Entrepreneurship + Innovation

Designing your Minimum Viable Product

A new select course offered by CTM Education

In partnership with, designed and taught by


Course Overview

We believe everyone has a great idea in them! This new "hands-on"online course focuses on the process of designing a"minimal viable product" (MVP). A MVP has just enough core features to effectively test and deploy the product, and no more. Key focus areas addressed include customer discovery, product-market validation, industry and market analysis, product/ service innovation, and brand development.


Course Benefits

You work on your own idea (no idea is too small or big) and come away with clear answers to the following questions:

  • What does Minimum Viable Product mean and how can you design one?

  • How do you come up with an entrepreneurial idea for a new product or service?

  • How do you identify your ideal target market and customer?

  • How do you interview and survey potential customers?

  • How do you understand the challenges and opportunities that your customer is facing in a way that helps you design your solution?

  • How do you learn about the current market and position your offering for competitive advantage?

  • How should you market your new solution?

  • How do you create a brand that attracts the types of customers you are targeting?

  • What are the financial considerations and how do you design with them in mind?

You'll receive EXPERT COACHING AND MENTORING along the way and a "Certificate of Completion" to demonstrate your success. ​


Course Content

The program uses a sequence of modules and tools to support the development of your Minimum Viable Product.  Specific skill development and issues covered include:

  • Opportunity Identification: Articulating the problem to be solved and the potential benefit to the customer

  • Business Model Development: Turning your new venture idea into a business model

  • Customer Discovery: Testing your assumptions about the alignment between your product offering and targeted customers

  • Value Proposition: Understanding the unique benefits of new offerings and positioning them in the  marketplace

  • Market Attractiveness: Determining how big your new markets and customer segments are and how to enter successfully

  • Early Product Development: Building an MVP to test customer acceptance


Course Structure

This is a 12 week course that allows you to go at your own pace. The program includes both synchronous and asynchronous components. This includes online text and video lessons with worksheets, as well as live online group and individual expert coaching and mentoring throughout the course. The course is "pass/fail" with instructor feedback. 


Each module will include approximately 1.5 hours of instruction and require approximately 2 to 3 hours of time working offline. Students may work individually or in teams. Students work through exclusive instructional materials designed by Columbia Business School Venture for All®.  Upon conclusion of the course, students will have designed a pitch deck with final Minimum Viable Solution to be presented and assessed.

Introductory Module: Course Welcome, Overview, Personal and Venture Discovery

Synchronous (Live with Lead Instructor)

Module 1: Your Idea

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 2: Your Business Model

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 3: Your Customer

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 4: Your Market

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 5: Your Industry

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 6: Your Product

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 7: Marketing and Your Brand

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Module 8: Your Financial Plan

Asynchronous (Recorded Video)

Course Conclusion: Final Presentations

Synchronous (Live with Lead Instructor)



Courses are offered for high school students, graduating high school students and university students with intermediate level English language proficiency. NO previous business or entrepreneurship studies required. 

You can choose to take the "Entrepreneurship for High School Students" or "Entrepreneurship for University Students" course. 



Course Length:   12 Weeks

Cost:                    $3,900

Requirements:     Application

Grading:              Pass/ Fail

Platform:              CBS’s Canvas Platform

Recognition:        Certificate of Completion


Next Start Date

June 1st, 2020

1st Application deadline:                                       April 15th, 2020

2nd Application deadline (if available):      May 15th, 2020

Maximum capacity: 30 students


Lead Instructors

Greg Van Kirk


Greg Van Kirk is Co Founder of ProjectX, is a former Ashoka Leadership Group Member, is a two-time Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and World Economic Forum "Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012 (Latin America)".  He is the co founder of Community Empowerment (Enterprise) Solutions, Social Entrepreneur Corps and Ultimiya Consulting. Greg is the principal designer of the award-winning MicroConsignment Model, now being applied globally. He has served as a consultant for organizations such as Levi Strauss Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, USAID, Chemonics, VisionSpring, Soros Foundation, Church World Service, Inter American Development Bank, Water For People and Fundacion Paraguaya in the US, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Greg also contributes time as “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” with engagements including Marquette University, Indiana University, University of San Diego and Arizona State University. He is a senior advisor for the Miami University Institute for Entrepreneurship. He has taught entrepreneurship at Columbia University, NYU and Miami University.  He worked in investment banking for five years before arriving in Guatemala. Two deals he led at UBS during this time won "Deal of the Year" honors from Structured Finance International magazine. Greg is a graduate of Miami University, where he was recently awarded The Bishop Medal.

Jack McGourty


Jack McGourty Ph.D. is Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a faculty member teaching course entrepreneurship; venture creation, and product innovation.Prior to coming to Columbia in 1998, Jack was a senior executive and board member for a large publicly traded company. During his tenure, Jack held several senior positions including vice president of human resources, executive vice president of operations, division president, and company president & chief operating officer. He was also the managing principal of Assessment Alternatives Inc., a consulting firm providing programs and services to medium and large technology companies on innovation and product realization best practices.
Over the past 16 years, Jack has been an active member of the University's entrepreneurial community, establishing an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and innovation, teaching core and advanced courses in entrepreneurship, and launching the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. Jack is the driving force behind Venture for All®, a program designed to educate aspiring entrepreneurs and build capacity for high potential startup ventures in emerging markets.