Developed with the ever-evolving needs of startups in mind, the dynamic ATDC curriculum incorporates startup best practices and the collective experience of ATDC staff and industry experts from Georgia and beyond. Below is a description of the curriculum. Review the Events page to see what is being offered and to register for classes. Registration is required for ALL classes.
All ATDC members (Educate, Accelerate, and Signature) are invited to take part in ATDC’s educational curriculum.
Our curriculum prepares first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs alike for the entrepreneurial journey. Entrepreneurs progress through ATDC Educate Entrepreneurship 101, ATDC Educate Financial Literacy 102, and ATDC Customer Discovery. These three courses form the foundation of our educational curriculum. Outside of these core classes, entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the many electives we offer throughout the year. Our electives frequently evolve as new staff members, sponsors, and volunteers are brought on to share their expertise.
ATDC Educate Entrepreneurship 101:
Entrepreneurship 1: Developing the Opportunity
How do good ideas become viable business opportunities? What is entrepreneurship and who fits the profile of an entrepreneur? This introductory course is designed to familiarize you with the foundational concepts of entrepreneurship:
- Defining what it is
- Understanding the profile of successful entrepreneurs
- Discerning the difference between entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial management
- The role of venture creation in society
You’ll explore where technology entrepreneurship and impact entrepreneurship align, where they diverge, and you’ll learn proven techniques for identifying and assessing opportunities, hypothesis testing, and creating prototypes. By the end of this course, you’ll know how to test, validate, and prototype your idea, and whether you fit the profile of an entrepreneur! You’ll also be ready to move to the next phase of entrepreneurship in Entrepreneurship 2: Launching the Startup.
Entrepreneurship 2: Launching your Startup
Once you have a prototype and a clearer vision of the opportunity, you’ll need to create a small organization to discover how to create a repeatable and scalable business model. Designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the critical components of a creating a startup, Entrepreneurship 2: Launching the Startup, provides practical, real-world knowledge about the Lean Methodology, the minimum viable product, when to pivot, when to quit your day job, the art of the pitch, building and managing a team, allocating equity, building your external team and advisory board members, professional services, and entrepreneurial strategy. Upon course completion, you’ll be able to create a strategy for launch, including knowing who you need to hire, how to manage them to provide the greatest value, and the legal aspects involved. You’ll also be prepared for Entrepreneurship 3: Growth Strategies.
Entrepreneurship 3: Growth Strategies
Startups are designed to scale quickly, but the successful ones do so with smart strategies. This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of the essential elements of successful scaling, including an overview of demand generation, customer acquisition, adoption, diffusion, and forecasting demand. You’ll also learn how to market effectively using best practices of digital marketing, social media, public relations, search engine optimization, and pricing. Finally, you’ll cover the nuts and bolts of building a sales process, partnerships, and supply relationships, and examine the crucial components of attracting, developing, and retaining talent. By the end of this course, you’ll have an outline of an expansion strategy for your idea or enterprise, and be prepared for Entrepreneurship 4: Financing and Profitability.
Entrepreneurship 4: Financing and Profitability
Startups can benefit from a wide variety of financing options on the path to profitability, but how do you know which one to choose? This course explores different financing models, including bootstrapping, organic growth, debt, and risk capital. It also provides a clear overview of equity financing including the key types of investors: angels, venture capital, and crowdfunding. You’ll learn about terms, and term sheets, exit modes, and what exit strategy might be best for you. By the end of this course, you’ll have an understanding of what success looks like and how it can be financed. You’ll also be ready for the capstone project, in which you will get feedback on your own pitch deck and may even be selected to pitch to investors from venture capital firms.
Entrepreneurship 5 Technology Readiness Level (TRL) & Technology Commercialization
How does a good idea become a viable business opportunity? Technology readiness level (TRL) evaluations that determine a technology’s maturity evaluations can help gauge the progress of technology development, inform program plans, and identify potential concerns for decision-makers throughout acquisitions. Conducting TRLs periodically and during the earlier phases of development can identify potential concerns before risks are carried into the later and more expensive stages of system development. This course will give you the tools to assess a technology’s maturity and its readiness for integration into larger acquisition programs and commercial markets.
