The cost for participants is $500, but need-based scholarships are available, Wintsch said.”We don’t want cost to be a barrier,” he added .
A $50,000 grant to support the program was provided by GO Virginia, a business-led state economic development initiative. That program and two other projects were submitted by the local GROW Capital Jobs Council, which administers GO Virginia in 17 counties and cities from the Richmond area to the North Carolina line.
The Richmond-based product development agency Bldr is leading the curriculum. Bldr (pronounced “builder”) works with early-stage ventures to help them craft their ideas.
The curriculum was developed from Bldr’s experience over three years of helping to co-found tech companies, said Luke Rabin, who co-founded Bldr with Brandon Lewis. “We put together our own process of helping people navigate from an idea through creating a product and raising money,” Rabin said.
There are excellent programs, such as Richmond-based Lighthouse Labs, for helping startups that already have a product developed, Rabin said.
“There is very little if you just have an idea,” Rabin said. “We are helping people navigate that so they don’t spend a year thinking about whether they should take the jump or not. They can do that through this process quickly and inexpensively and see whether it is worth pursuing.”