WE BELIEVE that company founders can become infinitely better as entrepreneurs and leaders if they try. We believe that when they do, they can grow faster than their companies are growing. We believe there should be a place where they have this opportunity. That is why we built The Junto Institute.
Most startup support doesn’t move the needle. So we've built something that does, inspired by what Benjamin Franklin did nearly 300 years ago, when he brought together a group of entrepreneurial friends and called it the Junto (hoon’ toe). A group of friends who met every week for mutual improvement, philosophical debate, and community improvement. A group of friends who became catalysts, responsible for creating things that moved the needle; things that have become today’s public university, volunteer firehouse, community hospital, and public library.
There is no “next step” for many startups. So we've built something for startups that have graduated from "early stage": accelerator programs, initial traction, product-market fit, etc. Call it a “post-celerator”, call it graduate school for startups, call it finishing school for entrepreneurs...call it what you want. We've built something that prevents startups from falling into the valley of death. Something for those founders who are left to fend for themselves just because they may have actually accomplished what so many other startups may not have: initial customers, initial funding, a proven business model, or maybe even all three.
There is plenty of support for startup companies but none for founders. So we've built something that proves that startups are about people...not ideas, not buzz, not funding. Something for those who acknowledge that they don’t know it all. Those who have the self-awareness and humility to admit they’re worried about how to lead. Those who are comfortable starting a business but uncomfortable building one. Those who know they can’t do it alone and worry about being lonely at the top. Those who want to get to the next level but don’t know what that means and don’t know how to get there. Those who know that the journey matters more than the destination.
Learning by doing is the only real option founders have to become smarter entrepreneurs. And having only one option really sucks. So we've built another option. An option that is based on years of experience working with and educating entrepreneurs of all stages. Something that has proven to be the best way for entrepreneurs to learn because they’ve told us so. Something that is a training ground for people who don’t have a training ground. For entrepreneurs who want to learn how to build a company, run a business, and lead a team.
Peer-to-peer learning, shared experiences, and working on the business are how entrepreneurs learn best. So we've built something that doesn’t rely on so-called experts, advice-giving, biased and speculative answers, or historical and hypothetical case studies. we've built something that’s more practical and relevant than an MBA because it’s purely in the context of startups and entrepreneurship. Where all the instructors and mentors are experienced CEOs, entrepreneurs, and investors. Where tuition is a fraction and there are aligned interests. Where information and process don’t matter as much as wisdom and experience.
Entrepreneurship can’t be taught but it can be learned. So we've built something that is a vehicle for that learning to occur. Something that helps develop a mindset, an approach, a way of doing things, which is what entrepreneurship really is. Something that can’t be taught by teachers but can be developed with the help of mentors who have battle scars from being entrepreneurs and operators.
Leadership can’t be taught but it can be learned. So we've built something that isn’t based on best practices because they’re in the eye of the beholder and assume that context is a constant. Something that allows for testing, experimentation, failure, and accountability to others. Something that recognizes that leadership is a reflection of emotional intelligence, which cannot be taught. Something that can’t be taught by teachers but can be improved with the help of mentors who have attained success by being strong leaders.
Learning about entrepreneurship and leadership should be navigated by people who have been there and done that. So we've built something that leverages the power of those people. People who invested everything financially and emotionally, and rode the roller coaster of a lifetime. People who started companies, stumbled with them, grew them, watched them fail, took them public, and sold them. The only people who can really empathize with what startup founders are going through.
The greatest asset of entrepreneurs is their time and they should only spend it with those who care. So we've built something that leverages people who invest in startups and have been trying to figure out how to accelerate the entrepreneurial maturity of founders so everyone wins faster. People who are subject-matter experts and have agreed to transfer their knowledge to others. People who are experienced entrepreneurs and want to help make it easier for the next generation. People who are so enthusiastic about what we've built that they’ve agreed to pay it forward as mentors, instructors, and moderators.
Starting a company is really easy. Running, managing, and leading one is really hard. So we've built something that turns entrepreneurs and founders into leaders and managers. Something that develops leadership capabilities, emotional intelligence, and management skills of startup founders. Empathy, team building, financial savvy, self-awareness, performance management, company culture, hiring and recruiting, motivation, branding, legal know-how, relationship management. And more.
We've built something that moves the needle. And that something is The Junto Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Something for startup founders who want to become infinitely better at running their business and leading their team. Something that is the only place where they can grow faster than their companies are growing. Something that will create great entrepreneurs who build great things, just like Benjamin Franklin’s Junto did.