Student Venture Accelerator Course

The Student Venture Accelerator Class is a two-semester course taught by Professor Rob Lalka in the Lepage Center's Student Venture Incubator. Students will have the opportunity to take an idea from its earliest inception to launch. Throughout this two-semester course, teams will work on new ventures by developing a business model and business strategy; conducting primary and secondary research; “road testing” an idea to develop initial outlines of financial, marketing, sales, and hiring plans; and ultimately develop a new venture pitch. To support the launch of each new venture, the professor, a team of advisers that includes Lepage Center Innovators-in-Residence and the Lepage Center's mentor network provides coaching, referrals and guidance that will be customized to the unique challenges facing each startup. 

Throughout the first semester, there are a series of Lessons Learned presentations. During these presentations, the students present on a specific topic such as secondary research, minimum viable product, value proposition, customer feedback, or financial strategy. The students present their ventures to a group of mentors, entrepreneurs and other professionals to receive valuable feedback and action items to apply to their business models. 

In the second semester, students go even further by developing financial, marketing, sales, and hiring plans; creating founding documents and policies; developing an investor pitch and business plan; and preparing for a board meeting simulation. During the board meeting simulation, which serves as the course's final exam, students apply what they have learned throughout the two semesters. 

To gain access to this course, students must work with their academic advisers to confirm that they are eligible, that they can take both semesters of the course and meet all graduation requirements. This is a two-semester commitment and all students who take the first semester will automatically be enrolled in the second term.