early-stage innovator training program


The VentureWell Early-Stage Innovator (ESI) Training Program brings together the best in student science and tech innovators and entrepreneurs for an intensive workshop design to help teams dig deep into topics like business model development, customer discovery, team dynamics, value chains, and intellectual property. During the training workshops, students will learn what it takes to launch and scale a venture from our experienced program team, expert mentors, guest speakers, and thought leaders in social impact entrepreneurship & innovation.


In Pioneer, science & tech innovators orient themselves and understand possible pathways for their venture, creating action plans to check fundamental assumptions. This workshop is required for all Stage 1 E-Team grantees.


Propel helps early-stage innovators map and validate the pathway for their venture, digging into business model design and mapping action plans to engage stakeholders and de-risk their venture. This workshop is required for all Stage 2 E-Team grantees.


ASPIRE is an intensive week-long workshop that helps startups pinpoint their fundraising needs and prepare them for the investments and partnerships necessary to launch their ventures. Mentors-in-residence work with startups to simulate due diligence conversations and integrate feedback into materials in real-time. Teams that participate in Pioneer and Propel who continue on the path of launching high-impact inventions can apply to take part in ASPIRE. Learn more here.

Here’s an inside view of some of the sessions you’ll experience during the ESI Training Program:

pioneer sessions

Team Dynamics
Proven communication practices and action planning are at the center of the team dynamics session, which delivers hands-on training in culture-building and improving team relationships.

Intellectual Property
The intellectual property session surfaces practical case studies to help teams conduct prior art searches and develop their intellectual property strategy.

Objectives & Key Results (OKR)
This session introduces teams to the OKR system, used by companies like Google to operationalize their strategy and drive clarity, transparency, and urgency across the team to make sure everyone is aligned on objectives, key results, and activities.

propel sessions

Pricing & Revenue Models
The pricing and revenue models session explores different pathways to defining a pricing strategy based on value, competition, and other factors that enable successful early market adoption for a product.

Strategic Partnerships
Entrepreneur teams make significant decisions early on about engaging with other partners—should manufacturing be outsourced or managed in-house? Is the partner approaching the collaboration with fairness? The strategic partnership session explores the dynamics of a partnership in the context of manufacturing and gives teams an understanding of how to form winning partnerships.

Financial Resources
In the financial resources session, we engage investors and strategize funding sources and approaches to help teams build clear fundraising plans.

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