Applications for the April 2023 cohort are now closed
Watch the recording of our online explainer event for additional information about our Startup First Steps course, including participant eligibility, course outcomes, delivery format and other FAQs.
Startup First Steps sessions are highly collaborative, balancing lectures from industry experts, founders at different stages of the startup journey, as well as practical activities and group discussions to apply session teachings.
Ten three-hour live sessions (held from 10am-1pm BST), across 12 weeks. Two reflection weeks with coworking days and drop in sessions with experts.
No cost or equity stake involved, funded by the Scottish Government.
Hybrid delivery format, with in-person and online participation options, more info.
Optional one-to-ones with session speakers and additional events to deep dive into specific course material
Additional reading material and resources provided
Practical frameworks that you can implement directly into your startup
> In-person sessions, at our hubs
Sessions will be hosted at alternate Techscaler hubs from week to week, with speakers delivering sessions across Scotland.
> Hybrid watch parties, at our hubs
While hubs will take turns in hosting the live stream of each session, a meeting space will be available at each hub, every week, for local participants to come together and dial in on the session, as a group.
> Online sessions, from anywhere
For those who are not able to engage with either of the in-person options, or would simply prefer to tune in from the comfort of their home, the course will also be accessible online, remotely.
Who is this course for?
Startup First Steps is designed for individuals committed to dedicating time and energy to exploring the viability of a tech startup.
This list is not exhaustive. If you are a founder with an idea in a specific sector/market/customer/problem area, and believe you would benefit from taking part in Startup First Steps, we encourage you to apply.
Startup founders who have launched an early product and are starting to onboard customers and grow
Pre-revenue founders looking to commercialise a product
Startup founders seeking pre-seed or seed investment
A second (or more)-time founder or startup operator at any of the above stages who wants to progress quicker this time round, with support
Who is this course not suitable for?
* If you are not a founder, but still think that First Steps could still be relevant to you, we would encourage you to apply.
The course will kick off by setting the startup scene, covering an introduction to startup systems, the investment landscape, innovation cycles, as well as hearing from other founders a few steps ahead in their startup journey. Get to know the cohort and set intentions for the upcoming few months.
Creating a vision for your startup and breaking down your idea into a problem statement, with an introduction to Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) theory and the founder bias problem.
Find out why customer-led design is the key to building successful startups, and use this approach to create a customer research plan for your startup.
This is the first of two break weeks during the course. You will be asked to complete a mid-course reflection survey, as well as use the week to start implementing course teachings in your own startup or idea.
Learn how you can experiment and iterate to develop your product and business by engaging directly with users. Shift your thinking from 'building my idea' to 'learning what works'.
Understand what it takes to move beyond early experiments and on to ‘discovering’ and developing a product that users will love and that customers will pay for.
As you move to having a product live in market, learn how other founders and early stage employees have tactically approached acquiring customers, and generating early revenue.
Similar to the first break week, you will be asked to complete another mid-course reflection survey, continue to implement course teachings, and continue working on the course assignment.
This week you’ll learn about funding and investment options, and what the implications of each may be for your business. We will also welcome a panel of founders to discuss their experiences of navigating financing options for their startup, as well as their advice on how to avoid common pitfalls in financial management, investor relations, hiring, intellectual property and regulatory compliance.
Delivering a successful pitch is important, not only in the context of raising investment. Learn about the different ways in which founders have succeeded in pitching for investment and understand why your focus should go beyond the creation of a pitch deck. We will look at how to tell your startup’s story and how to incorporate this into pitching, with lots of practice.
In the final week, the cohort will come together in person and online to celebrate their progress, and will be joined by other founders, First Steps workshop hosts and First Steps alumni. You can expect speed-networking, and opportunities to pitch to the group and receive feedback. We will reflect on the past 12 weeks, look ahead with energy and excitement for what’s to come in your startup journey, and find out about other opportunities available within Techscaler which can help support you in your next steps.
Startup First Steps sessions will be highly collaborative, balancing lectures from industry experts, founders at different stages of the startup journey, as well as practical activities and group discussions to apply session teachings.
Techscaler and its education offerings have been funded as part of the Scottish Government's commitment to creating, developing and scaling tech startups in Scotland. Techscaler welcomes participants from all nationalities, however, they must be based in Scotland to be eligible.
First cohort begins 19th April 2023, and runs for 10 weeks until 21st June 2023. There will also be an onboarding event before the course commences on the 12th April 2023. Applications close at midday on Wednesday, 5th April 2023. Eligible applicants will need to enrol by midnight on Sunday 9th April 2023.
The courses is completely free. You will not be asked for any equity in your business.
Startup First Steps is most suited for prospective founders who already have an idea as to a sector/market/problem that they could build a startup in. Techscaler offers another self-paced online course, Startup Basics, which covers fundamental ideas and topics relevant for both current and prospective founders.
The programme’s 10 sessions take place on a weekly basis, every Wednesday, from 1pm to 4pm. Additionally, participants should also set aside appropriate time per week (around 2h-5h) to apply session learnings to their own startup idea.
You don’t need to be on one of our courses to get access to mentorship. There are fully funded mentorship opportunities available through Techscaler membership, providing guidance and support from experts, including industry operators, educators, founders and investors.
If you have specific accessibility needs, please flag this in your application and share as much detail as you are comfortable. Our education programmes team is committed to extending the opportunity for all participants with accessibility requirements to have a conversation with a member of our team to assess how we can best support you in advance.
Our programmes welcome any eligible founders, including bootstrappers, regardless of their investment intentions.
Yes, in order to access any Techscaler courses or resources, you must first have Techscaler membership. Membership is free, apply here.
Absolutely. However, in order to get the most out of the programme, we would advise you to look over the curriculum overview above to see if Startup First Steps covers new topics or topics you’d benefit from revisiting.
Yes, you will need to pay for your own travel.
No. We do not take any equity stake in any of the businesses that take part in our education courses.
We do not provide tech / product build resources, however, you may find someone on the course who is a collaborator in that space. We do not guarantee investment opportunities or investor connections. Our aim is to guide you towards investor-readiness.
Techscaler education is tailored to each startup growth stage