Starting Lean

The course that takes you
from idea to business in 10 weeks

Course topics

These topics will be applied on your project during the course

Business modeling

In the course we will use the Business Model Canvas to sketch a high-level overview of how your business could generate value for your customers and revenue for you. The canvas is the perfect introduction to business models for people without a business background, yet is still very useful for people who do.

Validating hypotheses

When you are filling in the Business Model Canvas, you are making lots of hypotheses and assumptions. A successful lean entrepreneur minimizes business risks by validating key assumptions and hypotheses on which the business model is based. In the course we help you to identify your key assumptions and hypotheses and coach you during the validation process.

Problem - solution fit

Every successful business solves a problem of some customer segment with the best possible solution for these people. In this course you will figure out what the real problem is that you are trying to solve, how big of a problem it is for different customer segments and what the best solution would look like.

Customer discovery

The customer discovery process helps you to structure your search for the problem that should be solved, the best solution for that problem and the right business model to bring it to market. The search is largely based on talking to people, asking the right questions and doing experiments. We will discuss and practice several methods to gain insights from the people you talk to.

Product - market fit

To run a successful business, you not only need a problem - solution fit but also a product - market fit. The product you create should fit the market's needs and the market's size. This is information you can get from your targeted customer segments as well by talking to them and doing experiments.

Minimum viable product

Once you have some information from your customers and end users and you have gained insights in their needs and pains, we can start defining the minimum viable product or service. This is the product or service that can be made with the smallest amount of effort or money but is still a viable solution for your target group.

Next course

11 May - 13 July 2016


The course will take place every Wednesday from 19:00 - 21:30 at Park Office Ghent (very close to Gent Zuid and easy to access with public transport, bike or car).

Core values

Key elements to create a life-changing course

Applied theory

In the course we will take time to address the theory, but also to apply this on your project in workshop sessions. There is plenty of time to ask questions and get feedback on your project from the coaches.

Clear process

The course follows a clear weekly structure of online theory sessions, in class workshops, validation of your hypotheses in the real world with real people and sharing your results with your peers. Following this structured process leads to quick progress.

Peer learning

In a course of 10 weeks you can only experience a limited amount of situations, discoveries, pivots, successes and failures. That's experiences are shared with the other learners so everybody can learn from other people's experiences and approaches.

Get out of the building

This one is simple: your customers and partners are outside your building and our classroom. In order to learn from them you have to go to them. Each person should talk to at least 3 people every week.

Flipped classroom

This course is a 'Flipped classroom' course which means that you will go through the theory at home (via a website and a book). Class time is used for discussion, application, coaching, reflection and helping you to succeed in your business.

Trust circle

Sharing your good and bad experiences in the process is key for this course. During the course the connections between participants will become stronger and you will leave the course not only with a process for validating your business model, but also with a strong network of fellow entrepreneurs.

Proven approach

The course is based on the Lean Launchpad ™ course, created by Steve Blank. Many companies have launched successfully after following a similar course. They can be followed in many universities and incubators which make it a proven process for success.

Weekly progress

This course gives you an excellent opportunity to focus on an idea that might have been in your head for months without any real progress. After 10 weeks you will know whether the idea has value and potential or not. And you will know how to proceed.

Trained staff

All staff members from this course are trained Lean Launchpad ™ instructors and / or have experienced the process themselves. They have been teachers, coaches or mentors in one or more cohorts of similar courses and have launched businesses themselves.

