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Crested Butte, CO



The ICE Project at Western State Colorado University is a home for dreamers and doers. Our fundamental belief is that all students have immense entrepreneurial potential, and we are here to help you discover and act upon that potential. For us, ICE is an approach to life built around inquisitiveness, calculated risk-taking, and proactive behavior. It can be applied in start-up firms, non-profit organizations, high growth companies, large corporations, social organizations, and government institutions. It can also be applied in a person’s daily life—in finding and implementing creative solutions to problems in your family, school, and community.

An Experiential Curriculum

Western is known for doing things a little differently.  Our approach to developing entrepreneurs is no different.  Our students do, rather than plan to do.  Unlike many approaches to entrepreneurship education, the ICE Project at Western utilizes the Lean Launchpad framework, which does not rely on static case studies or fixed models; it challenges students to create their own business models based on information derived from personal engagement rather than secondhand market research.

Taught at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, and UCSF, adopted by the National Science Foundation and recently featured in Harvard Business Review, the Lean LaunchPad is a new pedagogical framework for entrepreneurship education.  We have transformed our classrooms into an active entrepreneurial environment and make students learn by doing through the framework of the Lean Startup: business model design, customer development, and agile innovation.

The Lean LaunchPad emphasizes experiential learning, a flipped classroom and immediate feedback as a way to engage students with real world entrepreneurship.  Students learn by proposing and immediately testing hypotheses. They get out of the classroom and talk to customers, partners and competitors and encounter the chaos and uncertainty of commercializing innovations and creating new ventures.