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Foundations (beginner)
Weeks to complete (10 hrs/week, self-paced, online)   
+
Videos & five live online master classes

About

Course overview

By the end of the course, you’ll have:

  • Developed your value proposition with feedback from experts
  • Identified your target customer and built a day-in-the-life scenario
  • Created a problem–interview script to start talking to customers
  • Conducted 20+ interviews with actual customers to understand who you’re targeting
  • Developed a system to organize and analyze interview data so you gain insights

What you’ll get

  • 20+ video lessons from Canada’s top entrepreneurs & subject matter experts
  • Weekly workbook exercises 
  • Total of 60 hours: 10 weekly hours of self-paced learning
  • Feedback on your value proposition
  • Five live online master classes (Thursdays, 4:00–5:30 p.m.)
  • Access to the MaRS community on Slack—forever!
  • Continued help post-course
  • Certificate of Completion

Course modules

Master classes take place Thursdays, 4:00–5:30 p.m.

Week 1 (10 hrs + master class 1)
Understand your customer’s problem & learn how to frame your value.

Week 2 (10 hrs + master class 2)
Delve into the Customer Development process & learn how to test & validate your assumptions.

Week 3 (10 hrs + master class 3)
Create & refine your customer interview script.

Week 4 (10 hrs)
Analyze your customer data & extract relevant insights.

Week 5 (10 hrs + master class 4)
Conduct customer interviews & understand who your customer is.

Week 6 (10 hrs + master class 5)
Craft your value proposition to effectively communicate your value.

You’ll make real progress in seven weeks. 
Our course is practical. Unlike other programs, we focus on tactics that (if done right) will accelerate the growth of your company. We’ve carefully curated proven methods to help you understand your customers.

We’re here to support you.
Weekly live, online sessions and access to our online Slack community of entrepreneurs from around the world (forever!). It’s about understanding your target customer together.
We connect you with experts with deep experience so you can make a real difference in your business.

We move fast.
This isn’t your average course on customer development. We feature experts with deep experience in these fields. We’ll help you get out and talk to your customers and grasp their needs.

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?

FAQs

CDI is a seven-week online course, with seven modules. Each week, you’ll complete a set of lessons and exercises. For five of the six weeks, there is a live online master class (Thursdays, 4:00–5:30 p.m.).

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

Yes. For five of the six weeks we hold an online master class. You can also take part in discussions with experts & 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.

Yes! You’ll gain foundational knowledge about your customer & how to capture the market problem from your customer’s perspective—before you design your solution.

You’ll learn how to research & validate a value proposition. This is essential for startups as the value proposition is the heart of your business model: it defines what you do, who you do it for & how this differs from your competitors.

The Customer Development model is a methodology you’ll continue to apply throughout your business development.

Register for CDI via the RESERVE YOUR SPOT 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.

Yes. CDI is available to anyone, anywhere—the core concepts are useful for all entrepreneurs. That said, the course was designed specifically for Ontario-based technology entrepreneurs, 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 the course will receive a non-accredited Certificate of Completion issued by MaRS Discovery District.

Testimonials

Hear what past participants had to say

Ellie Ardakani, Co-founder and President, Meta Innovation Technologies

Marc Reppin, Co-founder and Partner, AniZet Designs

“The Customer Development Immersive was a focused and fast-paced experience easily fitting in my busy schedule.”
– Ellie Ardakani, Co-founder and President, Meta Innovation Technologies (Kingston, ON)

 

“CDI provides a simple yet highly effective framework for better understanding your customer”
– Marc Reppin, Co-founder and Partner, AniZet Designs (Toronto, ON)

Ellie Ardakani, Co-founder and President, Meta Innovation Technologies

Marc Reppin, Co-founder and Partner, AniZet Designs

Experts

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 Empori.com. 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.

 

Understand your customers.

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