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Who is an Entrepreneur? Liftoff PGH has 27 New Ideas.

In preparation for the Ideathon pitch competition this December, Liftoff PGH launched a 10-week entrepreneurship bootcamp at the beginning of June. The micro-internship is a gateway into the startup world for 27 students who never identified as entrepreneurs and began their education in fields ranging from dentistry and occupational therapy to engineering, public health, and pharmacy. Participants hail from 6 different countries, speak more than 10 different languages, and have generated countless new ideas that change every single week.

So, how do you grow as an entrepreneur? Well, it turns out in as many ways as you can start a business. Each week the students are introduced to a part of startup infrastructure, beginning with defining the problem, articulating customer segments, researching competitors, and moving all the way through defining their market and potential product structure.

Class instruction kicks off the more formal business concepts and theory, which students then apply to their own idea in independent group discussions. The space to problem-solve and peer-critique critically informs the cohort, expanding the shared strategy and creativity essential to iterating startup ideas. The students must then add to and refine their own idea, captured in weekly video pitches and an updated business canvas. By the end, the students will be prepared to present a 5-minute pitch and submit their solution to the Liftoff PGH Ideathon.

More than describing the process, the bootcamp's success lies in the diversity of problems being tackled, and the number of possible solutions. To name a few, ZeroDK is developing progressive insurance for dental patients, Little Moochie has launched a game that teaches childhood nutrition, and DR Chain is creating a block chain system for patients to protect their individual health data. And these are just the teams that came in with a project underway. Students are exploring medical error, overlapping research protocols, AI for medical record coding, and much more. Stay tuned for their final pitches in August.

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