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Essentials is a three-day program that will help you move from idea to taking actionable steps towards getting your solution in the hands of your users.

Essentials gets you there with coaching from experienced entrepreneurs, feedback from real users, and a community of peers to help you move your idea forward. By the end of Essentials, you’ll have the roadmap you need to test with users quickly and cheaply.



Dec 8-10: New Orleans, for teams building schools (deadline has passed)
Dec 15-17: New York (SESSION FULL)
All applications are due at 11:59pm Central Time of day of the deadline

If you want to attend Essentials as a Community Catalyst, spaces are still available and you can apply above.

We’re putting more dates on the calendar. Apply now and you’ll have the opportunity to select from new dates as we get them up.


Coaching from Experts


We believe entrepreneurship is a mindset you can learn. You’ll get 1 on 1 coaching, workshops with experienced entrepreneurs, and tools to build smarter.

Feedback from Users


We believe founders should talk to users early and often. You’ll have dedicated time with students, teachers, and parents to get honest feedback.

Community of Peers


We believe ideas grow stronger and faster in community. You’ll be part of a cohort of 15-20 founders from around the country who are at the same stage.


BEFORE: Tools to hit the ground running

Understand your problem

Understand your problem

You’ll define the problem you’re solving, and hone in on the root cause, rather than symptoms.

Talk to your user

Talk to your user

You’ll find 5 people who agree that the problem is real and painful for them.

build your protoype

Build your prototype

You’ll design the simplest version of your solution, distilling it to just one page.

DURING: Coaching to run smarter

Community of Peers

Day 1: Build community with peers

Put people first. You’ll spend time getting to know your cohort and building a shared foundation for learning throughout the weekend.

Day 2 Get Coached By Experts

Day 2: Get coached by experts

Dig deep and challenge your biggest assumptions. You’ll be pushed to clarify all aspects of your venture, starting with your problem, user, and solution.

Day 3 gather feedback

Day 3: Gather feedback from users

Put your work in front of the people that matter most: your users. With their feedback in hand, we’ll help you design a roadmap of next steps.

AFTER: Community to keep on running

Connect with Coaches

Connect with Coaches

You’ll have on-demand access to the 4.0 team and network of mentors.

Connect with Peers

Connect with Peers

You’ll have access to over 300 Essentials alumni across the country.

Connect with Community

Connect with Community

You’ll have access to alumni-only experiences like the annual 4.0 Community Summit.


Mikala Streeter

Mikala Streeter

September ‘15 NYC Cohort
The LIFE School (Atlanta, GA)
Winner of 2016 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week Education Pitch


Aaron Frumin

November ’14 NOLA Cohort
Learning Space
unCommon Construction (New Orleans, LA)
Raised $20K on IndieGoGo


Monica Gray

July ’15 NOLA Cohort
DreamWakers (New York, NY)
Winner of 2016 Mother of Innovation Award and $50K grant



Jonathan Johnson

Founder & CEO, Rooted School
Echoing Green Fellow

Parish Woods

Paris Woods

Founder & CEO, College Bridge NOLA
Raised over 100k to launch

Larry Liu

Larry Liu

Founder & CEO, Pomegranate Lab
Bootstrapped their venture



States Essentials alumni hail from


Alumni around the country over the past five years


Out of 5.0 average cohort satisfaction in 2015

Is there a cost?

Essentials is priced at $300 per participant, which covers a fraction of the cost of meals, snacks, supplies, and coaching during the program. As a non-profit, we cover the rest through grants and sponsorships. While the fee helps in subsidizing the cost of running our program, we do not want the fee to be the barrier to joining us! If you imagine it might be, please see the two options below. Eligibility for both of these options will be determined after you are accepted into an Essentials session.

Registration Scholarship

We offer a 50% off scholarship for individuals who meet one of the following criteria:
1) Current teacher
2) Current student
3) Financial hardship

Need-Based Travel Funds

We offer need-based travel funds for participants coming to Essentials from out of town. Amounts will vary depending on the estimated travel cost and your individual need.