Fundamentals of Hustle: Our Core Competencies


In entrepreneurship, we believe you always get better or worse, but you never stay the same. So, we’ve made a program rooted in helping entrepreneurs only get better. For the past three years, Camelback has invested time, energy, and resources into building our program. Fellows have told us about the ways they’ve grown and appreciated the pieces, and we want to share some more insight into the curriculum itself.*

How it’s delivered

The programming is traditionally (as traditional as it can be after only four cohorts!) delivered largely through our three Summits. These Summits are usually held, in order, in New Orleans, New York, and Oakland. Each location is strategically chosen for access to different communities, resources, and opportunities. Each Summit is about a week and features intensive workshops. Outside of the Summits, there is pre- and post- work, weekly coaching that incorporates “homework,” monthly cohort community meet-ups, virtual programming, connections with content experts, and meetings with investors. It’s a busy time.

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Our big ideas: the five Core Competencies

Over the past few years, we have honed in on what we think every founder needs to be successful, using industry research and our own exploration. We aim to deliver an impactful curriculum that spirals your learning of our core competencies through summits, virtual programming, coaching, and more. We track growth through five Core Competencies. For each Core Competency, we do a before and after assessment, design specific benchmarks for each Fellow, and have a road map for each Core Competency that features workshops with external content experts and our own, Camelback-designed modules.

Below, we’ve described each Core Competency and also included one of our favorite resources in each in case you’re interested in growing your own practice.


1. Hiring & Managing Teams

Purposefully building a diverse, effective team with varied experience and complementary skill sets takes time and thought. Camelback helps demystify and systemize Fellows’ recruitment, selection, and management processes through hands-on workshops where Fellows learn best practices and are given the time and space to tailor them to fit their own venture.


2. Pitch Ready

Camelback defines being Pitch Ready as the idea that an entrepreneur is ready to communicate their story in a compelling way, to anyone. We recognize that this is about more than a Demo Day or elevator pitch - it’s about having the right elements of the venture’s and founder’s narrative at the ready to customize it for each particular audience. If an entrepreneur is pitch ready, then it means they have right elements of their story in conjunction with data and details at the ready to craft a compelling narrative for whoever their audience is, and they know how to deliver it for impact. They’ll also have well-branded, professional visuals to complement their pitch and a thoughtful follow-up strategy see the next core competency).

Fave resources:


3. Stakeholder Development

Relationships can be pivotal in moving a venture forward, but they often require a long game. We help Fellows understand the need for, and to develop, a stakeholder management strategy so that they understand who should be in their network and then how they’ll get them there – all while practicing a giving mentality.

Fave resource: A piece about 5 best practices in Inc. written by two-time Camelback Startup Coach, Earnest Sweat!


4. Project & Budget Management

Establishing good habits with respect to setting and achieving goals is critical. Together with their dedicated coach, Fellows will construct a customized 6-12 month strategy and business development roadmap with milestones and regular check-ins.

Fave resources:

  • free digital tools like Trello and Calendly that you can utilize to stay organized across devices; take the time to see what’s out there and figure out what works for you

  • the book The Together Leader (there are free resources available online, too!)


5. Be Experimental

This is the idea that Fellows have the tools and practice to use design thinking regularly in their ventures. We want them to use this form of structured brainstorming for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing new ideas with users cheaply and quickly.

Fave resources:



* We believe that continuous improvement is incredibly important. Every year, we gather data and survey on current and past Fellows and their experiences with our program. We have just wrapped up on the 2018 Cohort and are in the process of reviewing and evolving our program. As a result, our Core Competencies are subject to change with our most recent findings. For now, we’re excited to share what we’ve featured recently in the program.

Does all of this sound like something you need more of in your life? Consider applying to the 2019 Camelback Fellowship!