Are you serious about starting up?

Do you have an idea, a team, but don’t know what to do next?

We think we have the answer for you.

And it’s just around the corner.

Whip your ideas into shape with this intensive programme designed specifically for early stage founding teams.

This is you…

You’ve identified a problem and you think you know how to solve it. What’s more, you think people will pay to solve it. You’ve got a kick-ass team who are as passionate as you are towards your vision for your startup. You know that writing a business plan and executing it doesn’t work for startups. You know that you need to validate some of your assumptions about your customers, their problems and needs, your solution, your business model. But how? Where on earth are you supposed to start?

A startup is a temporary organisation designed to search for a repeatable, scalable business model
– Steve Blank

This is us…

We know that founding startups is hard work and full of uncertainty and chaos. Why else would 95% of them fail? But showing you how to take a lean approach to startups, you can minimise risk and waste and maximise your chance of launching a successful product or service – and by successful, we mean something that enough people want and are willing to pay for… and that this model can be repeated and scaled.

This programme is in three stages:

  1. Customer Development – 5 weeks
    The scientific approach to validating assumptions about your startup. Three hour sessions once a week in the evening for five weeks.
  2. Self-directed learning – 6 weeks
    NOT EVERYBODY WILL MAKE IT THIS FAR – told you it was hard
    Put into real practice everything you’ve learned over the previous five weeks without being brought back every week and checking up on you.
  3. Incubation – 6 months
    NOT EVERYBODY WILL MAKE IT THIS FAR – only the strongest startups survive!
    Only the strongest teams will get into our incubator, which includes an in-house business advisor, free printing facilities, free phone calls, free WiFi, use of kitchen, bookable meeting rooms and regular workshops and networking events.

How much is it?

£500 – this pays for the first stage. Subsequent stages are FREE and available only to the strongest startups on the programme.


“It has been absolutely useful to change my mind set about business. Forget about business plans and forecasting. Start seeing your business as a scientific experiment. Try the Lean Startup guided by the USE Pre-start Program.”
Natalia Welch, startup class: Summer 2014

The next edition of the Pre-Start Programme begins in January 2015. Sign up to our newsletter for updates and announcements. We might even do an exclusive discount.


  • Be the first to find out more!

  • Key dates

    Next programme start date:
    Thurs 15 January 2015

    Applications open:
    1st October 2014

  • Eligibility

    • Must have some link to the University
    • The team must be strong and able to execute. but can be made up of any number... including 1... in exceptional circumstances.
    • You MUST be able to attend every session in Stage 1. Five Thursday evenings, 5.30-8.30pm, beginning 15th January 2015
    • Projects must be startups, not hobbies
  • More information

    For more information please contact Janet Grant on or Samantha Deakin on