The GNI Startups Boot Camp is an eight-week crash course on how to build and launch an independent local news business, led by LION Publishers in partnership with the Google News Initiative.
The boot camp is free for participants, and in its debut year in 2020, the program helped 24 aspiring news entrepreneurs get their ambitious news business ideas off the ground.
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the boot camp:
How much does the boot camp cost to attend?
Like the last boot camp, if you apply and get accepted into the boot camp, it will cost you nothing but your time.
That’s right: all of the boot camp costs are covered. This includes the weekly seminars and one-on-one coaching, several tools to help you refine and test your idea, and access to our community of practice.
Plus, upon successfully completing the bootcamp, you will receive a year-long “aspiring entrepreneurs” membership to LION Publishers.
What are the dates of the boot camp?
Classes will begin the week of September 7 and end the week of November 5, 2021.
What kinds of business ideas are eligible?
We are platform agnostic. That means you could plan to deliver your product through a podcast, newsletter, event series, app, messaging, videos, a website or anything else.
Also, we will not be accepting participants from businesses that want to serve journalists/journalism as their primary customers or legacy publications that are trying to make a transition to digital. We are also not looking for applications that are primarily aggregation of existing content.
Do I need to have any prior experience in launching a business or entrepreneurship?
Absolutely not. The most important thing we are looking for is that you’ve identified a customer/audience need and you have a very strong hypothesis on how to meet that need.
Where will the boot camp be held?
The boot camp is entirely online. It’s intentionally designed to be an online experience because we want you to stay in your community and to do the work in that context.
How many people are you selecting to participate?
We’ll be selecting up to 24 founders and/or teams.
How many hours per week will I need to invest?
We like to answer that by saying “at least part-time hours; ideally a full-time commitment.” We expect participants to plan for at least eight hours a week, preferably a lot more.
If you’ve already launched a project that’s less than 12 months in and aren’t sure what to do next, the boot camp should complement what you’re already doing.
If you’re in an existing full-time position and thinking about the boot camp to grow your side hustle into your main hustle, that’s great! You’ll want to think about how to fit the minimum number of hours into your schedule. (And, if the weekly webinar happens during your paying job working hours, you’ll need to make time to watch the recorded version.)
Ideally, you and your partner will be on the calls together. At least one of you is responsible for attending, or watching the recap. You can also switch off weeks if that’s easier.
Typically each week will consist of 90 minutes of seminar time, two or more hours of assignments, and two or more hours of readings. The more time you put into the assignments, the more you will typically get out of the boot camp experience.
What must I do to complete the program?
You are eligible to apply for the boot camp if:
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