Startup School

Launch your idea at The Forge.

Next Startup School Program:
September till December, 2020
Application Deadline:
September 17, 2020
Fee: FREE for McMaster University students & recent alumni ($75 deposit refunded upon completion of program).
$399 + HST for all other applicants.
We do not take equity in your company.
Startup School is for entrepreneurs at the very start of the journey.  We are looking for high-energy people with a solid business idea or early prototype.  The Forge will select up to 20 teams or individuals into Startup School.  Once accepted, you will attend weekly evening entrepreneurship workshops to gain the tools to build a real company. You will also work directly with our entrepreneurs-in-residence and mentors. The Forge co-working space and prototyping makerspace will be open to you during business hours for the duration of the program.
DATES:         Wednesdays from September 23 to December 16, 2020
TIME:           6:00-8:00 pm  (We serve sandwiches & drinks)
VENUE:        The Forge at McMaster Innovation Park
ADDRESS:   175 Longwood Rd S, Suite B21, Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1
Week 1         September 23, 2020         Orientation & Entrepreneur Story
Week 2         September 30, 2020         Corporate Legal & Intellectual Property Strategy
Week 3         October 7, 2020                Value Proposition & Business Model Canvas
Week 4         October 14, 2020              Telling Your Value Story
Week 5         October 21, 2020              Market Research & Interviewing Customers
Week 6         October 28, 2020              Go-To-Market Planning & Competitive Strategy
Week 7         November 4, 2020            Branding & Marketing Strategy
Week 8         November 11, 2020          Solidifying Your Sales Process
Week 9         November 18, 2020          How to Hire & Pay Your Dream Team
Week 10       November 25, 2020           Accessing Government Funding & Tax Incentives
Week 11       December 2, 2020             Raising Money from Angel Investors & VCs
Week 12       December 9, 2020             Pitching & Presenting
Week 13       December 16, 2020           Pitch Day & Graduation Celebration
Please contact mariya(at)
“ImaginAble Solutions received outstanding knowledge and support from The Forge’s Startup School. The Forge introduced us to helpful, kind and compassionate business professionals that have personally helped me prepare and grow to become a successful entrepreneur. Regardless of the stage your company is in, The Forge invites you to become part of a strong and supportive network to help transform your passion into a profession!” – Lianna Genovese, Founder of Imaginable Solutions Inc.
“I want to thank The Forge StartUp School for providing valuable opportunities for young entrepreneurs to receive mentorship and counseling, and for offering these services free of charge. It has been a great experience and an important resource for me in developing the LifeAR universal augmented reality marketing platform, and in growing my venture, DGApps.” – Daniel Genkin, Founder of GDApps Inc.
“The Startup School led by Mariya Leslie provided me with foundational support that allowed me to venture into the dark forest of entrepreneurship with a lantern and, more importantly, a friend.” – Andrew Leber, Co-Founder of Strainbrain
“The Forge Startup School helped me a lot to become familiar with important concepts and key points on various related topics that everyone who wants to run a business/startup in Canada must know. Especially for an international student who may not be aware of every aspect of the North American market, they were very helpful.” – Soroush Zamani