Lean Startup

***Registration for the next session is open! Click here to sign up***

The Lean Startup curriculum uses innovative methodologies, taken from successful startup entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, and applies them to small businesses. The course will teach you how to “de-risk” your business model through customer discovery, market research, and early-stage product design and testing.

You’ll come out of this class with a better understanding of your business model, who your target customers are, and whether your idea is worth pursuing in the market!

Market Research

  • Discover your target market by conducting client and industry-specific interviews. Learn how to be strategic and confident when speaking to potential customers.
  • Learn how to conduct surveys, comprehension tests, and other market research methodologies.
  • Conduct competitive analysis and learn how to position your value proposition to reach the right customers.

Develop Your Business Model

  • Identify areas of potential risk in your business model.
  • Refine your value proposition and a client facing product or service to test for customer validation.
  • Learn essential skills for pitching your business in public, and get constructive feedback from your entrepreneurial peers in class.

Benefit from a friendly and engaging classroom environment with other entrepreneurs who are in the same early stages of development. Work with an experienced instructor who has helped Silicon Valley tech startups AND small businesses in the Bay Area to help you figure out if launching your business is the right move.

The course involves a commitment and willingness to test the market by agreeing to interview 5-8 potential customers per week throughout the 8-week duration.  You are required to attend all classes, conduct interviews, and present your business idea to the class. Proficiency with spreadsheets is helpful, though not required.

About the Instructors

Ryan MacCarrigan is a Lean Startup coach, consultant, and university instructor with leadership experience in product design, marketing, and user experience at technology companies in New York City, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. Prior to founding his consulting practice LeanStudio, he served as the head of marketing at Lean Startup Machine and Advisor.Class Instructor, Ryan MacCarriganHe has facilitated Lean Startup workshops and consulting projects across the United States, Europe, and Asia—helping thousands of product managers, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders validate and launch new products faster. This includes engagements with companies like SanDisk, News Corp, Disney, and Singularity University.

Ryan is one of the curriculum designers of Renaissance’s Lean Startup class, and this will be the fourth time he has taught the course. The curriculum has been adapted for small businesses and sole proprietorships. Many of the cutting-edge Lean Startup principles that are typically associated with Silicon Valley are also highly relevant and valuable to entrepreneurs starting small businesses. Ryan is a 2008 graduate of Columbia University and currently serves as the Global President of the Columbia Venture Community.

Ryan’s LinkedIn

Ryan’s Website

Eli Vining (they/them) is a non-binary, queer, social and economic justice advocate living in San Francisco. Eli is the founder of Queerconomy, a small business consulting practice which connects economically marginalized entrepreneurs with the human, social, and financial capital needed to launch and sustain a small business.

Eli holds a Masters of Public Administration and a Masters of Business Administration from Presidio Graduate School of Sustainable Management. They’ve worked with organizations in the public, private, and civil sectors in all areas of business management, including business development, legal formation, human resources marketing, social and environmental sustainability, operations, finance, and strategic planning.

Eli loves their dog Marleau, creating community, and eating delicious vegan treats. Most of all, Eli loves empowering others to follow their passions, do good for our world, and live their best life.

Eli’s Website

Tuition: $235. Scholarships up to 50% are available based on household income. For more information on your eligibility, see our scholarships page.

Payment:  If you are applying for a Scholarship, please follow the instructions below before registering for the class. Payment for classes and workshops are collected prior to or no later than the first day of class.

Scholarships: To apply for a scholarship you will need:

  1. *Proof of household income
  2. Income verification form

*Proof of household income can be one of the following:

  • A copy of previous year’s tax return;
  • A recent pay stub (within the last three months) or
  • Documentation of government assistance, such as unemployment benefits, social security, or Medi-Cal.

All information will be kept confidential. Download income verification form here.

Email above to Erin Morris, Program Coordinator, at emorris@rencenter.org at least two weeks before class starts. Preference is given to local residents and business owners.

When is the next session?

The next round of Lean Startup will begin on October 2. This class will run on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Click here to sign up!


sba logoFunded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the SBA. All SBA programs or cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested, at least 2 weeks in advance. Contact: Erin Morris at emorris@rencenter.org or(415) 348-6227.