Essentials! (formerly known as Startup Lab) is a fast-paced, interactive program of seven classes held over seven weeks, designed to help you create, refine, implement, and present your business. Essentials! helps you define the fundamental purpose of your business and the core value it offers to your customers. We cover the essentials of business strategy, finance and profitability, marketing and sales, business planning, and project implementation. to ensure that you have the tools you need to successful!

Who: Essentials! is an opportunity for entrepreneurs like you to build the business of your dreams through a structured peer-learning process and a disciplined approach. Essentials! is for new entrepreneurs ready to put their idea to paper and evaluate its viability, and for existing entrepreneurs seeking to evaluate a new idea or apply a more structured systems approach to an ongoing enterprise.

What: Hands-on exercises, learning tools, dialogue, access to seasoned entrepreneurs, accountability for completing a business case document and business case presentation, and building a peer network.

Why: Essentials! provides proven, practical business tools and builds confidence — you are the future of our local economy — and increases your chances for success significantly. Use Essentials! to build the vehicle to carry your idea, product, and dreams forward.

When: Seven class sessions over a seven-week period. Three hours of meeting time per class.

Where: The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, Keene, NH

Benefits of the Program

Essentials! is a collaborative program. You will work with the instructor and other participants to discuss your business and dive deeply into the components of your business. The instructor’s role is to help facilitate the discussion and offer insight, where helpful.

We also invite a number of community-based entrepreneurs to share their expertise and experience with either starting a business or supporting growing businesses. Guest speakers include business founders, service providers, working professionals, and all-around wise sages.

Essentials! offers an ideal setting for discovery, hands-on application of practical business tools, and the ability to clearly communicate the value of your product or service, and the benefits your business offers.

Program Components

Class 1

Introduction to Essentials!

  • Introductions
  • Class overview
  • Create mission, vision, and values
  • Understand the opportunity and or the problem your business addresses

 Class 2

The “Big Three”: From Idea to Reality

  • Resources and assets
  • Working on your business plan
  • Working on your presentation pitch
  • Diving into the essential elements of your business

Class 3


  • Business model and financial viability
  • Basic terms and definitions of financial terms
  • Financial statements, budget projections
  • Financing your business
  • Initial practice pitch

Class 4

Customer, Marketing, and Sales

  • Defining and understanding your customer
  • Define the market and business need
  • Create your value proposition
  • Developing your marketing and sales plan

Class 5

Milestones and Metrics

  • Project management techniques
  • SMART Goals
  • Milestones
  • Metrics to understand performance and health of business

Class 6

Executive Summary of Your Business Plan

  • Full pitch practice
  • Learn from an experienced entrepreneur

 Class 7

The Pitch

  • Pitch your business to friends, family, and community members!
  • Debrief and asses your experience and all-important next steps

(Class topics subject to change as needed to maximize the impact of the Essentials! experience)


Startup Lab helped me clarify my mission and values so I can communicate that more clearly to my customers. And it helped me identify the next steps to reach my goals. It was a wonderful program! I am so grateful for the opportunity to take part. It’s helped me gain focus.

Sarah Barkhouse, Owner of Vera Flora Farm


Startup Lab was extremely beneficial in giving me a solid base to grow my business.  The lessons taught by the instructors as well as the experiences shared by other business owner’s was eye opening and helped to expand my point of view.

Chris Dubriske, Owner Lumen Mesh


Startup Lab helped me to outline a plan for my business. Both the instructor and the rest of the class had a lot of questions and feedback for me, which helped to clarify my ideas about the business. Each meeting was interesting and engaging and we all learned a lot from a supportive group.

By the end of the Startup Lab program, I had an initial business plan to help me to move forward with starting my business. Soon after,I launched my first product and am making sales! Its exciting to go from a business idea to a running, albeit very small, business thats creating value for customers.

Steve Roll, Owner of Rising Fellow


It was a huge benefit to start building a network and to carve out space each week to discover every part of my business I would need to dive deep into understanding. Creating a business is an exploration of your strengths and weaknesses — having a resource, network, and support is very crucial during this period of time. Start-up lab provided this and so much more!

Danya Landis, Owner of Machina Arts

Is It Right for You?

You should apply if:

  • You are passionate about your business and serious about making it successful
  • You are motivated to take action and break through obstacles to grow your business
  • You are ready and willing to challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone
  • You welcome constructive feedback so you can improve your business habits and practices
  • You work collaboratively and recognize the benefit of sharing both success and failure to achieve success




Schedule, Cost, Payment


The meetings for this program will take place at Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship. Essentials! meets on Thursdays for a three-hour energetic, hands-on work session. Full participation in all sessions is required!

Essentials! meets on Thursdays for 7 weeks, 8:30 AM -11:30 PM on the following dates:

Spring 2021 Cohort Class Schedule

      • Class #1 March 18th
      • Class #2 March 25th
      • Class #3 April 1st
      • Class #4 April 8th
      • Class #5 April 15th
      • Class #6 April 22nd
      • Class #7 April 29th


The tuition for Essentials! is $600. Scholarships are available for qualifying applicants.

A non-refundable deposit ($100) is requested in advance of the class. The remaining cost of the class is due before the first day. Both may be paid online.

Application Process

    • Complete a Essentials! application.
    • Submit your application to us by March 1st, 2021 at, or drop off your application to The Hannah Grimes Center, Startup Lab, 25 Roxbury St, Keene, NH 03431
    • Applicants will be contacted before the start of the class to confirm program acceptance or schedule an additional interview, if necessary.
    • After acceptance, a non-refundable deposit for materials of $100 is required to save your place in the Lab. Full payment of tuition is due before the first day of class.