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Launch Your Startup EDGE: From Idea to Early Product Design


At Columbia Business School, instilling entrepreneurial thinking in our students is part of our mission. Entrepreneurship is fully integrated throughout the MBA curriculum, and now — for the first time ever — we are offering an Alumni Edge offering on the topic.

The five-session Launch Your Startup (EDGE) program — comprising three live and two self-directed modules — offers an intensive learning experience that focuses on the creation and evaluation of a new business or social enterprise idea. Program participants learn from world-renowned Columbia Business School faculty and tap into the expertise of the University's vibrant entrepreneurial community.

Each participant enters the program with a preliminary venture idea that they would like to work on. Using a proprietary sequence of five modules, the program leverages associated work assignments to support the development of the venture idea. Participants learn how to pre-screen the industry and market attractiveness for their venture idea and work towards an early design of a "minimum viable product solution."

Throughout the program, participants refine their venture’s hypothesized business model based on instructor, peer, and customer feedback. They leave the program fully equipped with the tools and frameworks required to develop a business model to support future new venture realization.

Dates:  – 

Time Commitment: 4–6 hours per week

Format: Hybrid Online – Learn with a cohort in a mixed format of faculty-led live-online lectures and self-directed online modules.

Administrative Fee: $250

Please visit our contact page to view frequently asked questions about our programs.

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Key Learnings

  • Common challenges faced by entrepreneurs as they build a new venture
  • How to best frame a venture opportunity
  • How to develop a business model to test their assumptions about product offerings and market demand
  • How to define their early-target customer and engage in effective customer discovery
  • How to assess the current market and position their product offerings for competitive advantage
  • Agile ways to develop new product or service that will gain market traction quickly


Your Idea: Articulating the problem to be solved and the potential benefit to the customer (live lecture)

Your Business Model: Developing an initial business model to support early assumption testing and validation (self-directed lecture)

Your Customer: Testing your assumptions about the alignment between your product offering and targeted customers through customer interviews and surveys (live lecture)

Your Market: Synthesizing the unique benefits of new offerings and positioning against the competition in the marketplace (self-directed lecture)

Your Product: Designing minimal viable products to quickly test customer acceptance (live lecture)


Jack McGourty

Faculty Director; Adjunct Professor of Business, Management Division