• Venture Lab

    IEI Venture Lab Image 

    A keystone program of the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Venture Lab is designed to support graduate students and upper-level undergraduates at The New School in developing financially sustainable ventures that address critical societal challenges and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact. Students accepted to the Venture Lab enroll in a semester-long course, for which they receive academic credit. The Venture Lab course is taught by Jen van der Meer, assistant professor of strategic design and management, Parsons School of Design, with support from the Impact Entrepreneurship Team, which includes Michele Kahane, professor of practice in management and social innovation, and Elizabeth Werbe, director of the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative.

    The Venture Lab builds on the Lean Launchpad® curriculum that is taught at Berkeley, Stanford, and numerous other universities but has been adapted for social impact ventures. The course incorporates business model development, customer discovery, design thinking, and values-driven leadership to support teams on their path toward sustainable revenue and growth. Participants come away with the tools needed to plan for financial sustainability, address critical societal challenges, and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact.  

    Students interested in the Venture Lab are selected to participate based on specific criteria. Preference is given to students who have already engaged in significant work on their idea and are ready to validate their business model in anticipation of launching their venture soon after completing the course. Additionally, students are encouraged to apply to the Venture Lab in teams of two or more.

    We encourage students at an earlier stage of venture development to consider applying to enroll in the Social Impact, Entrepreneurship, and Design course. This course takes students through a design-driven process aimed at clarifying the unmet need, better understanding the industry, developing a social impact theory of change, developing prototypes to validate assumptions, and considering different approaches to scaling. Enrollment in the Social Impact, Entrepreneurship, and Design course is by permission from the faculty member at the time of course registration.  

    Benefits of the Venture Lab

    • Weekly class sessions during the spring semester focused on entrepreneurial skill development. See this course overview (PDF) for more information.
    • Mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, advisors, and faculty
    • Access to subject-matter experts
    • The opportunity to learn among an interdisciplinary group of students from various programs
    • The opportunity to apply for seed funding
    • The opportunity to connect with the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem in New York City
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