Lean Startup

Duration: 8 weeks | Stage: Ideation

Lean Startup

Turning Ideas Into Startups

This program is designed to train, educate, and empower early-stage startups and aspiring entrepreneurs that are looking to transform their idea into a viable startup concept.

Throughout the 8-week program, you will attend weekly workshops, conduct self-directed work and acquire tangible tools to:

  • Test the viability of your concept
  • Build your business plan
  • Develop your minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Discover your market
  • Create your value proposition
  • Develop your fundraising strategy
  • Establish realizable goals for your startup

“The Lean Startup program has connected us with many experienced mentors who have given us crucial feedback
that has brought our startup to a level not achievable on our own.”

 Malachy Belkhelladi

Cofounder, Champion's Advantage
Malachy Belkhelladi, cofounder of the Champion's Advantage


Program Overview

Duration: 8 weeks | Stage: Ideation

Dates: October 10 to November 28, 2023

Time: 6pm - 7:30pm

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


  • Weekly interactive workshops introduce business concepts, strategic frameworks and tools, while guest speakers share real world examples through stories, and industry insights. Workshops generally last one hour, with extra time reserved for group discussions and learning activities.
  • Action learning encourages participants to apply learned concepts and tools towards building their business and creating a viable startup strategy.
  • Coaching sessions allow participants to review their business plans during one-on-one meetings.


Week Learning Themes

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

Developing and validating a proof of concept

  • Building and testing your minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Iterating and refining your solution/ product/ service
  • Using design thinking to understand customer pain points

Understanding your market and creating a market outreach strategy

  • Tools for competitive analysis (TAM, SAM, SOM)
  • Researching your market and engaging customers/ users/ payers
  • Identifying your beachhead market and Go-to-Market strategy

Defining Your Value Proposition

  • Articulating the value of your solution to various stakeholders
  • Describing your solution using concise and non-technical language
  • Communicating what differentiates you from the competition

Managing your Intellectual Property (IP) & other legal aspects

  • Understanding the basics of IP/ patents/ legal aspects
  • Protecting your IP while engaging with stakeholders
  • Understanding “venture readiness” from a legal standpoint

Funding your startup & measuring its growth

  • Understanding the funding ecosystem for startups
  • Determining your revenue generation strategy
  • Creating financial projections and tracking milestones/ KPIs

Building a business plan

  • Defining the key elements of your business model
  • Drafting your business plan and roadmap for the future
  • Identifying key resources needed to execute your vision

Crafting and articulating your vision to stakeholders

  • Telling a compelling story and pitching
  • Communicating data/ information using concise and non-technical language
  • Crafting pitch decks tailored to different types of stakeholders

One-on-one coaching sessions with subject matter experts

  • Reviewing your business plan and roadmap for the future

Program Application 

Ideal Participant Profile

  • Your team has at least one McGill affiliated co-founder e.g., student, faculty, staff or alumni.
  • You are working towards validating your concept, creating a business plan, and launching your startup.
  • You, or at least one of your co-founders, has technical expertise, and can build your business upon a technology, science, or idea that is significantly or radically disruptive.
  • Your team is composed of multi-disciplinary professionals (including learners or graduates).
  • You can commit to attending all the workshops and executing the project work (required to maintain your participation in the program)

How to Apply

Next cohort: October 10 to November 28, 2023

Register here to be notified when the program applications open.

Next Steps

Following completion of the Lean Startup program, participants are encouraged to apply to the McGill Dobson Bootcamp and Cup competition for a chance to win up to $20,000 in pre-seed funding.


Have questions about the program?  Email us at  dobson.mgmt [at] mcgill.ca for more information

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