McGill Lean Startup Program

Lean Startup

The McGill Lean Startup Program is a hands-on program that immerses student teams by having them test their business ideas and hypotheses outside the classroom. Inside the classroom, it deliberately trades off lecture time for student/teaching team interaction.

It is inspired by the Lean LaunchPad Methodology developed and taught at UC Berkeley by Steve Blank. The Program consists of one 3-hour class every week for 10 weeks in the Fall, featuring guest speakers and mentors.

We work with early-stage McGill startup teams on:

  • customer development
  • hypothesis testing on product-market fit
  • pitch preparation

The Program is a mix of McGill undergrads and graduate students, post-docs and researchers across all faculties.


For 10 weeks every Fall, the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship runs the McGill Lean Startup Program. The program is free and open to all McGill students, faculty and staff. Final presentations take place Monday, December 3, 2018 and are open to the public. Applications for the McGill Lean Startup Program 2018 closed on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 11:59 PM.



For 10 weeks, we will be using the flipped-classroom approach, meaning:

  • Lectures typically given in class will instead be the projects that teams need to follow on their own time. These lectures are offered as a free course on the online platform Udacity: How to Build a Startup, The Lean LaunchPad.

  • In class lectures will instead be in-class discussions about the startup/business hypotheses. The facilitator will also help students and their teams achieve milestones and guide them throughout the McGill Lean Startup process.


The McGill Lean Startup Program will be facilitated by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship. The program will collaborate with experienced alumni and mentors from the Montreal community and beyond, prize winners from the McGill Dobson Cup and graduates of the McGill X-1 Accelerator, and professors from the Desautels Faculty of Management.


  1. Teams can be formed with individuals from any university or background HOWEVER they MUST have at least 1 McGill affiliation: student, faculty, staff or alumni. If the only affiliation is a McGill alumni, they should have graduated from McGill no more than 5 years ago.  Preference will be given to teams formed entirely of individuals from McGill.
  2. Teams must be a minimum of 2 individuals who are founders, with one technical and one non-technical.  If, for e.g., your startup project is a food-based startup (and not a tech startup), then one of your founders needs to be a food scientist (or have a similar background/expertise) to be able to create your product.
  3. Teams must show proof of having worked on an idea, concept, or prototype (ideally for 3+ months).
  4. Teams must attend all lectures, missing more than 2 lectures leads to disqualification and $50 reimbursement for the course (per member).
  5. Startups teams are not more than 2 years old.
  6. Startups teams have not raised a significant amount of funding yet (under $100K) in the last 2 years.
  7. This must be the only startup project you and your team are working on.
  8. Teams expressly intend to enter the 2019 McGill Dobson Cup or have done so previously.


Classes will be held at the Desautels Faculty of Management, 1001 Sherbrooke W. from 6:00 PM-9:00 PM every Wednesday in Bronfman 001 from October 3 to November 28, 2018. Final presentations will take place on Monday, December 3, 2018 in Armstrong 370, 3420 McTavish from 6:00 PM-9:00 PM.

We have an entrepreneurship collaborative space at our offices on 3430 Rue McTavish where you and your teams will be able to work together on your startup during the week and receive mentorship and ongoing help.