UTD’s Launchpad: Revving Startups Outside the Classroom

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PROGRAM GIVES PARTICIPANTS TOOLS TO SPUR BUSINESSES


Over the 10-week Launchpad program created last fall, participants get a highly experiential, outside the classroom, lean startup environment to get their business concept off the ground.

During these 10 weeks, Launchpad teams meet at The University of Texas at Dallas to:

Learn about lean startup methodology.

Find potential customers and then engage those prospects early and often.

Work on a “minimum viable product” that demonstrates key functions of their future product or service.

Get this product and its features in front of customers’ eyes as soon as possible.

Once a Launchpad team reviews the product feasibility and has begun to sharpen a business model using the Business Model Canvas, the team builds its investor pitch. In the last five weeks of the program, participants work through customer discovery while developing a 10-minute pitch that lays out their market, financials, milestones, team, and product.

At the end of the 10-week program, each team presents its product or service for an opportunity to win $2,000 and an invitation to continue working on their concepts in Startup Launch, an academic program at UT Dallas that goes deeper into the launch process.

Last fall, six teams completed the 10-week program and two teams placed second and third in the UT Dallas Business Idea Competition. Both teams, interestingly, were led by undergraduate freshmen.

This spring, seven teams completed the program and all are moving forward to launch their businesses. Weiser, an Internet of Things retail company, won the $2,000 prize this spring and is launching a pilot on campus this summer.

Launchpad begins a new 10-week program this fall at UT Dallas with applications now being accepted.

Follow the University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management @jindal_utdallas.


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