If there’s a “top buzzwords list” in start-up and innovation circles these days, “lean start-up” is sure to hold one of the highest spots.

But lean start-up is more than a trendy term, it’s a movement. And with good reason.

Lean start-up is about getting the right product to the right customer, faster, better and without waste.

Nobody’s going to say that's a bad thing.

Yet, while we all seem to be talking about being lean, not everybody is doing it.

Innovacorp can help. We’re bringing you a four-part workshop series that will introduce you to the lean start-up methodology and help you get your new business developed, launched, and funded. We’ll focus on the business model canvas, customer discovery, value proposition, product/market fit, revenue models, and market channels.

The sessions will be super practical and hands-on, based on your real commercialization project or start-up. There will be time to develop customer discovery and customer development skills while working on an actual business model for your new or proposed commercialization venture.

The series is made up of four half-day sessions. Individuals and teams are welcome. Below you’ll find the schedule along with session and instructor descriptions. (You don’t have to attend all four sessions, but it’s highly recommended you do.)

NOTE: Registration for this workshop is by invitation only. Please RSVP to Jennifer Liu by January 28 for the first workshop. There is no charge for these sessions, but seats are limited, so please only tell us you’re coming if you’re sure you’ll be there. Also when you RSVP be sure to be clear on which sessions you plan to attend.

Innovacorp Lean Start-Up Workshop Series

Business Model Canvas
and Customer Discovery

Friday, January 30  |  9:00 am - noon
Innovacorp Enterprise Centre
1344 Summer Street
This workshop introduces the business model canvas, hypothesis testing and validation, as well as customer discovery and customer development techniques. Teams will complete their initial business model canvas, identify the hypotheses to be tested, and set up experiments to validate their business model.
Value Proposition Canvas
Friday, February 13  |  9:00 am - noon
Dalhousie University
Killam Library, Room 2600


This workshop helps you understand the value proposition, the problem to be solved, customers’ needs, jobs to be done, customer segments, gain creators, pain solvers, additional product value, and minimum viable product. Team presentations (identifying pivots and new hypotheses to validate their business model) will be combined with hands-on exercises and coaching sessions.
Product/Market Fit
Friday, February 27  |  9:00 am - noon
Dalhousie University
Killam Library, Room 2600
This workshop emphasizes product/market fit and identification of customer segments. Team presentations will be combined with hands-on exercises and coaching sessions.
Revenue Models
and Product/Market Channels

Monday, March 16   |  9:00 am - noon
Dalhousie University
Killam Library, Room 2600
This workshop examines various types of revenue streams and pricing tactics. How do revenue models and pricing differ on the web versus other channels? How does this differ in a multi-sided market? Team presentations will be combined with hands-on exercises and coaching sessions.

Facilitators and Mentors

This lean start-up program will be delivered by Dalhousie University’s Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship (NNCE). It is an e-Corps program, which is a series of workshops designed for researchers and early stage start-ups, focusing on building customer discovery skills to find a validated business model that is both repeatable and scalable.

Mary Kilfoil (PhD), Assistant Professor, Academic Lead, Starting Lean Initiative, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University – Since joining the Dalhousie faculty, Mary has led the team that launched the Starting Lean course in fall 2012, providing an experiential approach to entrepreneurship and landing on the list of academia’s top 10 courses in Canada in 2013. She also launched a campus-wide innovation course based on “design thinking” principles open to students from all faculties, which is also resulting in student-led enterprises. In 2014, Mary received Startup Canada’s national Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year award.

Ed Leach (PhD), Assistant Professor, Director of the Norman Newman Centre, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University – Ed is certified as a Lean LaunchPad educator and co-teaches the Starting Lean course at Dalhousie. Outside the classroom, Ed works with students and researchers creating companies and has been instrumental in launching Dalhousie’s on-campus student start-up accelerator to help student start-ups become investment-ready, Canada's Business Model Competition, as well as non-credit entrepreneurship programming for researchers, students and members of the business community.

Ying Tam, CEO, Mindful Scientific – Ying has been a mentor for Dalhousie’s Starting Lean course for the past two years and has a solid understanding of the Lean LaunchPad approach, from an academic perspective, from a founder’s perspective, and from the perspective of commercializing scientific research. He recently attended the Lean LaunchPad Educators Program in Santa Cruz, California, and is certified as a Lean LaunchPad educator. A seasoned entrepreneur and business executive with over 20 years of industry experience, Ying has a passion for building companies and has taken multiple start-ups from initial concept to business reality.