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Ann Arbor Spark

Entrepreneurial Services

Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Entrepreneur Boot Camp is an intensive program to help entrepreneurs of early stage, technology-driven companies quickly determine if they have a viable business opportunity and focus on crucial next steps. Based on Lean Startup principles, Boot Camp guides participants through the process of customer discovery to validate their ideas and develop the path forward.

SPRING 2020 COHORT

Kick-Off: March 30, 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Check-In: April 7, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Mentor Days: May 4 & 5, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Celebration: May 28, 5:00 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Program Overview

Boot Camp is held twice a year spanning an eight-week period. While less than 40 hours are spent in-session with the cohort, participants spend dozens of hours each week conducting their customer discovery work. In addition, teams meet with their coaches twice per week to ensure they’re on track.

Participants attend as teams consisting of two – four people from each company. All participants must commit to attending all sessions. There is a fee for each team with partial scholarships available for eligible companies.

By accomplishing the following milestones, graduates will shorten the time required to attract capital, customers, and other resources.
  • Solve a big problem for target customers
  • Refine and perfect your investor pitch working with experienced investors
  • Assemble a talented team that can deliver the solution and grow the company
  • Gather the cash needed until the company starts making money
  • Gain access to potential customers
  • Accept financial advice on pricing, target market, creating budgets and projections, and selecting suitable sources of capital
  • Make critical connections to talented individuals in your industry
  • Receive encouragement and advice from serial entrepreneurs

Interested in participating in Boot Camp? Send us an email and complete this form.

Boot Camp FAQs

Does SPARK take an equity stake in the companies that go through Boot Camp?  No, there is no financial obligation beyond the cost of tuition.

What if I don’t have a team (I’m starting the business by myself)?  Because of the way Boot Camp is structured, it’s important to attend as a team. If you don’t yet have a business partner, you may identify a “thinking partner” to attend with you. This is someone who may not be connected with the business, but who you trust as a sounding board and can help you understand the material, participate in the exercises, and interpret the feedback.

I can attend some, but not all of the sessions. Can I just tag-team with my partner? No, there’s so much material it’s important that all team members be present at all sessions. Any exceptions must be discussed with the director.

What other companies have attended Boot Camp? Hundred of companies have attended SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp over the last twenty years.  Some recent graduates you may have heard of include SkySpecs, Groundspeed, Mi Padrino, Spellbound, and HLX Engines.

Entrepreneur Boot Camp is funded by