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The BIG IDEA Startup Program

is an 8-week program that helps entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into actual business plans.

Program Description (from our 2021 program)


The BIG IDEA Startup Program takes you through the concepts required to legitimize your businesses – that is, to create a working business plan that will help you identify your customers and understand the problems you are attempting to solve with your product or service. The facilitator(s) for the program will teach the following concepts:

  • Idea Generation

  • Team Building

  • Lean Startup: Introduction to the Business Model Canvas

  • Customer Segments

  • Value Proposition

  • Customer Interviews

  • Next Steps: Analysis, Kill, Pivot, Preserve

  • A quick introduction to Low Fidelity Prototyping

The Business Model Canvas helps entrepreneurs capture business model assumptions on one page so they can document their process as they build, measure, and learn about their solution.


Most importantly, the Business Model Canvas measures the effectiveness of the product and the customer reaction.
The lessons you’ll learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your idea will allow you to easily rebuild and adapt until you find success. The foundational basis of this program lies with the notion that interactions with real customers do more for startups than 200 assumption-filled pages of a business plan. Customers, not entrepreneurs, are the experts in this model, so you will be encouraged – in a very brief time – to test your assumptions and make fact-based decisions about your ideas.

Program Goals


The outcomes for this program are the following:
1. Provide experiential learning for underserved entrepreneurs (defined as those whose businesses will be run by minorities, women, and veterans) regarding the Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup principles.
2. Develop participants’ understanding of customer validation as a major factor in determining whether an entrepreneur’s idea will succeed in the market.
3. Improve participants’ ability to articulate key information about their businesses and customers, making them more likely to engage customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders.