The Chicago Lean Startup Challenge, like other similarly named challenges across the country is based on Eric Reis’ “Lean Startup” methodology, customer development by Steve Blank and the business canvass model by Alexander Osterwalder. Ultimately the challenge is to take startups and hone them in on the most efficient way to succeed.
“Unlike business plan competitions, the Lean Startup Challenge focuses on real, meaningful results for the participants. The final presentations provided insights into the area where so many startups fail – understanding their customer!” -Nik Rokop, Director at Knapp Entrepreneurship Center IIT.
The 14 week startup program is designed to get startups on the path to success. The program, in it’s second year, will hold lean startup classes, give participants access to mentors and the community, connect startups with the tools they need and they have over $75,000 in cash and prizes.
More after the break
The first day, June 30th is a lean startup bootcamp. The bootcamp is an intense one day workshop to familiarize the participants with the lean startup best practices.
Over the following 10 weeks the teams will generate a business model. They will also test the business model and run experiments to validate assumptions. The program will support the teams with mentors, classes resources and tools.
The last four weeks is what the program is calling “Intense Acceleration”. The teams will be narrowed down to four finalists. The finalists will then get one on one pitch help with mentors before going on to the finals. On October 3, 2012 the four finalists will present their pitches and what they’ve learned and compete for $75,000 in cash and prizes.
Chicago’s Lean Startup Challenge has some great mentors lined up including Groupon’s Steve Walker, Neal Sales-Griffin of Code Academy, Mike McGee of Code Academy, Nik Rokop of the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center, Troy Henikoff from Excelerate labs and many more.
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