FIU College of Business shares the secrets of “unicorn entrepreneurs” in new program.

Florida International University’s College of Business (FIU Business) will launch a first-of-its kind program, Developing High-Potential Ventures with Skills – Not Venture Capital. Designed for South Florida entrepreneurs, technologists and students, the program will benefit those in the region who want to create and control wealth by starting and scaling a growth venture.

Participants in the 10-month program will learn about the finance-smart skills, secrets and strategies of “unicorn entrepreneurs,” those who have taken their ventures from startups to firms worth at least $1 billion, as well as “mini-unicorn entrepreneurs” who have built their companies from startups to firms worth more than $100 million.

Dileep Rao
Dileep Rao

The program’s seminars will help participants develop the right organizational and leadership skills, maximize sales with capital-efficiency, launch a venture, and grow their business without venture capital. The program, offered online and at FIU’s MMC campus, will be led by Dileep Rao, an FIU Business clinical professor of entrepreneurship who was a venture financier for 23 years before joining academia, where he has focused on studying unicorn entrepreneurs.

“What I learned is that 94 percent of America’s unicorn firms didn’t need venture capital to take off,” Rao said. “They developed the right growth opportunity, designed the right finance-smart strategy, learned the skills needed to grow with control, and took off without venture capital. These strategies and skills can help all entrepreneurs.”

The program begins October 22, 2019 with a free “Introduction to Unicorn Entrepreneurship” session featuring Rao. That is followed by an all-day workshop and eight three-hour evening skill-training seminars that will be held monthly through June 2020.

Rao teaches the program along with leading South Florida experts who have launched, advised, financed or built unicorns or mini-unicorn companies.

“If you want to succeed, get the skills, develop the strategy, become a leader–and they will come to you,” Rao said. “This is what America’s unicorn entrepreneurs did.”

The workshop and full seminar series is priced at $250 for the general public and $125 for FIU alumni and South Florida college students. Pricing for the workshop only is $150 for the general public and $75 for alumni and South Florida college students. There are 50 full-fee scholarships available to FIU and other current South Florida university students.

More information about the Developing Unicorns in South Florida program is available at

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