The Lean Entrepreneur Program (Oct 2014): Week #1 Recap

Check out instructor extraordinaire John Gray's recap of the opening week of our Fall 2014 Lean Entrepreneur Program! With justifiable excitement we kicked off week #1 of our second cohort for the Lean Entrepreneur Program on September 16th. We’re calling it version 2.0 because we consider Launch Academy itself a startup. If we aren’t learning from experience, calling ourselves entrepreneurs rings hollow.

The feedback and reviews from our first cohort offered up very positive validation. In many ways it’s humbling to roll through the process of testing, measuring, and iterating. Challenging ourselves to be better, setting the bar high and delivering world class programming is the goal for LEP. Individual entrepreneurial potentiality needs the opportunity to be realized.

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Our participants get a heaping dose of reality. As a few members of the last cohort shared, “doing a startup is hard.” There’s no “startup porn” in this program. After an overview and introduction to Launch Academy and what’s in store for the next four weeks, our five three-person teams came together.

Teams have chosen to work through business model concepts around a two-sided marketplace, SaaS, eCommerce platform, or a mobile application. It will be interesting to see the evolution of each Lean Canvas as they go through 3 weeks of customer discovery and validation.

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The Launch Academy team also owes Emily Carr University of Art + Design a huge thank you  for supporting the program. With five design students enrolled in this cohort, the creative spark in the room is making quite the impression.

While we’ve made a number of subtle (or in some cases not so subtle) changes to the syllabus, one new addition to the class proved to be a real hit. There’s no doubt that the Marshmallow Challenge will be a keeper. Two teams managed to build a freestanding structure, and suffice to say everyone learned a few lessons.

It’s exciting to envision what 15 really motivated participants will discover about themselves this next three weeks. It’s equally exciting to see how the five teams will come together, coalesce around an idea and discover if there’s a potential scalable business model in the making. Stay tuned!