Summer Entrepreneurship Academy: Discovering and Launching a Business

UCSC Summer 8 Week Session
June 22 – August 10, 2020

This 8-week program is offered over UC Santa Cruz’s summer session.  Students build teams consisting of one or more students as entrepreneurial leads and a mentor with start-up experience that can help the students discover and develop their business model.  Students in this course learn who their core and tertiary customers are, the marketing processes required for initial adoption and downstream sustainability, what data will be required for future partnerships and users, and core project management, financial, legal, and marketing resources needed for new companies.  Students also learn to assess intellectual property and risk before they design and build and to identify financing and other key resources early.

This course begins with a 1-day “in-person” intensive workshop at the start of class for team building, 6 weeks of webinars, and ends with a 1-day “in-person” intensive workshop where students give their final presentations. This class is based on the Lean Launchpad/NSF I-Corps model.  Each week, students are expected to “get out of the building” and talk to at least 10 potential customers, partners, channels and/or related experts each week.  Students prepare weekly powerpoint slides based on the lessons learned from the customer discovery that they present during the webinars and receive feedback from the teaching time.  

Entrepreneurship Academy Course Outline

Week 1 – Introductory 1-day Workshop in Santa Cruz
Morning: Introductions

  • Teams presentations (5 minutes) on their Innovation, Canvas and Customers
  • Business Model Canvas & Value Propositions
  • Teams have Office Hours w/ Instructional Staff & prepare Customer Contact List
  • Customer Discovery (i.e. contact customers and/or get out of the building)

Topics include: Narrowing the Focus, Why PI’s and Founders, Need to Get Out of the Building, Getting to the “Better Idea” Faster, Insights on: Does Customer Development Work in Therapeutics?, The Phases of Customer Discovery.

General Discussions: How large will you scale, Being a visionary Risks & Rewards, Do you want to Spend 3 to 4 Years Doing This? & Don’t Let the MVP Limit Your Vision.

Afternoon: Customer Segments

  • Teams presentations (5 minutes) on their canvas, lessons learned, CP and VP
  • Lunch Panel: How to Succeed and Pivoting Panel
  • Customer Discovery (i.e. get out of the building)

Topics Include: Before Leaving the Building – Pre-Planning Contacts, Customer Interview Dry Runs, Discovery is for Founders, Pass/Fail Experiments

Outside the Building Rules of Customer Interviews – Being Aggressive, Conducting a Customer Interview, Letting the Customer Interview Flow, Sizing the Opportunity, Finding Patterns, Looking for Insights.

Early Mistakes to Avoid – Death by PowerPoint & by Demo, Understanding the Problem, Multi-Person Interview, Assuming You Know, B-to-B to C, Existing vs. New Markets, Asking the Right Question, Public Interviews, Understanding What the Customer Is Telling You, Engaging the Customer, Customer Empathy, The Distracted Customer, Customers Lie, The User, the Buyer & the Saboteur.

Back in the Building – Extracting Insight from Data, Pay Attention to Outliers, Getting the MVP Right, The “Other 85%”, Finding Early Evangelists, Communicating Your Discoveries

  • Adobe Connect and Webinar Training
  • Office Hours & Networking Reception
  • Customer Interview Techniques

Week 2 – (Webinar 1): Customer Relationships, Channels and Team Presentations.

Topics Include: Value Proposition – Pivoting…or Groping for a Business Model? Seduced by Insufficient Data.

Customer Relationships – Insights on: Customer Relationships, Use Customers to Find More Customers, Customer Conversion
Customer Segments – Insights on: Customer Segments, Estimating Market Size, Customer Workflow, Customer Discovery / Customer Archetype, Customer Archetypes; Hypotheses & Experiments, The Fog of Entrepreneurship, At the Start, All Your Stakeholders Are Customers, Square Pegs & Round Holes

Insights on: Channels, Framing the Experiment, Distribution Channels: One Data Point Is Not a Test.
Week 3 – (Webinar 2): Key Resources/Partners, Team Management and Team Presentations

Insights on: Key Partners, Listen Carefully for Customer Discovery, The Timing of Partnerships

Week 4 – (Webinar 3): Revenue Streams, Cost Structure, Markets and Team Presentations, Key activities and key resources.

Topics Include: Revenue Streams – Value Based Pricing – “We Were Gobsmacked!”, Insights on: Revenue Streams, The Importance of Experiments, Validating Product Pricing

Week 5 – (Webinar 4): Professional Communication/Videos and Team Presentations

Topics Include: The Power and How to Tell the Product Narrative, Story Structure – Main Character, Main Conflict, Challenges and Solutions.

Week 6 – (Webinar 5): Funding and Video Class Presentations

Week 7 – Final 1-day Workshop
Morning: Practice Final Team presentations (10 minutes)
Networking Lunch
Refine and finalize Presentation & Videos with Teaching Team

Afternoon: Final Team + Video presentations (15 minutes)
Lunchtime Presentation: What’s next, pivoting and fundraising
Final Teams + Video presentations continued (15 minute)
Networking Reception

Required Class materials: Innovation Within- an on-line system that provides the curricular materials, videos, mentor/teacher/student feedback, and business canvas

Optional Texts: Startup Owner’s Manual:The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company & the Business Model Generation (Canvas): A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

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