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How to grow a startup without a VC – Prof Dileep Rao

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week’s edition of the Ugwumba Leadership Talk Show with Remy Chukwunyere.

This week, we are bringing you Prof. Dileep Rao of the Florida International University, USA who is teaching entrepreneurs around the world, the strategies and skills that were used by America’s unicorn-entrepreneurs to take-off without venture capitals. These strategies and skills have created 16x more unicorns than venture capitals and “first-mover” innovations.

His latest book, “Finance Secrets of Billion-Dollar Entrepreneurs: Venture Finance Without Venture Capital” is being sold around the world. His new program on “skills-based, unicorn entrepreneurship” helps entrepreneurs, technologists, and students to learn the skills to take off without VCs; and helps banks, incubators, and governments to bridge the VC chasm from idea to Aha in their areas. After all, VCs seek ventures after Aha — after there is evidence of take-off.

Previously, Prof Dileep was Vice President in charge of venture development and financing at one of the largest development finance institutions in the U.S. where he managed five turnarounds, developed two incubators, financed businesses with equity, debt, leases, and development finance, and did private placements. He also consulted in new business development for Fortune 500 corporations.

For the U.S. government, he was a social entrepreneurship consultant and assisted 15 community development corporations to develop ventures in low-income areas. He also trained entrepreneurs in Haiti for higher performance.

Recently, he has taught at Florida International University, University of Minnesota, Harvard, Stanford, and INCAE. His new book with Inc. magazine, “Nothing Ventured, Everything Gained: How Entrepreneurs Create, Control and Retain Wealth Without Venture Capital,” shows how more than 9/10 of America’s billion-dollar entrepreneurs took off without VC by using skills and smart strategies. His free e-book, “The Truth About Venture Capital” helps you decide whether to seek VC or develop skills.

Prof Dileep also writes a blog for and has written nationally acclaimed books including, Business Financing: 25 Keys to Raising Money (NY Times); Handbook of Business Finance and Capital Sources (AMA, NY); and Bootstrap to Billions.

He also has two engineering degrees and a doctorate in business administration from the Univeristy of Minnesota.

Oh woow, so much to talk about Prof Dileep Rao, our next guest on the show. For more, quickly go to

If you are an #entrepreneur and you want to learn how to start and grow without looking for a venture capital, then, this conversation on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 is a MUST for you.

Join us at or by 12 noon WAT.

#UgwumbaLeadershipCenter, #UgwumbaEnterpriseChallenge, #UgwumbaStartupsProgram, #YoungEntrepreneurs, #WomenEntrepreneurs, #VentureCapital, #Startup, #Capital, #Fundraising, #Finance

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Ugwumba Center for Leadership Development in Africa, 2022