Case study // Microsoft Storytelling Training

Training entrepreneurs to use story to beat the competition

The training team at ECHO jumped in right away and crafted innovative, practical and dynamic training modules for a diverse range of entrepreneurs. We knew we wanted to teach storytelling training but we didn’t know how; you solved that problem for us. We will be able to scale this important curriculum to entrepreneurs around the world. Your attention to detail and customized approach resulted in a great fit in our short timeframe. Thank you!
— Vandana Verdia, Global Program Manager, Microsoft Innovation Centers

CHALLENGE: Create a training workshop for Microsoft focused on storytelling for tech entrepreneurs, helping to close a crucial knowledge gap

For the opening of the first Microsoft Innovation Centers (MICs) in South Australia and Armenia, Microsoft approached us to develop the curriculum for a Storytelling for Entrepreneurs workshop. The innovation centers were created to bring together the best and brightest software start-ups in local areas, supporting them to reach their goals (with Microsoft as a trusted partner). Up to this point, the educational programs that were available at these innovation centres were mainly focused on software and technology. Knowing that getting a successful business off the ground takes more than just great tech, Microsoft hired us to put together practical training for entrepreneurs using story principles to help them with pitching and sales.

SOLUTION: A training package that made storytelling practical and accessible for busy start-ups

It was clear that relevance was our key goal as we put together this curriculum. Launching a tech start-up is all-consuming, so we wanted to ensure that our storytelling training focused on real-world application, with minimal theory. Inspiration is important, of course, but practical takeaways were pivotal to this group’s engagement and success.

Knowing that participants would likely have diverse backgrounds and levels of experience, we interviewed people on the ground to determine the priority modules: the basics of storytelling for sales, tools to develop a killer brand story, and how to use storytelling to recruit the right people. Each participant left with a compelling elevator pitch and a new, polished About Us page for their website.

We also created a Facilitators’ Guide so Microsoft could roll out the training to aspiring tech entrepreneurs for years to come.

RESULTS: We helped Microsoft not only teach people to be entrepreneurs, but think like entrepreneurs

Storytelling is a critical skill in any successful entrepreneur’s tool box. As they say: “Facts tell; stories sell.” We worked with Microsoft to help aspiring entrepreneurs discover why certain stories move people when most don’t. The feedback we received is that the entrepreneurs could now articulate in a memorable and entertaining way to their customers, employees, investors, and media why their vision of the future is not only compelling but inevitable.

One more cool thing:

We at ECHO are pretty passionate about our belief that purpose and values should be at the centre of every business story, so we loved that our project with Microsoft was rooted in their core mission “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”