Source Institute is a skunkworks for developing peer learning into a robust, systematic discipline.

I've used peer learning to help world-leading organisations, and entrepreneurs in some of the world's fastest-changing environments. Now, I've switched focus to tools that directly empower people.

I'm Salim Virani. I've developed entrepreneur training programs for UCL, Oxford, Seedcamp, Techstars, 500 Startups, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, Unilever, and Microsoft. Before that, I founded companies in ecommerce, IT provision and SaaS.

Full design & delivery

Village Accelerator

Over a year, trained a group of Roma teenagers to code. This proof-of-concept was notably successful because of the emphasis on peer support. There's an overlap between software developer culture and Roma culture, that activated self-direction in the teenagers.
Managed by Boyana Mecheva. Volunteer teachers: Vlad Alexiev, Boyan Zhelyazkov, Ivan Stoyanov

The Africa Prize 2014-2017

A pan-African support program for African engineers tackling African challenges. Made the the program more relevant to the learners through heavy use of facilitated peer support and startup community interaction.
Fully developed and run by Source for The UK Royal Academy Of Engineering. I dicontinued my involvement in 2017 for ethical reasons.

Leaders In Innovation Fellowship (LIF)2015-2017

A commercialisation bootcamp program that accepted ~300 engineers from 15 countries each year. Reached pinnacle status within The Newton Fund due to its ability to acheive consistently high results for cohorts of different cultures.
Managed by Boyana Mecheva.

I sold this operation in 2017 and discontinued involvement.

Startup Deep Dive

An 8-hour, hands-on workshop, simulating the muddy exploration and hard decisions that founders face when getting their ideas off the ground.
Originally developed for Oxford University, it was later redesigned for world-wide deployment through the AIESEC student group:.

ING Bank

Provided startup mentoring and peer learning components for the ING PACE innovation program. Peer learning correlated to top performers.
With Robbert Van Geldrop, Bart Dooreweert, George Dita

Online Content

Mentor Impact

Researched the approaches used by the best mentors in some of the world's top accelerators. The findings were published as a small book.

The Sources2015-2017

Africa's most popular tech entrepreneurship course, reaching 10,000 students. Based on interviewing African tech entrepereneurs about their Africa-specific challenges.
With Boyana Mecheva, Eric Halsey, Teador Mechev, Jonathan Doornenbal

The Sources: AI

AI course created by forming small teams of AI experts around novice problems, and capturing their mental models, processes and the practical techniques they shared with each other.
With Boyana Mecheva, Eric Halsey

Decision Hacks

A collection of early-stage, decision tools used by different tech entrepreneurs. Written in bite-sized form for fast reference.

Peer Learning is

A blog deconstructing leaders in peer learning. Includes a methodology for running your own peer learning program.
Co-authored with Bart Doornweert

Community Events

Leancamp 2010-2015

The global community that shaped the Lean Startup methodology. Centered around unconferences that connected entrepreneurs with UX, sales, business model researchers and other disciplines. Ran in 30+ cities through a network of volunteer organisers.
With Daniel Bartell, Dan Toma, Robbert Van Geldrop

Source Summit

An unconference format designed for finding solutions to entrepreneurs' challenges. It ran in Nairobi, Wageningen, Sofia, Belgrade and London.
With Nemanja Cerovac, Bart Doorneweert, Boyana Mecheva

Source Camp

An unconference about peer learning, held yearly with Source collaborators and a few invited guests.
With Boyana Mecheva, Bart Doorneweert, Robin Balser

Program design

European Commission: Sofia Tech Park

Commissioned to design and deploy an education program for Sofia Tech Park. With 11 different world-class labs in various disciplines, the main challenge was helping them find paths-to-market that are viable from the Bulgarian business climate.
The program design was completed, however Tech Park was unable to proceed due to internal issues.

Lean Innovation Summit

Introduced the open space and flocks unconference formats to Lean Innovation Summit, demonstrating their effectiveness by raising Net Promotor Score by 40 points.
With Robbert Van Geldrop

Facilitation Tools

Facilitation Timer

A timer app for facilitators in an auditorium or workshop.