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Organized byPathfinder Software



How are we different from other competitions?

How does it work?

1. Create a Business Model Canvas

Take your idea and map it out on a business model canvas.  You can use either Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas Business Model Canvas or Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas

2. Apply

The Chicago Lean Startup Challenge is a competitive program, and we will only accept a select group of applicants. We charge a $200 application fee, all of which goes towards cash prizes for the competition. We will notify you if you are selected by June 20th. If you are not selected, we will refund your application fee. (Registrations will close on July 3rd.)   Remember, the CLSC is all about validated learning, so the sooner you start, the more learning you have!

3. Blog your progress on Lean Launch Lab

After you register, we will give you free access to Lean Launch Lab, so you can start documenting your lean startup.

4. Start documenting

Once a week create a blog post that

5. Post a Video

After 8 weeks, post a video describing your business model hypotheses, experiments, and what you’ve learned.

6. Choosing the Finalists

Judges will determine the Final 4 on in September.  The judging criteria for the finals:

7. Intense Acceleration

Judges will provide feedback to each finalist on what they need to do to take it to the next level. The finalists will receive extra mentoring, design and development help to accelerate their progress over a 4 week period, and will receive pitch coaching from Troy Henikoff, CEO of Excelerate Labs.

8. The Finals: Compete for $75,000 in cash and prizes

Finalists will present to a panel of judges and an audience of over 500 investors, mentors, press and members of the tech community on the evening of 10/18.  The presentation will consist of a 10 minute presentation, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from the judges and 5 minutes of Q&A from the audience via twitter.  The judges will decide the winners and present the cash and prizes.


The competition is for new, independent ventures in a seed position:

What Participants Get

Lean Startup Resources

A one day Lean Startup bootcamp, weekly learning materials, checklists and access to classes

Hands on Advice from Amazing Mentors

Help from the best mentors Chicago has to offer.

Essential Startup Tools

Details coming soon


A private space and networking events for participants.

Cash and Prizes

Details coming soon

Stay in Touch via Social Networks.