ILT Academy @ Rural CEP
In this 10 week certificate program, students will learn how to leverage design thinking, design innovation, with lean startup methods to identify problems worth solving, the needs of their customers and develop bold, new products and service ideas.
Students will practice using new tools, frameworks, and processes to collaborate, communicate, create, and think critically about their idea.
This program has been enhanced to include additional founder hours and supports including an ILT Academy Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) to provide customized support and counsel for each Student Founder.
Sept 5th, 2022 to Nov 7th, 2022Duration: Every Tuesday and Thursday
Time: 8am – 12pm and 8am – 10am
*Program cost is FREE
**Limited spots available
MN Rural CEP is excited to partner with ILT Academy to support more entrepreneurs in Minnesota.
“One of the best things about being able to access the ILT Academy virtually is that it is a unique resource for entrepreneurs; one that folks in our region would not be able to access otherwise. Virtual access allows people from all over to access this training, coaching and mentoring. It also creates networking opportunities that those who attend would never have otherwise. The whole program allows entrepreneurs in greater Minnesota to get input and insights that are critical to business and market success.”
Team Leader, MN Rural CEP
This 10-Week Lean Startup Program coaches, supports, and boosts entrepreneurs and soon-to-be-entrepreneurs on their lean startup journeys. While working on their business ideas, participants will learn and practice the skills needed to refine, explore, innovate, and develop a plan for their business ideas. Participants will connect with fellow entrepreneurs, coaches, and mentors to be a part of the Minnesota community of startup entrepreneurs.
Session Dates //
Every Tuesday from 09/05/2022 to 11/07/2022
Session Times //
Tuesday 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Session Location //
Online Classroom (virtual @ILT Academy)
How much does this program cost?
The program is *FREE* to all participants. The program is subsidized through the generous sponsors above.
Who should apply?
Participants do not need any startup experience nor a fully formed idea for a startup — just ambition, motivation and grit. The 10-Week Lean Startup Program will build startup skills as participants work on their business ideas.
Am I eligible to apply to the program?
Any one from MN can apply for our virtual program. There are a limited number of seats available; the acceptance rate will be very competitive and determined by MN Rural CEP and Career Force partners across MN. However, if there are additional spaces, the program will consider participants outside the priority areas. We encourage you to apply regardless of your current location.
Who Should Apply
The 10-Week Lean Startup Program is ideal for teams and individuals who are just starting to shape their ideas, or have an existing product or business that they want to develop and grow like a startup. High Tech, Low Tech, No Tech business ideas, as well as non-profits are welcome. The program combines remote learning, remote collaboration, and remote coaching to help participants test and refine their business ideas. Over the 10-week period, participants will learn and practice how to:
- Explore and refine ideas
- Assess the market potential
- Reduce risk
- Validate products, customers, and markets
- Prepare for future development
- Prepare for investment
The course will conclude with a virtual founder showcase where teams will have the opportunity to present to regional startup community, business leaders and potential investors.
Program Series Outline
Startup Innovation – 4 Sessions
Participants will learn and practice the ILT Innovation Framework, in order to focus on actual problems, explore market opportunities, and articulate possible marketable solutions.
- Identify new startup opportunities
- Deconstruct ideas, refine ideas, and explore new ideas
- Develop a clear and concise 30-second pitch for each opportunity
// Benefit to Participants
Participants will learn and practice the processes and techniques to define and refine an idea’s core problem, solution, customer, and the potential opportunity surrounding that idea.
Customer Driven Innovation – 4 Sessions
Participants will learn and practice advanced customer interviewing methods to gather, analyze, and discover insights to ensure the right problem is being solved with the right solution for the right customer in the right context.
- Start a lean business model canvas
- Define target market, target customers, and customer segments
- Interview target customers
- Develop a strong 5-min customer thesis presentation
// Benefit to Participants
Participants will learn and practice advanced customer interview methods to ensure they are solving the right problem, with the right solution, for the right customer, in the right context. Participants will develop a strong customer thesis presentation, ensuring a fuller understanding of their lean canvas.
Participants will craft a 5 minute video presentation and share their lean startup concept and business idea with an actionable plan to move their business forward.
- Iterate and finalize a lean canvas (business plan)
- Develop a lean startup action plan
- Develop and executive summary of your busines idea
- Develop a business abstract for furture investment and grant opportunities
- Develop clear and concise presentation for their lean startup concept
// Benefit to Participants
Participants will learn and practice lean startup action planning, develop their founder story and present a clear and concise pitch in front of local and regional community and business leaders.
Co-Founders // Ryan Graham (CEO), Cathy Nguyen (Director of Public Relations),
& Vassey Konneh (Director of Product)
“The magic of this course is that it works to build your ability to gather and decipher meaningful customer feedback. I learned new ways to share my idea and have a community of people provide new insights and feedback for me to take in.”
Co-Founder and CEO, Aromic
Co-Founders // Mattias Kostov & Jeremias Thiel
“The best part was learning about other MN entrepreneurs and building relationships with people you can learn from and support. This gives entrepreneurs a way to both develop their ideas and connect with other thinkers and makers.”
Co-Founders // Elaine O’Keefe & Tom Duenow
“This program provided a supportive and collaborative environment to get our startup idea off the ground. We had no idea there was a process to share our idea, get feedback from our peers and quickly test it in ways that aligned us for more successes from ideation to pilot launch.”
Co-Founder and Transitions In Nature
Founder // Teri Market (CEO)
“This was a very unique learning environment that allowed me to grow as an entrepreneur and practice my startup skills. In a very short amount of time I learned new methods for idea generation, product and market exploration, and how to validate my idea with the confidence to move forward.”
Founder and CEO, Marketable Social Media
“Attending ILT’s customer discovery class was a game-changer for Otrafy. The skills that ILT shared with us helped us create our discovery funnel, which allowed us to find product-market fit and build a pipeline of priorities for our development.”
Co-Founder and COO, Otrafy
“Having ILT Academy’s support in our business has been a great experience for Virtuwoof. We have gained so much useful knowledge we’re able to directly apply to our business strategy. The activities we completed built up our confidence and were critical to our success in launching our first startup!”
Co-Founder and CEO, Virtuwoof