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2021 Summer Indiana TechCelerator Syllabus

Technical Requirements

Operating System Penn State's Learning Management System, Canvas, supports most recent versions of Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac operating systems. To determine if your operating system is supported, please review the Canvas Computer Specifications.
Hardware For a list of required computer hardware specifications and internet speed, please review the Canvas Computer Specifications.

Canvas supports the last two versions of every major browser release. We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using.

To determine if your browser is supported, please review the list of Canvas Supported Browsers.

Please note that due to Canvas creator Instructure's reduction of support for Internet Explorer, students and instructors should choose another browser to use such as Firefox, Chrome, Edge, or Safari.

Note: Cookies must be enabled, and pop-up blockers should be configured to permit new windows from Penn State websites.
Additional Software

Microsoft Office, 2010 or later
Students will need a PDF reader, either in their browser or Adobe Acrobat Reader

Sound Card, Microphone, and Speakers Required
Monitor Capable of at least 1024 x 768 resolution
Mobile Device The Canvas mobile app is available for versions of iOS and Android. To determine if your device is capable of using the Canvas Mobile App, please review the Canvas Mobile App Requirements.


By the end of this course, students will be expected to demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  • Create and apply a business model plan.
  • Identify and apply the skills of interviewing customers in real-time.
  • Summarize weekly customer discovery.
  • Identify and apply financials as they pertain to small businesses.
  • Identify and define the elements of the Business Model Canvas.
  • Discover and discuss legal formation with an expert in the field.
  • Examine the product-market fit.
  • Analyze distribution channels.
  • Build and develop customer relationships.
  • Construct, improve, and sustain partnership relationships.
  • Examine, estimate, and evaluate revenue streams in order to improve business.
  • Analyze, identify, and maximize ways to raise capital.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to apply the elements of the TechCelerator course to develop a business model and present a 6-minute pitch presentation to a panel of judges in a competition for funding of the presented project.

Hello, we’re excited to invite you to apply to our business accelerator, The TechCelerator, for an informative and productive time over the next 3 months. We will be totally remote/online and working through Canvas and Zoom beginning with Week "0". There will be 6 companies selected from all the applicants.

It is critical that you come to each session having read and/or watched the assigned homework. This will allow us to focus more on applying the concepts to your business case and moving your opportunity forward than on teaching the actual concepts. The real value in being part of the TechCelerator is in the conversations and the context applied to the content.

After a brief orientation in Week "0", we’ll start with introductions and a description of your business ideas. Then we’ll forge boldly ahead into a discussion of Customer Discovery in Week 1!

Participation in the TechCelerator will require a minimum of 10 hours per week of your time, so make sure you’re ready to commit. This is a VERY rigorous class and a lot will be expected of you!

Mentoring/Coaching Sessions

We would like you to schedule a 1-hour, individual Mentoring/Coaching session once per week. The goal of these individual meetings will be to get a deeper understanding of your business; where you are in the business life cycle, what are your most pressing challenges, and how we can best find and apply resources to help move you ahead.

We have 6 slots available but will try to accommodate your schedules if possible; first come first served.

  • 9:30-10:30 am
  • 11:00 am-12:00 pm
  • 2:00-3:00 pm
  • 9:30-10:30 am
  • 11:00 am-12:00 pm
  • 2:00-3:00 pm

This is an overview of the syllabus. Details will be provided when you are accepted into the program.

  • Introduction and Course Orientation/Overview
  • Ground Rules for Interviewing
  • Customer Discovery: Interviewing
  • Read The Mom Test in it‘s entirety.
  • What is the Technology Idea?
  • Intro to “2-minute Stand-up”
  • The Business Model Canvas Deep Dive
  • Required activites:
    • Read The Mom Test (in it’s entirety)
    • Read Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Read Talking to Humans (partial)
    • Read Ground Rules for Interviewing
    • Sign up for "How to Build a Startup" on and watch lectures (partial)
  • 2-minute Stand-up
  • Cost Structure: Estimating Operational Costs; Estimated Start-up Costs
  • Value Prop Canvas
  • Legal Formation
  • Required Activities:
    • Read the Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Read Talking to Humans (partial)
    • Watch Udacity lectures
    • Watch Wanna Buy One and Carbon Nanotubes (Optional)
    • Business Model Preparation

Guest Speaker: Legal Formations

  • 2-minute Stand-up
  • Customer Segments and Types
  • Required Activities:
    • Read the Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Read Talking to Humans (partial)
    • Watch Udacity lectures
    • Read
      • 10 common startup mistakes
      • Value Proposition defined
      • 12 Discovery Questions
      • 12 Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews
      • Customer Discovery 101
      • Simple Proforma 1 page
      • Redacted -BFTP 2014 Proforma
      • Estimating Start-up Costs & Estimating Operational Costs
    • Download
      • 5 Step Elevator Pitch Template
      • Unabridged Elevator Pitch Template
    • Begin filling out Business Model Canvas

