Launching the Venture (Launch) is a series of courses designed to teach, empower and inspire entrepreneurial teams at UNC to launch commercial businesses and social ventures.
Teams may comprise any mix of students, faculty and staff at UNC. Courses combine lectures, workshops, guest speakers and hands-on expert coaching and mentoring.
Launch offers three half-semester (mod-length) classes that begin in the fall and run through the academic year. Each course may be taken for 1.5 credit hours (regular tuition applies) or as a non-credit seminar series (no tuition). Please be advised that the intensity of the Launch courses require all students to devote significant time outside of the classroom to their venture and the completion of classroom readings/assignments. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor or by application.
Classes are held Monday evenings from 5-8pm in the McColl building of the business school with free parking in the business deck.
The three Launching the Venture courses are:
Instructor: Patrick Vernon
Launch Feasibility admits teams through a competitive application process (application due August 1), which typically accepts about half of the teams that apply. The criteria for admission are: quality of idea, anticipated size and impact of the venture, the team's commitment to launch, team breadth and progress to date. Teams must have at least two people and may involve non-UNC members. At least two team members are expected to attend all class sessions.
In Launch Feasibility, teams explore the feasibility of the opportunity from a market perspective. Each team is assigned at least one expert coach. Coaches are experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals who have a strong understanding of the entrepreneurial process and the industry for which the team has an idea. Coaches work with teams to determine their goals and aid their progress in reaching them.
At the end of this phase, teams present the feasibility analysis of their idea to instructors, coaches and industry professionals, who determine which teams should continue to the next phase of the course. Typically, about half of the teams advance into Business Planning.
If you have any questions about the application process or whether Launch is a good fit for you, email Patrick Vernon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructor: Ted Zoller
In the Business Planning phase, teams work through the analytics to build the business model and plan for the venture, develop a marketing and sales strategy and implementation and management plans, building on their earlier target marketing work in the feasibility phase.
Each venture team works with a panel of expert entrepreneurial coaches who provide feedback on a series of staged deliverables in lab sessions, during which teams work on various aspects of their business plans.
At the end of this phase, a preliminary business plan is presented to instructors, coaches and industry professionals who decide if the team should go to the next phase, Financing.
Instructor: Randy Myer
Only the select few entrepreneurial teams seriously pursuing financing to launch their venture in the very near future are included in the final phase of Launching the Venture, in which teams learn about sources of funding for new ventures, develop pro forma financial projections and explore exit options. This phase will start with reviews of your business plan and venture pitch with recommended improvements and additions. During this phase, teams have the opportunity each week for the final five sessions to pitch their ventures to potential investors.