Neuro Innovation Lean Startup

Turning scientific ideas into startups

The McGill Dobson Neuro Innovation Lean Startup program, offered in partnership with with NeuroSphere, McGill's neuroscience accelerator funded through Healthy Brains Healthy Lives, was created to support and accelerate emerging innovation and scientific discovery in the fields of neurosciences, neurobiology, neuroinformatic, neurotechnology, neurorobotics or artificial intelligence.

The McGill Dobson Neuro Innovation Lean Startup program is a customized learning approach intended specifically for scientific researchers. It is designed to help take you from the idea stage to developing and launching a viable startup, while immersing you into the world of entrepreneurship.

Through informative workshops, mentoring and advising sessions with industry and subject matter experts, as well as self-directed work on your project, you will gain exposure to business frameworks and tools to diagnose your idea and generate challenging, yet feasible goals for your startup. You will also acquire a general understanding of key business concepts needed to bring your vision to life.

By the end of the program, you will have the business acumen, the confidence and the clarity to present your idea to various stakeholders and take your business to the next stage.

View the Program Brochure

Program Overview

Dates: February 1st – March 22nd 2022

Key Learning Themes

Lean Startup Turning An Idea Into A Business

  • Why some startups fail and others succeed: stages, pitfalls and best-practices
  • Validating your proof of concept
  • The framework to creating a viable product
  • Understanding your market
  • Protecting your IP & Legal Issues
  • Financial Projections & KPIs
  • Generating a business model to move from idea to startup
  • Crafting and articulating your vision to stakeholders



WEEKLY WORKSHOPS: The central platform for introducing strategic frameworks and business concepts that guide the process of turning an idea into a business plan. Workshops also provide the opportunity to bridge theory with real-world application through stories, examples and insights from guest speakers. Workshops will generally last one hour, but we reserve an extra hour for group discussions and learning activities.

ACTION LEARNING: Throughout the program, participants work on achieving milestones related to their startup idea and iterating their business plan. This process is a crucial component of the program and will ultimately lead to the development of
a viable startup concept.

COACHING SESSION: Upon completion of the workshops, participants are encouraged to submit their business plan to be reviewed during a one-on-one coaching session.


Upon completion of Neuro Innovation Lean Startup, teams are encouraged to participate in the 2023 McGill Dobson Bootcamp and Cup.


Week Learning themes

Why Some Startups Fail And Others Succeed

  • Understanding the cycles and stages of a startup

  • Importance of team composition

  • Overcoming prevailing challenges and avoiding common pitfalls
  • Best-practices – drawing from lean methodology to improve the odds

Understanding Your Market

  • Tools for competitive analysis

  • Researching your market and determining its size

  • Identifying your beachhead market


What Matters to Customers

  • Using value proposition design to:
  1. define what problems you are solving
  2. understand the difference between “price", “cost" and “value”
  • Analysis of direct/indirect stakeholders
  • How to overcome innovation resistance
  • Impact of neuro tech on sectors/consumers

The Framework To Creating A Viable Product

  • Building a proof of concept

  • The purpose of a minimum viable product (MVP)

  • Criteria for building and testing your MVP


Protecting Your IP & Open Science

  • What does it mean to be “venture ready” from a legal point of view?

  • Managing your IP: talking about your idea without revealing trade secrets

  • How to navigate the regulations of tech and neuroethics

  • Find a balance between IP and Open Science


Funding an innovative venture & Defining KPIs

  • Basics to finance and accounting

  • Barriers to funding in an innovative-driven field

  • Defining the right metrics


Crafting and Articulating the Vision and Strategic Plan to Stakeholders

  • Creating and telling a compelling story

  • Tips for communicating data and scientific information

  • Understanding what goes into an elevator pitch and a pitch presentation

  • Putting together an attractive business plan to present to stakeholders


Building A Business Plan

  • Moving from concept to operating a viable business – identifying the key building blocks

  • Roadmap for the future

  • Crafting a revenue model

Program Application 

Ideal Participant Profile

This program is for McGill-affiliated researchers and trainees that have been working on an idea, discovery or prototype - ideally for 3 months or more, that are looking to legitimize their concept and move towards launching a startup.

You or your team has at least one founder that is a McGill University student, faculty member or staff member.

You or your team has at least one technical co-founder, and can build your business upon a technology, science, or idea that is significantly or radically disruptive.

The project must be aligned with one of HBHL’s research themes

How to Apply

A commitment towards attending all the workshops and executing the project work is required.

Applications are now closed.

Register here to be notified when applications open.

Have questions about the program? Contact Kika Armata for more information: Dobson.mgmt [at]

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