Leadinng to Scale-Up

Prepare your company for growth with Innovaud and IMD

The LeadiNNg to Scale-Up program is designed to propel tech companies from promising startups to fast-growing scale-ups.

By giving you the tools to lead your company to the next stage of its development, the program will prepare you to face upcoming challenges related to scaling-up.

Together with IMD, this program has been built based on feedback from successful scale-ups, specifically to support the next-generation of fast growing tech companies.

After a first successful edition, gathering 14 founders from different industries, the feedback was such that Innovaud, as well as IMD, were convinced of the necessity of continuing this program.

By joining the program, you will be challenged by IMD professors, and seasoned entrepreneurs, as well as your peers in the program. You will also benefit from Innovaud’s broad network as well as a direct connection to the Scale Up Vaud community.



First, you will go through a 60-minute interview with an IMD professor, to get a sense of you and your firm’s development stage and challenges. This exchange will also confirm your scalability potential and founder motivation. Based on your needs, we will adapt the content and format of the LeadiNNg to Scale-Up program.


1 half-day of kick-off to get straight into the topic and get to know your peers. The goal of the program is to create a trustful group where you are confident to exchange and learn from each other.


Over 6 months, you will go through 10 sessions of 2-3 hours. Each session will be split in two parts: the first one will be covered by an IMD entrepreneurship professor and the other one by an experienced entrepreneur on the specific topic. The sessions will be hosted approximately every 3 weeks, in the evenings.  

NB: One of your co-founders should apply and be participating regularly in the program to enable deeper exchanges in the group. Nevertheless, if you can’t join all the sessions, you can bring another member of your team to some of them.   

Between sessions there will be “homework”, designed to take ideas and concepts deeper into your venture, and provide you with continuous practical feedback.


Once a month, you will be invited to the Scale Up Vaud networking events. 

Useful links

Scale Up Vaud


Download the flyer



Delivery mode

Depending on the sanitary situation, the program will take place physically at IMD Business School (Lausanne) or online.


  • The 2023 cohort is closed
  • The call for applications for the 2024 cohort will be launched end of August 2023 (TBC)

Admission criteria and process


We welcome founders of innovative tech companies, which have an international ambition to scale. Your company should employ at least 8 persons, have raised a significant Seed Round (>1 mio) and be planning a Series A (or have just closed it). The program is industry agnostic.


The selection is made based on the eligibility criteria and the interviews with IMD. We give priority to Vaud-based companies but we do encourage companies from elsewhere to apply. We will confirm your participation after selecting the complete class of participants. Based on the participants’ list you will be able to confirm or not your participation. Your admission will finally be confirmed after receipt of the payment.

The number of participants is limited to 20.



The main topics cover 3 pillars: leadership, organizational design and strategic scaling.

Making choices and managing growth:
Companies die when they run out of cash, no matter how good the tech is or how smart your founders are. They also die when they chase too many opportunities. As you make choices, what are the tradeoffs?  Finding product-market fit is crucial, but how many tries do you get at it? 

Reconciling scalability and sustainability:  
Today should anyone create a product or service that is environmentally unfriendly? Is it acceptable to scale a firm without being sustainable? Does your management of environmental and social issues help you to attract employees, customers and capital…. or does it hurt you?  In this session, we’ll explore why sustainability will be central for your scaling efforts and discuss some of the concrete actions you can take to seize the SDGs/ESG as an opportunity for your venture. 

YOU - Leading to scale:  
Ultimately it will be the quality of your leadership that determines your venture’s success. You have been a great founder; are you the right person to lead a team that is scaling up fast? How effectively are you and your co-founder(s) working together?

Scaling for customers:  
It is good that you already have traction with some customers, but has your firm “crossed the chasm” and engaged with mainstream, conservative customers? Are you ready for this? Should we go for further market penetration, new market development, new product development or even diversification? In this session, we’ll dive into understanding the value proposition that your current and future target customers are seeking and work on what expansion should look like for your firm.

You, Your Team and Scaling:
It is unlikely that you can scale without growing your team with the right people, and without a structure and culture that is aligned with your scale-up ambitions. This is the CEO and the top team’s responsibility; if done too fast you run out of money, done too slowly, you miss opportunities or incur burnout and never build a winning culture. Considering structures, processes, incentives, and strategy, we’ll discuss how you build a scalable organization.

Partnering for scale:
It is unlikely as a startup that you can or should be doing everything yourself. What do the best partnership practices look like? Which activities should you own, which should you control, and which should be done with a partner? How do you negotiate a sustainable and profitable relationship?

Strategy, Execution & Exit:  
At some point you may be considering an exit for your firm, the so-called liquidity event for your investors (and you).  Building a strategy to get there, and executing it, isn’t just a series of tasks and activities. It  requires rolling up your sleeves and working hard, but we need to be clear on the objective, how we create value along the way, and the steps needed to get to whatever that final moment is.

Building a Board that scales with your firm:
Presumably, you have a good Board, but is your Board composed of the people who can help you scale?  Does your Board have the right people, the right processes, and the right attitude for your next stage? How should you prepare for Board meetings?

Momentum and your scaling narrative:
You had a great pitch when you started. It brought you your first employees, customers, and investors. What is your story now?  When you started it was about survival, and the only metric was “how much cash do I have?”.  In this session, we’ll try to assure that your story matches the momentum that you’re building and that you have the OKRs, KPIs, or gut feeling needed to assure that you’re progressing as you want. 

Change leadership:  
Something in our previous sessions will likely require a change in your team, or even the need to help your customers change so that they can buy and use your product. In this session we’ll work on stakeholder management, influencing people that you have little power over, and understanding the psychology and process of change management, with you leading the change.  We’ll close this session, and the program with a graduation ceremony and dinner.

The majority of the above sessions are preceded by an informal 30-minute discussion on topics chosen by the class, and led by the class.  Examples have been customer segmentation, ESOPs, employee remuneration, and Board remuneration.

Exact order and dates will be communicated based on the speakers’ availability. Also, the final content will be dependent on the needs of the participants, learned through our interviews with you. Those topics are applicable to all industries. Should you have a doubt, don't hesitate to contact us!


  • Training with top IMD entrepreneurship professors and seasoned entrepreneurs
  • Access to a network of successful scale-ups and founders
  • Practical case studies with experts
  • Being part of a small community of ambitious founders
  • Certificate of completion recognized by Innovaud and IMD (NB: this diploma does not give you the status of IMD Alumni)


Upon completion you will receive an IMD scholarship voucher worth CHF 5'000.- towards any of IMD’s online or face-to-face open programs. This is a chance to explore a topic that we may have missed in this program, to provide development to a colleague, or to go even deeper into the topics of this program.

Next start and fees

The program starts in January 2023 and ends in June 2023.

Fees: CHF 9’900.-  

Innovaud may provide a scholarship of 50% of the fee (CHF 4950.-) for a limited number of Vaud-based compagnies who might have cashflow challenges and might otherwise not be able to afford the fee. Interested candidates should send an email to charlotte.ducrot@innovaud.ch explaining why they would like to be considered for the scholarship.

Take your company to the next stage.

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