Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program: Scaling Your Business

Pitch your ideas to blue-chip Silicon Valley venture capital firms. Seed funding of $10,000 for the winner of the pitch competition!

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Course Dates

STARTS ON

December 2, 2021

Course Duration

DURATION

3 months, online
3-4 hours per week

Course Duration

Why Enroll in Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program?

There’s no shortage of pitfalls for startups and their founders. The 90 percent failure rate of startups is enough to make you think about keeping your day job — forever. But what if there was a proven playbook that dramatically increased the odds of success?

Being successful in venture capital means having a mix of cross-disciplinary skills, which is why expert faculty for this program stem from social psychology, organizational behavior, information technology, finance, and marketing.

The Formula to Accelerate Your Business
Enroll in this program and dramatically increase the odds of success by learning how to:

  • Pick the right business model
    There are many different types of business models. Survey the range of options, including the disruptive model, the architecture model, the value chain model, and the efficiency model, with examples of each type. Utilize the Business Model Canvas tool to help you decide on your model.
  • Build the right team
    Learn about the Three Rs of founding teams — relationships, roles, and rewards — and the three critical questions entrepreneurs must address when setting up their company. Topics include allocating equity, founder’s agreements, hiring key management, and finding technical resources.
  • Choose the right financing approach
    Raising funds to scale is one of the biggest challenges that startups face. Learn about the various financing pathways available and the tradeoffs for each type. Topics include equity financing valuations, equity financing terms, and term sheets.
  • Ramp up sales and scale the business
    In order to drive sales, you need a foundational understanding of your potential customers and markets. Considerations such as the rate of adoption of new products help with demand forecasting. Understand the importance of creating a growth culture and different expansion strategies, such as vertical and horizontal expansion.

Your Learning Experience

Through a mix of live and recorded faculty video sessions, assignments, quizzes, and interactive discussions moderated by teaching assistants, your learning journey culminates in a pitch to the Wharton team and renowned venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Ved Capital and Walnut Venture. The winner and runner-up of this pitch competition will be awarded seed funds of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

Note: Seed funding cannot be used for personal expenses. It must be used to develop the business cited in the final pitch. The seed funding will not dilute equity positions. T&C apply.

Your Business or Idea

Regardless of stage of maturity

Real-World Examples

Delivered through a mix of recorded and live online lectures with faculty and guests

Discussion Boards

Moderated by subject-matter experts

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Seed Money for Pitch Winners

Awarded to top two pitches, and everyone improves in the process

Program Topics

Module 1:

Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship

Learn how to apply the "lean approach": transform a good idea into a successful business venture while minimizing risk

Module 2:

Building the Right Team

Learn how to select founding members, employees, managers, and other key players on your team

Module 3:

Lawyers, Advisors, and Mentors

Learn how to use innovation and networking to drive your enterprise forward

Module 4:

Business Models and Customer Lifetime Value

Learn how to choose the right business model for your venture

Module 5:

Customer Acquisition and Demand Generation

Learn how to find markets and create demand for your product

Module 6:

Pricing and Distribution Strategies

Learn how to apply cost structures and pricing mechanisms to your business and use performance measurement tools effectively

Module 7:

Gearing Up for Scale

Learn to recruit people who will build your company’s culture and use it to scale up your venture

Module 8:

Financing: Funding and Valuation

Learn the various sources of financing available for your business

Module 9:

Financing: Venture Capital vs. Alternative Funding Channels

Learn how to make a wise decision about venture capital or alternative funding and how to estimate a breakeven point

Module 10:

Elements of the Pitch

Create executive summaries and pitch decks for your business and understand how the exit of founding shareholders affects liquidity

Module 11:

Business Plan Competition

Participate in a business plan competition with your peers and create a pitch for your own venture. The winner of the competition and the runner-up will win a substantial cash prize to use for seed funding (rules and restrictions apply).

Module 1:

Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship

Learn how to apply the "lean approach": transform a good idea into a successful business venture while minimizing risk

Module 7:

Gearing Up for Scale

Learn to recruit people who will build your company’s culture and use it to scale up your venture

Module 2:

Building the Right Team

Learn how to select founding members, employees, managers, and other key players on your team

Module 8:

Financing: Funding and Valuation

Learn the various sources of financing available for your business

Module 3:

Lawyers, Advisors, and Mentors

Learn how to use innovation and networking to drive your enterprise forward

Module 9:

Financing: Venture Capital vs. Alternative Funding Channels

Learn how to make a wise decision about venture capital or alternative funding and how to estimate a breakeven point

Module 4:

Business Models and Customer Lifetime Value

Learn how to choose the right business model for your venture

Module 10:

Elements of the Pitch

Create executive summaries and pitch decks for your business and understand how the exit of founding shareholders affects liquidity

Module 5:

Customer Acquisition and Demand Generation

Learn how to find markets and create demand for your product

Module 11:

Business Plan Competition

Participate in a business plan competition with your peers and create a pitch for your own venture. The winner of the competition and the runner-up will win a substantial cash prize to use for seed funding (rules and restrictions apply).

