Daniel Rios, founder of the international food manufacturing company Nutrald Foods Inc., is a past participant of the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops Intensive Program. In this interview, he shares some insights into his experiences in the program and how it helped him take his company to the next level.

Why did you decide to attend the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops Intensive Program?

I believed it was the opportunity to get—in one place, during a short period of time and for an insignificant monetary investment—a key group of resources, tools and networks an entrepreneur would need for seriously moving forward with a business project. I thought the value I could get from attending the program could be great, so I decided to apply and thankfully I was accepted. I had a great experience.

What were you hoping to achieve for yourself and for your company by attending?

I had heard about the Lean startup approach during previous MaRS events and how this methodology had helped many ventures to validate their business ideas before moving forward with them or investing money. I decided that it was important for me to learn this methodology and put it into practice with my project, because I was not fully sure where to start. I also realized that the intensive program was the best place to get this knowledge. The program gave me lot of insights, resources and a methodology to validate ideas and products before invest any money. Knowing this was key to avoiding costly mistakes and helped put my venture on the right track.

What was your single greatest takeaway from the program?

I learned many great things during the program, but there was one lasting lesson: There are many good ideas, but not all ideas have economic value and true potential to become a great business. It is always great to figure that out BEFORE you invest your time and resources, and the methodology taught during the intensive program helps you to do that.

As an entrepreneur, collaboration is extremely important. How did the program help you to collaborate?

I had the opportunity to learn a lot from facilitators and fellow entrepreneurs. I learned many things from my peers—regardless of their background or the nature of their ventures, they could always offer me something valuable, whether it was industry information, a valuable opinion or a point of view that I hadn’t considered before. That was very useful and important in my journey as an entrepreneur. Keep up your curiosity and learn as much as possible from others; they will also learn something from you, and that interchange is valuable for everybody.

How would you describe the overall value of the program?

You can get much more than you can imagine from the intensive program. Furthermore, after you complete the program, you realize that the value of the experiences, learning and network are priceless.

If you could do one thing differently during your 12 weeks in the program, what would it be?

I would try to complete at least a minimum of 50 customer interviews before the end of the 12 weeks! If you find value in your idea, this can help you to move ahead with the validation of your solution, strategy and so on. If you don’t, you can pivot and try other angles and review things while you are still in the program. As soon as you start talking to people and applying what you have learned, you will realize that you have a very powerful tool in your hands, and this will help you to accelerate your venture.

The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Fall Intensive Program is currently accepting applications for September. The application deadline is August 15, 2014.

Conrad McDonald

Conrad was the Associate, Entrepreneurship Programs at MaRS specifically supporting workshops and experiential programs. He helped to co-ordinate the planning and execution of all workshops across the ONE network. See more…