McGill Lean Startup Program

Logo Lean Startup

What is the McGill Lean Startup?

Lean Startup is an intensive 4-week online program designed to help you develop your idea into a viable startup concept, while initiating you into the world of entrepreneurship.

Through informative workshops and self-directed work on your startup, 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 develop a general understanding of the pillars of business and how they fit into building your vision.

By the end of the program, you will have tested the feasibility of your ideas and developed your business model, and you will have the confidence and the clarity to pursue the next steps in building a successful startup.

View the Program Brochure

Program Overview

Dates: October 20 to November 10, 2020

Key Learning Themes

  • Why some startups fail and others succeed: stages, pitfalls and best-practices

  • Validating a proof of concept

  • The framework to creating a viable product

  • Building a business plan


ACTION LEARNING: Throughout the program, participants work with their teams on achieving milestones related to their startup idea. 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. 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.

Program Schedule

Week Workshop Action-Learning Project

Week 1 

Tuesday, October 20

6 - 8 p.m.

Why Some Startups Fail And Others Succeed


  • Program introduction and overview
  • Understanding the cycles and stages of a startup
  • Overcoming prevailing challenges and avoiding common pitfalls
  • Best-practices – drawing from lean methodology to improve the odds


Market Outreach:

  • Talking to your target market or potential partners to learn what they really want

Week 2

Tuesday, October 27

6 - 8 p.m.

Validating A Proof Of Concept

  • What is proof of concept and why you need it?
  • Using value proposition design to:

1. Validate the need

2. Address customer pain points

3. Conceptualize a solution/prototype

4. Seek feedback and testing

Value Proposition Design:

  • Defining what problems you will solve and how you will do it

Week 3

Tuesday, November 3

6 - 8 p.m.

The Framework To Creating A Viable Product

  • The purpose of a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Criteria for building and testing your MVP

Minimum Viable Product:

  • Developing/defining the features

    of your MVP and roadmap for early stage testing and feedback 

Week 4

Tuesday, November 10

6 - 8 p.m.

Building A Business Plan

  • Moving from concept to launching a viable business – identifying the key building blocks
  • Roadmap for the future
  • Putting together an attractive business plan to present to stakeholders

Business Model Generation: 

  • Articulating your business’ infrastructure, offerings, customers, revenue streams and more

This schedule is subject to change.

2020 Cohort



Almost every facet of the entertainment industry has evolved since the turn of the digital revolution, except PR, which continually remains stagnant despite change on all other fronts. Aglet PR would give artists and their teams the opportunity to pitch directly to journalists, paying only for tangible results if and when their music gets picked up. We want to create a space where there is complete transparency between artists, journalists, and PR professionals. This will be a one-stop shop for all things music PR, where all journalists are paid fairly for their work and artists get real-time results.


  • Mira Silvers, Alumni, Faculty of Arts, McGill University
  • Ffion Lewis


Agritourism Connect

Our startup idea is to create a service that collects data on agritourism businesses and allows users to search, find, and visit these businesses.


  • Kasra Saddad, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University 
  • Michael Risi, Faculty of Civil Engineering, McGill University
  •  Norman Skye Baylis, Faculty of Arts, McGill University
  • Sam Baron, Faculty of Arts, McGill University


Just Imagine

Just imagine is an organization that designs and plants green rooftops on the buildings to achieve positive environmental and social impact. The ultimate goal is to look down from the sky and see not a mass of concrete, but a living breathing city of green. Just imagine...


  • Aidan Gaul Faculty of Engineering, McGill University
  • Ashley Bock, Faculty of Engineering, McGill University
  • Evelyn Zhang, Faculty of Engineering, McGill University
  • Gretl Chan, Faculty of Science, McGill University
  • Hailey Roop, Faculty of Arts, McGill Universit
  •  Joy Zhang, Faculty of Science, McGill University
  • Laura Vanderweyen, Alumni, Faculty of Engineering, McGill University
  • Malvin Jefri, Faculty of Science, McGill University



We're making expert nutrition advice accessible and personalized for student-athletes. Our platform matches users to their ideal nutritionist from a curated network of sports nutrition experts.


  • Helen Lukacs, Alumni, Faculty of Science, McGill University



Placify is a solution that helps people move in their dream house now and build equity while living in it. We are on a mission to make homeownership possible for everyone.


  • Guillaume Forstmann, Alumni, Faculty of Engineering, McGill University
  • Thibault Forstmann


Project Build-it

Our Startup aims to improve treatment modalities and create diagnostic solutions for patients with cancer. The founding team’s synergy comes from their complementary expertise in basic, translational, and clinical research in the areas of Immunology and Oncology.


  • Catalin Mihalcioiu, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University
  • Christopher Rudd, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montreal
  •  Nathaniel Kremer
  • Richard Kremer, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University



ReliefAI is a mental health monitoring, diagnosis, and control platform that is designed for children. ReliefAI is designed to measure physical symptoms of childhood disorders as well as inputs from family and mentors with the highest technology to detect any mental disorder using machine-learning algorithms.


  • Sahel Fallahdoust, Alumni, ÉTS
  •  Hadi Moghadas, Alumni, University of Toronto
  • Mohammad Afshari, Faculty of Engineering, McGill University



Sobremesa is an AI matcher that helps solo diners find quality companions to virtually converse with over meals. Using mealtimes as social opportunities, we strive to foster meaningful conversations and forge new friendships.


  • Colleen Chang, Faculty of Arts, McGill University



XCOV19 aims to build a software application that will help patients and hospitals in third world countries overcome the pre- admission challenges that they face. Specifically, we will provide a service to route patients to the nearest hospital and to pre- register them to allow for an accelerated admission.


  • Akul Mathur
  • Kemo Huang, Alumni, Faculty of Science, McGill University

Program Application 

The McGill Lean Startup program applications are currently closed.

Interested in applying?  Leave us your information to be notified when applications open.

Notify me when applications open!

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

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