Legal Innovation Zone launches program to help legal tech entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses

The six-week online program is free and available to entrepreneurs globally

Legal Innovation Zone launches program to help legal tech entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses
Chris Bentley, managing director of the Legal Innovation Zone

The Legal Innovation Zone at Toronto Metropolitan University is launching a free program to assist aspiring legal tech entrepreneurs turn an idea into a business.

The Concept Framework Program will run for six weeks, from March 19 to April 30, with live virtual sessions every Tuesday from 2:30-4:30 EST. Applications are open until March 4. The program is available to aspiring legal tech entrepreneurs anywhere in the world.

According to the Legal Innovation Zone’s announcement, the program will help participants validate their ideas by working with experts, developing a better understanding of their customer base, cultivating messaging and creating prototypes, and learning how to build a sustainable business model and execution strategy.

Managing director of the Legal Innovation Zone, Chris Bentley, says the program is designed to take an idea about how to deliver legal services more effectively and turn it into a minimum viable product. The program is for products aimed at legal service providers and consumers of legal services.

“We want to give people the opportunity to explore their ideas,” he says.

At the early stage, legal tech entrepreneurs wonder whether their idea has any potential and whether anyone would want to invest money in it, says Bentley. Most do not know where to start. First, they must become familiar with the person or business they aim to serve. “People want to serve everybody, but that's not realistic for any business,” he says.

Next, the entrepreneurs must identify whether their idea for a product is the right fit for the market they hope to target. Bentley says that requires interacting with potential customers to see if the problem they have identified is widespread and one for which people are willing to pay for a solution. Practising law does not mean that a person necessarily knows the first thing about setting up a business, he says.

Third, Bentley says that once the business has pinpointed customers, it must develop a marketing strategy and figure out how to spur more demand.

“These are just some of the areas that we have experts speaking to,” he says. “It's a high-level, six-week interactive online program with some mentoring support. It’s not going to give you everything. But it's a great place to start. You benefit from the community of entrepreneurs, both the others in the program and the current and alumni entrepreneurs that we have within the Legal Innovation Zone.”

The program concludes with a demo session.

“That brings accountability to the six weeks of work,” says Bentley. “In other words, you got to take your idea and come up with this minimum viable product, and then you get to show everybody else what you've come up with. It enables them to build on the feedback for the future development of the business.”

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