Module 6:

Pricing and Distribution Strategies

Learn how to apply cost structures and pricing mechanisms to your business and use performance measurement tools effectively

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Business Plan Competition

Participate in a business plan competition with your peers in which you will create a pitch for your own venture. The winner of the competition and the runner-up will win a substantial cash prize to use for seed funding (rules and restrictions apply).

The judging criteria are focused on the customer value proposition, which includes size of market, competitive landscape, and clear differentiation; economic model of the venture; go-to-market plan; and the capabilities and background of the team.

Members of the Wharton entrepreneurship community, with support from program leaders, will review the plans submitted for consideration and will select the top seven business plans as semi-finalists.

What Was the Best Part of the Program for the Participants?

"…the business plan contest, forcing me to apply everything I’ve learned.”

— Elissavet F., Health Care Professional

"…the session on financial statements and exit strategies.”

— Raf H., CEO and Founder, Kukun Inc.

"…the peer reviews were really helpful.”

— Fallon T., CEO, Tur Swimwear

PJ Mastracchio

"More than two years after winning the Wharton EAP pitch contest, AtYourGate is now the industry leader in mobile ordering and delivery inside airports. As COVID-19 affected travel so dramatically, we pivoted from convenience to safety — and are launching in 16 new airports in Q2 of 2021. This program exceeded my expectations."

— PJ Mastracchio, Founder and CEO, AtYourGate
Business Plan Competition Winner (2018)

Rajpreet Kaur

"When I joined Wharton’s EAP, my initial research had been done and my company was in motion. This program gave me the confidence to scale the venture and validated my concept by virtue of being runner-up in the pitch competition. They ran a rehearsal pitch with me, offered insights on structuring equity offers, and much more. I highly recommend Wharton’s EAP program for anyone serious about scaling their own venture."

— Rajpreet Kaur, Founder of SayCheese.life Former VP at HSBC Bank and Head of Derivatives at Bharti Airtel Limited, India Business Plan Competition 1st Runner-Up (2020)

Want to know what ideas won the Wharton Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program business plan competition since it started in 2018?

Interviews and Industry Examples

The Wharton Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program features in-depth interviews with company founders and representatives from startups and established venture capitalist firms.

  • Big Ass Fans
  • Forerunner Ventures
  • Greylock Partners
  • Stringr

The online program also features examples of startups and established companies that were once startups. It will cover multiple industries, including consumer packaged goods, ecommerce, internet, media and entertainment, and technology.

  • Adobe
  • Intel
  • Qualcomm
  • Aerocardal
  • Harry’s Blades
  • Dollar Shave Club
  • Jet.com
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Bandar Foods
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • IBM
  • Kickstarter
  • Xiaomi
  • Belle-V Kitchen
  • Wholly Moly

Note: All product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Program Faculty

Faculty Member Karl Ulrich

Karl Ulrich

CIBC Endowed Professor; Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions; Professor of Management; and Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Faculty Member Ethan Mollick

Ethan Mollick

Ralph J. Roberts Distinguished Faculty Scholar; Associate Professor of Management; Academic Director, Wharton interactive

Faculty Member Kartik Hosanagar

Kartik Hosanagar

John C. Hower Professor; Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions

Faculty Member Lori Rosenkopf

Lori Rosenkopf

Simon and Midge Palley Professor

Faculty Member David Hsu

David Hsu

Academic Director, Richard A. Sapp Professor; Professor of Management

Certificate

Certificate

Upon successful completion of the program, you will earn a digital certificate of completion from the Wharton School.

Download Brochure

Note: After successful completion of the online program, your verified digital certificate will be emailed to you in the name you used when registering for the program. All certificate images are for illustrative purposes only and may be subject to change at the discretion of the Wharton School.

This online certificate program does not grant academic credit or a degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Early registrations are encouraged. Seats fill up quickly!

Flexible payment options available. Learn more.