Meet The Team

We Are There To Help you

Jolien Coenraets

Main instructor

Steve Stevens


Andrei Neagu




2 250 / team
2-person team, excl. taxes
  • 10 interactive class sessions
  • High-quality video lectures
  • Access to the online platform for 2 people
  • 2 paper copies of the 'Business model generation' book
  • 2 digital copies of the 'Mom test' book
  • Online follow-up in between sessions
  • Private team-based coaching


2 450 / team
3-person team, excl. taxes
  • 10 interactive class sessions
  • High-quality video lectures
  • Access to the online platform for 3 people
  • 3 paper copies of the 'Business model generation' book
  • 3 digital copies of the 'Mom test' book
  • Online follow-up in between sessions
  • Private team-based coaching


2 650 / team
4-person team, excl. taxes
  • 10 interactive class sessions
  • High-quality video lectures
  • Access to the online platform for 4 people
  • 4 paper copies of the 'Business model generation' book
  • 4 digital copies of the 'Mom test' book
  • Online follow-up in between sessions
  • Private team-based coaching


Entrepreneurs on the road to success

Jolien is an excellent Lean Launchpad coach. Her class and personal input turned out to be extremely valuable in the early stage of our startup.

Ruben Meul
Founder @ GAPP

Jolien has coached several of the student entrepreneurs that are also part of iMinds iStart.Light program. Her approach made sure the start-ups kept their focus and improved their business case very fast.

Lisa Pattyn
Student entrepreneurship program manager @ iMinds

Jolien is a certified Lean Launchpad trainer who combines teaching and coaching skills with her own entrepreneurial background to provide realistic insights and experience based feedback. Entrepreneurs learn best from other entrepreneurs!

Frank Gielen
Entrepreneurship professor @ Ghent University

The course learned us to look further than the Business Model Canvas. Assumptions are the mother of all f#ckups. This is something you'll understand quickly when being submerged in the intense Starting Lean experience. The techniques we learned to validate our assumptions and talk to our customers helped us to find the problem - solution fit we were looking for.

Nikolas Tailleu
Founder @ Layered Prints

The Starting Lean course was a real eye opener for me. As the technical founder I thought that I had to focus on developing the product instead of focusing on the needs of the customer. I quickly understood why I was wrong. After 10 weeks, we had hands-on experience in detecting the needs of our customers and we were able to use this in our first MVP. This course totally changed my idea on how you should start a startup.

Kristof Elst
Founder @ Cazou

Frequently asked questions

The course is ideal for everybody who has an idea that is in an early stage (from idea to a handful of customers) and needs market validation. Participants can be founders from start-ups, employees thinking about starting a new company or employees who are in charge of launching something new for their company.

The course should be followed by 2 - 4 people who are developing this idea, since the way of working in this course has an impact on the whole team. Your idea can be a product, a service or a combination of both.

The workload is about 4 - 8 hours a week. This depends on the market you are in and how easy it is to talk to your customers. For a B2B business model, most of the interviews will be during normal working hours. For B2C business models this may be opposite. In total there is about 5 hours of video materials that need to be watched and 2 books that are used for a deeper insight in the subject. There is one class of 2.5 hours every week.

I really encourage the whole founding team to follow the course. The ideal team size is 2 - 4 people. If there is only one person you lack in-team discussion and ideation during the workshops and you cannot do as many interviews as with multiple people in a team. The pricing is set up in an according manner.

Another reason to follow the course with the whole founding team is that it might cause discussion and even break-ups within a team if not everybody is on the same side when working lean. I often saw a 'business person' following this course and doing interviews while the 'developer' stayed inside and worked on the product. This almost always leads to conflicts since the business person receives feedback from the customer and want to change things whereas the developer keeps believing that he or she is making the right product.

Most likely yes. I'm currently in the middle of the registration procedure and everything is looking good so far. With the 'KMO-portefeuille' the government would be paying 30 or 40% of the price excl. taxes.

For those who would only like to follow the course if the 'KMO-portfeuille' can be applies, just let me know so I can already put you on the list. If it would not be possible to use the 'KMO-portefeuille' you can cancel your enrollment without any costs.

Since the course is very much built upon peer learning, workshops and sharing experiences during the weekly class sessions, classes are mandatory. However, every person is allowed to skip maximum two sessions. If the whole team cannot be present for a session, you will be given a short replacement exercise so you can still practice the theory or share your learnings.

The course can be followed by max. 20 people and max. 7 teams. Places are limited so if you're interested it's best to enroll as soon as possible. The course does not start if there are less than 3 teams.