Guest Speaker: SBIRs

  • 6-minute PPT Pitch
  • Channels
  • Basic IP Documentation - Public Disclosure, Patents, Copyright, Trademarks
  • PowerPoint sent to instructor by NOON on Tuesday
  • Required Activities
    • Read Business Model Canvas
    • Read the Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Read Talking to Humans (partial)
    • Watch Udacity lectures
    • Read
      • 10 Small Biz Facts
      • Customer Discovery and Development
      • Elements of the Pitch
      • Value Prop Lesson
      • Comparison Table PowerPoint
      • Milestones-TimeLines + Comparison Table PowerPoint Template
  • 6-minute Pitch PowerPoint
  • Questions and Feedback
  • Customer Relationships — Get/Keep/Grow
  • Read
    • Customer Experience Map
    • Pitch Content 2-4 Minute PowerPoint
    • Work-Life Balance
  • Key Activities
  • 6-minute Pitch
  • There will be no reading assignments from the books this week. Please review these documents as you continue to plan and further develop your business plan.
    • 6 Sneaky Ways Your Competitors Are Keeping Ahead
    • Get-Keep-Grow Explained
    • Google Lead Generation
    • Leadership Tips by Will Wise
  • 6-minute Pitch
  • Partners
  • Required Activities:
    • Read Business Model Canvas
    • Read the Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Watch Udacity lecture
  • 6-minute Pitch
  • Revenue Streams
  • Profitability
  • Basic Accounting: Banking needs/expectations, Balance Sheets, Income Statements, Cash Flow, Projected P & L Statements
  • Required Activities:
    • Read Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Read Setting a Pricing Strategy
    • Watch Udacity lecture
    • Talk with a potential Customer
  • FINAL 6-minute Pitch
  • Key Resources
  • Cost Structure
  • Funding Options
  • Strategic Planning
  • Required Activities:
    • Read Startup Owner's Manual (partial)
    • Watch Udacity lecture
    • Read
      • Pitching to Angels and VCs
      • Servant Leadership Article
      • What is an Exit Strategy
  • $10,000 Finale – Presentations to the Panel, Peers, Ecosystem
  • 6-minute "Stand-up" with PowerPoint

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity — scholarship free of fraud and deception — is an important educational objective of Penn State. Academic dishonesty can lead to a failing grade or referral to the Office of Student Conduct (Links to an external site.).

Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to

  • cheating,
  • plagiarism,
  • fabrication of information or citations,
  • facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others,
  • unauthorized prior possession of examinations,
  • submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor and securing written approval, and
  • tampering with the academic work of other students.
How Academic Integrity Violations Are Handled

In cases where academic integrity is questioned, the procedure requires an instructor to notify a student (Links to an external site.) of suspected dishonesty before filing a charge and recommended sanction with the college. Procedures allow a student to accept or contest a charge. If a student chooses to contest a charge, the case will then be managed by the respective college or campus Academic Integrity Committee. If a disciplinary sanction also is recommended, the case will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct (Links to an external site.).

All Penn State colleges abide by this Penn State policy, but review procedures may vary by college when academic dishonesty is suspected. Information about Penn State's academic integrity policy and college review procedures is included in the information that students receive upon enrolling in a course.

Additionally, Ben Franklin TechCelerator participants are expected to act with civility and personal integrity; respect other students' dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their own efforts. An environment of academic integrity is requisite to respect for oneself and others, and a civil community.

For More Information on Academic Integrity at Penn State

  • Penn State Senate Policy on Academic Integrity (Links to an external site.)
  • iStudy for Success! (Links to an external site.) — learn about plagiarism, copyright, and academic integrity through an educational module
  • Turnitin (Links to an external site.) — a web-based plagiarism detection and prevention system

Please note: Various tutoring websites claim to offer you the opportunity to download answers to everything from accounting problems to quiz questions for little to no cost. Full papers can also be downloaded to submit in place of your own work. Use of these materials, or “ghosting,” is considered cheating and an academic integrity violation. Similarly, uploading exams, course materials, or your work to one of these sites is considered an academic integrity violation.

Using online services that complete assignments for you is considered an academic integrity violation.

Giving your Penn State Access ID and password to someone else to do your work is against University policy AD-20 and an academic integrity violation; sanctions will be given for these violations.


Accommodating Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has resources for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website (Links to an external site.) provides contacts for disability services (Links to an external site.) at every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the SDR website (Links to an external site.).

In order to apply for reasonable accommodations (Links to an external site.), you must contact the appropriate disability resources office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation based on the documentation guidelines (Links to an external site.). If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’ disability resources office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Educational Equity and Report Bias Statement

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Reporting Bias website (Links to an external site.).

Additional Policies

Mental health services are available to help you maintain your academic success. Visit the Student Mental Health Services website (Links to an external site.) to learn more or to speak with a mental health advocate who can help you address concerns including anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, and stress. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis situation, please call your local emergency service.

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or dependents with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Disclaimer: Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Your instructor will notify you of any changes.