Launch + Learns

The ZLI Launch + Learns are a series of sessions designed to help your entrepreneurial venture reach its full potential. Anyone interested in entrepreneurship is welcome and encouraged to attend. All events are free. Attend the full series or select the sessions that match your needs. The goal is to leave with tactical items you can apply to your startup.

Zell Lurie Institute University of Michigan Ross Student Launch Learn Workshop

All Workshops

How to Succeed at Business Plan Competitions

Business plan competitions can be a good way to get experience pitching your company. In addition, you could meet potential investors and perhaps even win some prize money. But there can also be downsides to competing. This 90-minute workshop will help participants determine if/when to enter competitions — and provide “do’s & don’t’s” to help you put your best foot forward in the Michigan Business Challenge and any other competitions you decide to enter. Facilitated by Anne Perigo, Associate Director at the Zell Lurie Institute.

Startup Funding for First-Time Entrepreneurs

This 90-minute workshop will help new entrepreneurs understand the different types and sources of funding.

Identifying & Sizing Your Market

This 90-minute workshop will help entrepreneurs understand how to evaluate the market for their product or service. Is it big and exciting enough for you to pursue? For investors to get excited about? We’ll look at proven approaches to conducting secondary and primary research, in order to glean answers to key questions such as: How big is my market? Is it ready for my solution? How can I break up my market into useful customer segments, and then which segment should I target first, and why? Who are my competitors, and how do I position myself to compete successfully against them? Facilitated by Jim Price, Ross Faculty & ZLI Entrepreneur in Residence.

Founding & Forming

This 90-minute workshop discussion will explore some of the fundamental questions entrepreneurs encounter when considering launching a new business. How do we go about forming the company? Do we have partners? How do we split up equity? Do we set up a board of directors? An advisory board? How? What happens when investors come in? Facilitated by Jim Price, Ross Faculty & ZLI Entrepreneur in Residence.

Startup Financials

This 90-minute workshop will introduce what you need to know about financial statements for a startup company including the three core financial statements (income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet), how to make projections, and what investors look for in startup financials. Facilitated by Mike Johnson, Ross Faculty & ZLI Entrepreneur in Residence.

Developing Your Business Model Canvas

This 90-minute workshop will explore what a business model is; why a strong model is absolutely critical to anyone interested in launching a new product, service, business, or social venture; and how to develop an effective business model. Participants will learn how to use Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, a valuable one-page tool for generating and assessing business models. Facilitated by Josh Botkin, Ross Faculty & ZLI Entrepreneur in Residence.

Assessing Financial Feasibility

This 90-minute workshop will expose participants to several tools that can be useful in evaluating the financial viability of a startup business. The session will provide a brief overview of analytic tools to help address these key questions: How much money will it take to launch my company? Am I likely to be able to raise outside funding, and if so, from what sorts of sources? How big do we need to get to pay ourselves and quit our day jobs? How about to make a profit? Facilitated by Jim Price, Ross Faculty & ZLI Entrepreneur in Residence.

How to Pitch

Have you heard of the “Elevator Pitch”? Do you have difficulty describing your ideas to your future investors? Through case studies, you’ll learn about the basic formula of a successful elevator pitch. With real-world examples, you’ll have the chance to create several of your own to practice. After this workshop, you’ll never be afraid of pitching. Facilitated by Anne Perigo, ZLI Associate Director.

Communicating With Investors

This 90-minute workshop will explore the various tools and approaches entrepreneurs use to communicate with investors, all examined through a common framework. We?ll discuss elevator pitches, executive summaries, investor slide decks, business plans and other elements.

Conducting Effective Customer Discovery

Customer discovery is a critical activity that allows you to develop and test hypotheses about your new business or social venture. This 90-minute workshop will provide participants with the knowledge, skills and tools to conduct effective customer discovery. You’ll learn how to: identify and approach the “right” people and secure their participation; conduct effective interviews that extract useful information; capture/document your findings; and extract and synthesize the key insights. Facilitated by Josh Botkin, Ross Faculty & ZLI Entrepreneur in Residence.

Social Media for Your Startup

This 90-minute workshop will help you differentiate how you use social media personally versus professionally, and the best way to build your brand online. From this session, you will learn the 5 C’s of social, discover free tools, uncover key influencers, and walk away with a plan to refine your digital presence. Facilitated by Shannon Beeman, ZLI’s Marketing & Communications Manager.

Five Ideas

A virtual design thinking workshop focused on finding entrepreneurial solutions to common challenges. Explore human experiences, gain ideation skills to craft impactful solutions, and empower yourself and others to take action. Together we will make the world five ideas stronger.