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 12-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...

Joy Colino,

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
Vicktor Stevenson,

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
Ariana Marbley,

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
  • Look at your motivations and goals for starting a business
  • Learn how to think holistically about business development activities
Big Idea
  • Gain an understanding of how assumptions and blind spots can influence product/service development
  • Learn how to use design thinking methods to identify the user, their pain points, current alternatives and purchasing behavior
  • Develop a set of hypotheses regarding 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
  • Conduct customer discovery interviews
  • Gain an understanding of how personas are used in documenting a potential customer base and their product/service needs
  • Learn how to use information collected from customer discovery interviews and empathy mapping to create personas
  • Use the data you collected in customer discovery interviews to create persona empathy map(s) for the product/service idea
Market Opportunity
  • Gain an understanding of how to define market opportunity for a product/service
  • Learn how to quantify market size and assess market landscape by using primary and secondary data sources
  • Use data to quantify the market size and assess the market landscape for the product/service idea
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
  • Use the business model canvas to develop a 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
  • Use lean methodology to create a minimum viable product/service
User Testing
  • Gain an understanding of methods for testing a minimum viable product/service
  • Learn how to reach out to target users and engage them in testing
  • Develop a plan to test the minimum viable product/service
User Feedback
  • Present a demo of the minimum viable product/service
  • Receive feedback on the minimum viable product/service
  • Learn how to interpret feedback on the minimum viable product/service
Company Formation
  • Gain an understanding of the importance of setting up the right business entity to sell the product/service
  • Learn about business entity alternatives and their financial, tax and legacy implications
  • Evaluate business entity alternatives for the product/service idea
Creating 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
Final Presentations
  • Present the business’ market opportunity, minimum viable product/service and next steps to your peers and mentors
  • Receive constructive feedback from your peers and mentors to refine the business opportunity


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

Rani Langer-Croager

Rani Langer-Croager

Co-Founder, CEO & Lead Instructor, Mentor

San Francisco

Fyodor Ovchinnikov

Fyodor Ovchinnikov

Lead Instructor & Mentor


Join an Upcoming Course

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

How Much It Costs

The cost of our small business and startup courses consists of a monthly fee. We determine your monthly fee using a sliding scale based on the current annual revenue of your business:

< $100,000 ANNUAL REVENUE $100,000 – $500,000 ANNUAL REVENUE > $500,000 ANNUAL REVENUE
Oakland $400 / month $500 / month $600 / month
San Francisco $400 / month $500 / month $600 / month

We charge a $50 deposit to reserve your space in the class. This deposit is credited against the payment of your course fee, where applicable.

Because we believe cost should not be a barrier, we provide payment plan options based on household income. Ask about our payment plans.

Accelerate your business.