Applying new knowledge to real problems for measurable results.

For Entrepreneurs

LaunchPad: Mastering the Essentials of a Business Startup

Many startup companies fail, not because the business idea is bad but because the founders neither have the experience nor resources to solve the wide range of unexpected problems that occur daily. Ignite your venture through  “LaunchPad,” a hands-on, practical learning experience that prepares you to turn your great idea into a great company.

Program Objectives

Endorsed by Steve Blank, founder of Lean LaunchPad, this program provides participants with hands-on learning of the issues, personal skills required, and techniques for balancing the many demands placed on the entrepreneur to start a company. The program will create an entrepreneurial experience for you with all the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage startup.  You will quickly acquire the knowledge and insight to start your own company.

Who Should Attend

This is an open-enrollment program designed for individuals with the desire to start their own business or those who wish to be in a position to advise others. Each participant enters the session with a business idea they plan to pursue or can  join a team  for evaluation.

Dates and Location


Program Benefits

At the highest level, you should come away from LaunchPad with clear answers to the following questions:

  • What are the issues, tensions and relationships faced by entrepreneurs?
  • What are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?
  • What is the nature of an entrepreneurial career?
  • How do you distinguish ideas from real opportunities?
  • What is the right strategy for managing entrepreneurial projects?
  • How does the entrepreneur manage risk / failure?
  • Is an entrepreneurial career right for you?


The program provides all of the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage of startup when most operations and decision making lives in chaos with insufficient data. You’ll learn how to use a business model to brainstorm and design each part of your company and customer development to test its value in the market. Specific skill development and issues covered include:

    • Customer Discovery- Turning the founder’s  vision into a business model
    • Customer Validation- Expanding and testing the model to prove a  repeatable  and scalable business
    • Customer Creation – Starting execution by building end-user demand
    • Customer Building –Transitioning from start-up to a company
    • Value Proposition – Synthesizing the unique benefits of the idea
    • Channels – Configuring sales and distribution
    • Customer Relationship – Creating demand
    • Market Size – Determining how big is your market
    • Key Partners – Finding other enterprises essential to the success of the business
    • Revenue Streams – Designing revenue and profit sources and size
    • Implementing the Execution Plan
    • Bootstrapping Your Idea
    • Friends and Family Investing
    • Intellectual Property – Patents and licensing techniques
    • Sources of Financing and Deal Making
    • Angel Investors and Venture Capital
    • Organizational Culture - Setting up the management team

      Value Created for You

        Professor Kaplan will conduct a pre-program call to discuss your ideas so that you come prepared to jump right into the work. He then will follow up with you 30 days afterward to discuss and coach you through your progress.

          Faculty Leaders

          This program is taught by top faculty leaders who are experienced, accomplished entrepreneurs in their own right. Each brings to the classroom extensive experience and  knowledge for achieving practical results.

          Dr. Robert Macy, Director of Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Director of the Center for Team and Negotiation, Clinical Associate Professor of Management and Organization

          Read a recent profile on Robert Macy in Onward State,  highlighting his many roles within the college as well as some of his personal hobbies. (Dr. Robert Macy: Entrepreneur and Business Professor by Day, Gamer by Night)

          Professor Jack Kaplan, Serial Entrepreneur;  Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School; former President of Datamark Technologies

          Program Fee

          The program fee of $2,500 includes tuition, instructional materials, breaks, and lunch.

          Active military personnel, PSU alumni, and teams of three or more attending this program from one company are eligible for a 20% program discount. 

          We highly recommend and support team participation to maximize the impact of content and drive initiatives within your organization faster and more efficiently. Organizations that send three or more participants will receive significant savings. Teams also have access to the full resources of Penn State during and after the program.


          We will be happy to hold a seat for you by calling (814) 865-3436. A reservation does not commit you to the program until you submit the registration form online.

          Download a program brochure

          Contact us to speak with someone about this program.