Launching a Business Course

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In our Launching a Business course, we guide you through a hands-on process of clarifying the business idea and market, testing the solution, getting feedback and laying the foundation for the business to thrive. This course is 6-weeks long and is well suited for entrepreneurs at the idea stage looking to start a small business or startup with positive community impact.

What members are saying...

What I Didn’t Know Before I Started

Uptima really changed my outlook. I didn’t realize what running a business meant, and that there were numbers and other aspects.  That was scary for me.  But it definitely was the gamechanger for me and put me on the right path for so many reasons—the people, the curriculum, and generally the community of Uptima.

Joy Colino, Nannies Plus

What I Learned to Help Me Build a Business

For a year, my business was an idea floating in my mind, and I took baby steps toward making it real. Not having the knowledge of how to go about creating a business left me vulnerable as I placed my confidence in others to “help” me with MY business. After the Launching a Business class, I was further along in my business in 3 months than the entire year I had spent in the dark. Uptima gives you the tools to launch your business. The most important lesson that I’ve learned is that if I don’t know my business, no one else will.

Vicktor Stevenson, Gourmonade

What I Accomplished in My Business

I accomplished way more than what I thought was possible. I not only turned my idea into a business within a few short months of attending the bootcamp, I also gained the confidence to successfully continue to operate my business. I accomplished seeing this business grow from a small pop-up to owning a flower truck where I am now a traveling flower shop!

Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers

What You Will Learn


Topics Covered
  • Gain an entrepreneurial mindset and look at your motivations and goals for starting a business
  • Learn how to use design thinking methods to clarify your business idea and test its feasibility
  • Clarify your product/service idea through a series of simple questions
Customer Discovery
  • Gain an understanding of how to use customer discovery processes for evaluating product/service market fit
  • Learn how to prepare for and conduct customer discovery interviews, and how to use the data to create a customer profile
  • Conduct customer discovery interviews
Business Model
  • Gain an understanding of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value through its business model
  • Learn how to use a business model canvas to develop a business model for your idea
  • Use the business model canvas to develop your business model
Minimum Viable Product / Service
  • Gain an understanding of lean startup methodology
  • Learn how to apply lean methods in developing a minimum viable product/service
  • Develop your minimum viable product/service
Creating a Presence
  • Gain an understanding of the importance of creating an online presence for the business
  • Learn the basics of creating a website, social media profiles and email newsletters
  • Create a website, social media profiles and email newsletter to promote the minimum viable product/service
Demo Evening
  • Present a demo of your minimum viable product/service
  • Receive feedback from community members on your minimum viable product/service


Must have a new business idea or existing business that seeks to create positive community impact.

Commit to Building Your Business

Average time commitment for our small business and startup courses is 10 hours / week dedicated to building your business, and includes the following weekly activities:


Activity Weekly Commitment
Background Materials
  • Series of required background readings and videos on each unit to be completed online prior to the weekly in-person workshop
  • Describes concepts and their applications in developing a business

1-2 hours / week

  • Weekly in-person workshops led by an expert instructor
  • Lecture and discussion on background materials, group activities, and reflection

3 hours / week

Business Development Activities
  • Weekly activities focused on your business development
  • Apply concepts learned in background materials and workshops

2-10 hours / week

Peer Mentoring
  • Weekly phone meetings with small peer group of other business owners in your class
  • Present weekly business development activities and receive constructive feedback from peers

1 hour / week

One-on-one Mentoring
  • Weekly one-on-one meetings with a mentor
  • Discuss business progress, review weekly business development activity, and connect with resources to meet business needs

30 minutes / week

Meet Your Mentors

Join an Upcoming Course

Our Launching a Business course is offered at the following locations.


How Much It Costs

The cost of our Launching a Business Course consists of a course fee of $600.

We charge a $25 deposit to reserve your space in the class. This deposit is credited against the payment of your course fee, where applicable.

Financial Assistance

Because we believe in entrepreneurship as a means to close the racial wealth gap, we offer financial assistance programs for entrepreneurs of color.

For entrepreneurs of color in Oakland, San Francisco and Boston, we offer financial assistance covering 100% of your course fee, regardless of your household income and the number of people in your household throughout 2020.

Own Your Future