Startup School

Launch your idea at The Forge.

Next cohort dates: September 23, 2020 – December 16, 2020
Next application deadline: September 20

FREE for McMaster University students & recent alumni ($75 deposit refunded upon completion).
$399 + HST for all other applicants.


Tip: We recommend that you download the full list of questions here, before you fill out the Typeform application. You will not be able to save your application mid-way through. You can fill out the questions on your computer, using the word document, then cut and paste the answers into Typeform.


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. We do not take equity in your company.

DATES:         Tuesdays from September 29 to December 16, 2020
TIME:            6:00-8:00 pm
VENUE:        The Forge at McMaster Innovation Park
ADDRESS:   175 Longwood Rd S, Suite B21, Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1


Week 1         September 29                  Orientation & Entrepreneur Story
Week 2         October 6                         Corporate Legal & Intellectual Property Strategy
Week 3         October 13                       Business Model Canvas & Market Validation
Week 4         October 20                       Telling Your Value Story
Week 5         October 27                       Go-To-Market Planning
Week 6         November 3                     Branding & Marketing Strategy
Week 7         November 10                   Solidifying Your Sales Process
Week 8         November 17                   How to Hire & Pay Your Dream Team
Week 9         November 24                   Accessing Government Funding
Week 10       December 1                     Raising Money from Angel Investors & VCs
Week 11       December 8                     Pitching & Presenting
Week 12       December 15                   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.

“Before entering Startup School at The Forge, I started up Lytec with limited experience in entrepreneurship. This program allowed me to learn more about the technical aspects of starting up and running a business. Thank you to the excellent community of entrepreneurs, mentors, and staff that helped me apply what I have learned at Startup School to Lytec.” – Junior Thiensirisak, CEO and Founder of Lytec

“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.

“Startup School was immensely helpful to me, as somebody who wants to start a business but has no idea how to navigate the startup world. And not just the technical stuff like patents and raising venture capital either—I’ve learned communication skills that I have carried with me to future conferences and interviews. The cohort is also a strong and supportive network, and I’ve made some good friends through Startup School!” – Sophia Tao, Founder & CEO of Sharekitchen