ST. CLOUD -- A series of classes on how to groom an idea into a scaleable business are launching in St. Cloud.

The Lean Startup School, funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, will teach participants how to create a marketable product or service and build a business around it.

The program, co-sponsored by venture fund Great North Labs and startup incubator ILT Studios, is an effort to bring startup education to under-served regions in the upper Midwest.

The first class, "Customer Driven Innovation," will teach the initial methods on taking a good idea, and making it a better one, says Nick Tietz, CEO of ILT Studios.

"It doesn't have to be a full idea," Tietz said. "It just has to be something they're interested in working on. It could be a problem, or they might have an idea about something that needs to be fixed or changed. Or, they might see an opportunity in the market. That's what we want people to walk into the room with, and we will help sharpen that idea."

Tietz says participants aren't required to arrive with a completely buttoned-up business idea.

"What most people don't realize is that ideas don't come out fully-formed," Tietz explained. "They come out half-baked. They come out quarter-baked. They don't always come out the right way. There is a bona fide process to refine and sharpen your idea, and get it into a spot where you could potentially build a startup."

Tietz says individuals who complete the Lean Startup School will be eligible for private funding to actually bring their businesses to market.

Lean Startup School will be held in two Saturday sessions at the St. Cloud State Welcome Center: 9:00-11:30 a.m. and  1:00-3:30 p.m. Registration is still open and is free. For more, visit their website.