town, Techqala was created to bring together local South African startups and international corporate innovators for an immersive week of learning and creative business thinking.
This year, we are running the programme in the UK for the first time, in partnership with UKBlackTech, to support and promote the fantastic diversity of talent and potential we have here.
How does it work?
The programme is delivered over five days (Monday to Friday), with structured activity in the mornings, and time to apply new ideas to your business in the afternoons. We then re-group at the end of the day to share progress, explore learnings and socialise.
We have a series of talks and workshops to explore concepts around Design Thinking, Lean Start-up, Agile and other principles, all backed up with stories and advice from experienced business leaders.
As with everything at Unboxed, we take an agile approach — learning by doing, adapting as we go and iterating frequently. We’re planning to run the programme in Summer 2021, face-to-face if possible, but remotely, via Zoom and Miro, dependent on how the COVID19 pandemic plays out.
What does it cost?
Techqala is free for selected entrepreneurs and small businesses. Innovative individuals from larger organisations are also welcome but pay a fee.
Why do you do it?
Launched in 2015 and further developed in 2016, 2018 and 2019, Techqala was conceived of as a way to combine two of our passions: supporting purpose-led startups and driving innovation and change in large, complex organisations.
What do we need from you?
To make the most of the programme and the small amount of attendee places that we have to offer, we ask for your time, engagement and dedication throughout the week.
WHO'S IT FOR?
Entrepreneurs and small businesses
Individuals and businesses with new product ideas
Corporates looking to introduce a new way of thinking into their organisation
Events and Wedding Coordinator
I would define my experience at Techqala as an opportunity to accelerate my business by becoming more comfortable with adopting a growth mindset. I had been to many talks this year but I didn’t feel ready because I wasn’t having the right kinds of conversations and because I didn’t have the tools that allowed me to see that I needed to stop thinking of my business as “my baby” but rather as a proper business. Techqala gave me the processes and framework that enabled this mindset shift and this has allowed me to connect the dots and see the path forward for my business more clearly.
Techqala is an exceptionally pleasant accelerator with the key difference being that the knowledge shared has been gathered through experience. All the workshops were designed in such a way as to gather unique nuggets of wisdom drawn from facilitators experiences, businesses or chosen use cases. That was the primary value ad for me compared to other accelerator programs I’ve been to. It wasn’t just a bunch of theory wacked together and served up on a platter. Real people. Real businesses.
Idealist, innovator, autodidact and entrepreneur from Cape Town
"Techqala is an amazing experience. It’s a unique opportunity to hone your innovation skills and exchange ideas with brilliant people from many different backgrounds. Both highly challenging and deeply supportive, it’s a week I won’t miss for anything!”
Professional Coach and Wellness Practitioner
There are too many words to describe Techqala: awesome, fantastic, incredible… All that kind of stuff. But to narrow it down, I would say that Techqala is: ‘time and space to think with input from incredibly knowledgeable and generous people. The input (stimulus), time and space helps you generate ideas. There’s a real, relaxed fluidity about it. Each minute superseded the next for me in terms of enjoyment and enthusiasm. Everyone has been so collaborative and this has lead to beautiful connections.
Clinical Director, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
“Techqala was an extraordinary experience. Spending time with the team completely transformed the way we think about our services at Guy’s and St Thomas’. We are still developing ideas that came out of that week in Cape Town nearly two years later.”
Entrepreneur, investor, speaker on purpose-led business
“Techqala deploys cutting edge start up methodology from Europe to the heart of South Africa - supporting real entrepreneurs as they start their companies via an exciting, energy-packed programme. It is the most rewarding and enjoyable week of my year.”
UNDERSTAND YOUR PURPOSE AND VISION
Why are you here and where are you heading?
In order to survive in this volatile and uncertain world, an entrepreneur often needs to change direction quickly and effectively. This can lead to a lack of focus, and a business that fails to deliver value. On day one, we will help you frame your personal vision in a way that gives you enough scope to adapt without losing your sense of purpose.
FIND YOUR CUSTOMERS AND UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS
Whose pain are you easing and do they care?
Without customers, your business is nothing, but entrepreneurs are often driven by their own inacurate beliefs about what people want. On day two, we will help you define a business proposition that is focused on the customer problem you are trying to solve, talking to customers in a way that gives you a deeper understanding of what's really important to them.
PROTOTYPE AND TEST YOUR PROPOSITION
Do you have a solution people will value?
There is a big difference between what your customers tell you they want, and what they will actually buy. On day three we explore ways in which you can quickly test ideas with real people, through experimentation and prototyping, to either identify a winning business proposition or fail fast and learn what you should be doing instead.
MODEL YOUR BUSINESS OPERATING SYSTEM
How are you going to deliver all this?
The mechanics of running a business are complex and alien to many. Entrepreneurs tend to focus on what seems most urgent or what they enjoy the most rather than on what's important. On day four we'll provide you with some models and tools to help you take a holistic view of your business and focus your attention on what really matters the most.
ESTABLISH AND GROW YOUR FOLLOWING
Who do you need to help you and how will you find them?
People are at the heart of business and if you want to grow and sustain a company, you need to make sure you nurture your customers, stakeholders and staff. On day five we'll explore your role as a leader, building a strong identity for your people based on shared values and vision. We then reflect on the week and bring everything together.