Technology Commercialization Process
- Step 1: Research.
- Step 2: Invention disclosure.
- Step 3: Assessment.
- Step 4: Patenting.
- Step 5: Identifying potential licensees.
- Step 6: Negotiation.
- Step 7: Licensing.
- Step 8: Revenue
ATDC Educate Financial Literacy 102:
Module 1: Introduction to Mergers & Acquisitions
Review the key terminology of the M&A landscape and learn a five-point framework for remaining disciplined during the M&A process.
Module 2: Strategic and Practical Considerations
Examine the six key topics to be addressed in the M&A process: strategic alternatives; screening candidates; valuation, synergies, and pro-forma analysis; interloper analysis; form of consideration; and tactical approach issues and Plan B.
Module 3: Valuation
Explore the role that valuation plays in the M&A process and evaluate whether an M&A transaction will add value.
Module 4: Deal Math
Review the most common ‘deal math’ calculations for an M&A transaction including premium; fully diluted shares outstanding (FDSO); transaction values; transaction multiples; transaction exchange ratio and pro forma ownership (only in stock deals), and contribution analysis (only in stock deals).
Module 5: Due Diligence
Explain the due diligence process — including financial, legal, and commercial — and its role in ensuring that both parties can protect their interests.
Module 6: Merger Agreements and Sell Side
Describe the principles and mechanics of deal documentation and learn about various transaction structures, including direct mergers, triangular mergers, consolidations, and asset sales.
Module 7: Takeover Defense and Financial Perspectives
Discuss some key questions that both parties must address throughout the M&A process and some guidelines for friendly versus hostile deals. Gain insight into the roles of the involved stakeholders.
Course Schedule: Customer Discovery:
Make evidence-based decisions about commercialization/dissemination by embracing the customer discovery methods and use of the Business Model Canvas tool. This course learnings which is teams in a cohort. Distinguish between a startup and a company and recognize the iterative nature of the search process. Use (virtual) face-to-face conversations with potential customers in a given market segment, discover the fundamental value proposition that solves an urgent problem and how it can drive a change in adoption/buying behavior. Determine the size of the market opportunity for solving a specific, crucial real-world problem with your solution.
After completing the Customer Discovery Course, participants should be able to:
- Employ customer development
- Identify potential users that are a match for their innovation/technology and understand their urgent problems and desires (Seek Problem-Solution Fit).
- Recognize and articulate their assumptions, create testable hypotheses, and understand how to test the hypotheses without talking about the technology.
- Acknowledge confirmation biases and apply countermeasures.
- Fill in the 9 boxes of the “Business Model Canvas” framework to suggest an integrated business strategy.
Identify the primary customers for their technology/product, sorted into suggested market segments based on their hypotheses about the value propositions for each segment.
- Formulate a concise business thesis and evolve it based on feedback and customer discovery.
- Avoid confirmation bias by using hypotheses to drive their customer conversations.
- Formulate assumptions and create hypotheses relating to the BMC, with special attention to the value proposition(s) offered each customer segment.
- Formulate and ask non-biased questions to confirm or disprove hypotheses.
- Use customer conversations to refine their Business Model Canvas to reflect more evidence-based definitions of customer segments and value propositions.
- Revise the remaining 7 blocks of the Business Model Canvas based on findings about the Customer Segment and Value proposition blocks.
- Determine whether, when, and how to pivot their business model based on customer feedback.
- Effectively present the business thesis and the findings of customer conversations to a group.
- Receive and apply feedback on the business model.
Module 1: Customer Segments & Ecosystems
Module 2: Value Propositions & Customer Discovery Best Practices
Module 3: Finding Insights
Module 4: Lessons Learned