McGill Dobson​ Entrepreneurial Women Lean Startup

A Lean Startup Program for Women

While the share of women entrepreneurs in Quebec and Canada was below 30% in 2020 according to a recent study by the government of Quebec,  50% of the start-ups participating in Dobson programs since 2019 have been co-founded by women. ​

The McGill Dobson Entrepreneurial Women Lean Startup Program will provide women innovators an opportunity to develop their idea into a viable business concept while delving into the particular challenges and concerns that women frequently encounter, such as barriers to funding opportunities, and perceived encumbrances on work-life balance.​

Throughout the 8-week program, founders participate in weekly workshops led by women industry leaders and subject matter experts, and conduct self-directed work on their business concept. Participants gain exposure to business frameworks and tools to evaluate their idea and generate challenging, yet feasible goals for their startup. ​

By the end of the program, they will have the confidence and the clarity to take their vision to the next stage and will have developed lasting relationships with a network of women entrepreneurs, mentors and business experts.

View the program brochure

Program Overview

Program Dates: May 3 to June 21, 2022

Duration: Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m. for 8 weeks​


Key Learning Themes

  • Why some startups fail, and others succeed: stages, pitfalls and best-practices​
  • Understanding your market and what matters to customers​
  • Identifying your problem and designing your solution​
  • Articulating your value proposition​
  • Developing your market outreach strategy​
  • Funding an innovative venture & defining KPIs​
  • Iterating your business model and drafting a business plan


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.

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 2 hours but we reserve an extra hour for guest speakers and mentors.​

Course Overview

Week Learning Themes

Why Some Startups Fail And Others Succeed ​

  • Keynote speaker: Overcoming prevailing challenges and avoiding common pitfalls ​
  • Program introduction and overview

Understanding Your Market​

  • Researching your market and determining its size​
  • Determining your TAM, SAM, SOM​
  • Defining what matters most to customers

Identifying your problem and designing your solution​

  • Drawing on concepts of Design Thinking and Customer Development to:​
  • Understand customer pain points​
  • Frame the problem​
  • Iterate your solution/product​
  • Develop your proof of concept​

Articulating Your Value Proposition​

  • Articulate the value potential customers will get​
  • Describe what you do in an easy and concise way​
  • Communicate what sets you apart from the competition

Market Outreach Strategy​

  • Understand the components of a Community Outreach strategy​
  • Acquiring and engaging with your early customers/users​
  • Community building and other communication approaches for startups

Funding your startup & defining your KPIs​

  • Overview of how startups get funded​
  • Determining how you will generate revenue and develop financial projections ​
  • Holding yourself accountable by tracking milestones and important KPIs

Putting it all together​

  • Defining the key elements of your business model and drafting your business plan​
  • Identifying key resources needed to execute on your vision

One-on-one coaching session ​

  • Review of business plan​


Program Application

Ideal Participant Profile

This program is for women McGill-affiliated aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage founders that have been working on an idea or prototype who are looking to legitimize their concept and move towards creating a business plan and launching a startup.​

Founding teams need not be comprised only of women but women should represent 50% of the equity share. Note that the program is open only to women.​

  • You identify as a woman and are affiliated with McGill (e.g., student, faculty, staff or alumni). ​
  • Your startup is made up of 50% or more women founders​
  • You or at least one of your co-founders has at technical expertise, and can build your business upon a technology, science, or idea that is significantly or radically disruptive.


How to Apply

A commitment towards attending all the workshops and executing the project work is required. Following completion of the Lean Startup Program, participants are encouraged to enter in the 2023 McGill Dobson Bootcamp and Cup competition.​

Applications are currently 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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