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Foundations (beginner)
Weeks to complete (8 hrs/week, self-paced, online)   
Videos, live online master classes & workbook exercises


Course overview

What you’ll learn

  • Understand the lean startup method and why the business model canvas is used.
  • Iterate on your business model canvas and make adjustments based on feedback.
  • Conduct ongoing tests to validate how to keep your business sustainable.
  • Identify areas of your model that require pivoting.
  • Learn to pitch and tell the story of your business model.

What you’ll get

  • Total of 40 hours: 8 hours/week of self-paced learning
  • Hands-on exercises each week to build your business
  • Selection of tests to validate your business model
  • Five online live video master classes (and access to future master classes)
  • Access to the MaRS community on Slack—forever!
  • Certificate of Completion


Course modules

*Master classes take place Wednesdays, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

Module 1 (8 hours + 2-hour master class 1)
Understand the lean startup method and the importance of mapping out your business model.

Module 2 (8 hours + 2-hour master class 2)
Delve into the Business Model Canvas and its different components.

Module 3 (8 hours + 2-hour master class 3)
Start testing different areas of your business model.

Module 4 (8 hours + 2-hour master class 4)
Gather customer data, and start to pivot and re-test areas.

Module 5 (8 hours + 2-hour master class 5)
Tell the story of your business model and learn how to pitch.

You’ll make real progress in five weeks. 
Our course is practical. We focus on tactics that (if done right) will accelerate the growth of your company.

We’re here to support you.
Weekly live, online sessions and access to our online Slack community of entrepreneurs from around the world (forever!), testing and validating your business model together. We connect you with experts with deep experience from these fields so you can make a real difference in your business.

We move fast.
This isn’t your average course on business models. Each master class is an intensive workshop session designed to dig into the gaps of your business. We’ll help you work toward a sustainable and tested business model.

Let’s advance the world together. 
Since 2005, MaRS has accelerated the growth of thousands of young companies whose technologies and solutions meaningfully improve lives every day. Are you ready to join them?

We love questions. Get in touch.


This is a five-week online course, with five modules. Each week, you’ll complete a set of lessons and exercises and take part in a live two-hour online master class (Wednesdays, 4:00–6:00 p.m.), with an expert facilitator and your peers.

Enrolling in the course includes access to the material for as long as you need it!

Yes. Each week we hold a two-hour live master class over video call online. You can also take part in discussions with experts and peers through your cohort’s Slack channel and on our livestream platform.

Definitely! You can engage with other learners through your cohort’s Slack channel. Here you can exchange ideas, ask questions, gain feedback or simply get to know one another.

That depends! This course is most suited for companies that are building out their business model for a new startup or a new product line. You’ll learn the lean startup method and why the business model canvas is used. We’ll show you how to use feedback to iterate on your business model canvas and to conduct ongoing tests so you can validate how to keep your business sustainable. You’ll also learn how to identify areas of your business model where you may need to pivot.

Register via the Start Now button above. Make sure to include an email address that you check regularly. Email will be our primary mode of communication with you throughout the course. After you have registered, you will be prompted to create an account on our online learning platform and our Slack channel.

Yes! This course is available to anyone, anywhere—the core concepts are useful for all entrepreneurs. That said, the course was designed in particular with technology entrepreneurs in mind, and therefore some of the material may not be applicable to your business idea. Please refer to our syllabus before registering to ensure that the course is a good fit for you.

Yes. Each learner who successfully completes 100% of the online materials, attends three of the five online master classes, AND completes the post-survey will receive a non-accredited Certificate of Completion issued by MaRS Discovery District.


Meet your instructors

David Bowden, Senior Cleantech Advisor & Venture Facilitator,
MaRS Discovery District

David divides his time between MaRS, where he is an entrepreneurship educator and senior business advisor for cleantech ventures, and the Osborne Group, where he is a principal specializing in strategic growth management. David has held various executive roles, including as president of Sprint Canada, SVP at Direct Energy and founding president of He is a governor of the University of Toronto and a director of the Bata Museum. In 2013, David completed the NFP program at the Institute for Corporate Directors (ICD). Catch up with David on LinkedIn.

Chris Giantsopoulos, COO & Founder, PayUp Jack & Venture Facilitator, MaRS Discovery District

Passionate and energetic, Chris works as a venture facilitator at MaRS and has taught thousands of entrepreneurs across Ontario and the east coast, in universities, colleges and regional innovation centres. Earlier in his career, Chris was a leader at the BMO Institute for Learning, heading up several international training teams. Chris later co-founded and was CEO of QuickEnrollment Inc., a successful fintech online registration company targeted at amateur sports across Canada. He is currently in the process of launching his next fintech venture, PayUp Jack. Catch up with Chris on LinkedIn.


Our Partners

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Sign up to validate your business model.

Our next cohort begins on May 25, 2020.

The cost of this course is $100.

Register now

Our Partners

Brought to you by: