Starting from a grassroots initiative to make entrepreneurship much
more accessible to undergraduates, we're launching a program that
will help you turn your idea into an awesome startup.
Starting September 14, 30 students will assemble into teams and spend their next 10 weekends building their ideas together into formidable business plans. Web applications, innovative products, services - if it makes for a scalable venture, it goes.
How do we do it? Just three things:
We're dedicating an entire workspace just for teams to work, collaborate, and bounce ideas off each other. Teams get a community to encourage each other and a place to call home.
Workshops on lean principles, peer teaching, individualized team deliverables - you name it, we've got it. The path to success isn't easy, but at least you'll start off with a roadmap.
Veterans entrepreneurs, business developers, specialists. They've been there. They've done that. And they're all passionate to see what you can become.
Students are expected to be self-directed and self-motivated. The program serves to provide direction and resources, not babysitting services. This is not an easy road to take, but it will be incredibly fulfilling.
If you think you have what it takes to build your own startup, let us know and we'll get back to you as soon as we're ready.
Is this a course?
No, this is not a course and thus will not count towards course credit. It is not an official program sponsored by the Institute and will in no way be recognized on your transcripts or degree.
What are the requirements/qualifications for this program?
Participants from any school or major at Georgia Tech may apply. For this semester, only undergraduates may apply.The only prerequisite for this program is a burning passion to do things differently. It is strongly encouraged that student teams be able to demonstrate sufficient expertise to carry through their idea.
Why do I need this program?
Startups who go through incubators have been known to stay in business for a longer term, raise more VC/seed funding, and have a higher rate of success than those who don't. They also have more fun because they're surrounded by like-minded people who come together and create a close-knit network of individuals who want to accomplish great things.
Who is Startup Semester affiliated with?
We are affiliated with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the Undergraduate Studies Office. We are additionally supported by the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Institute of Leadership and Entrepreneurship. We are also good friends with Enterprise2Empower and their Innovation Academy.
What will I get?
A dedicated workspace area only for Startup Semester teams, access to a network of veteran entrepreneurship mentors, group collaboration software, community books, guest speakers, and food every weekend.
When do we meet? What happens during meetings?
Startup Semester provides dedicated meeting space from Friday evenings to Sunday night. We will have mandatory Friday evening meetings from 6-8pm. During these meetings, we will be hosting speakers, doing team showcases, presenting lecture material, potentially bring in investors, and otherwise socialize with each other. We provide SS-er's exclusive access to the meeting space for the rest of the weekend so that they may work on projects. Note that not all guest speakers will be available friday nights and may therefore be scheduled for another evening of the week.
Who are the mentors?
We are still currently in the process of finalizing our network of mentors. We will update the website and inform everyone on the mailing list as soon as this is available. We only invite mentors with real world experience in entrepreneurship of any industry. We source many of our mentors from ATDC as well as from the Atlanta startup community.
What role do the mentors play?
Mentors will assist teams keep pace according to their goals and share their experience. They may additionally provide benchmarks, advise on strategy or product development, and perhaps introduce you to their connections.
What is expected of me?
Participants are expected to contribute to their team to the best of their ability, meet deliverables assigned by their team, and continuously strive for optimism and good old fashioned hard work. Teams and individuals are selected on their proposed ideas as well as the perceived ability of the team and/or individual to accomplish the proposals.
I have external sources of funding. Can I still apply?
Definitely but we will evaluate your situation on a case-by-case basis. See below for issues with intellectual property.
How big can my team be?
Teams typically consist of up to 3-4 individuals. Larger teams may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.
What if I don't have a team or idea?
We typically find that a startup is too much work for just one person. However, if you have the skill set and drive, by all means we would love to have you. While you do not need to have an idea you must still demonstrate tangible strengths such that once you are inspired for one, you can start to make that idea a reality.
Am I allowed to have more than one idea?
Absolutely. However we do encourage applicants to think about their ideas carefully before submitting them blindly. Having fewer, but better developed ideas/concepts demonstrates conviction behind the ideas and will help the applicant in the selection process.
What if my idea isn't completely entrepreneurial in nature?
We make all applicants list their intended goals in their application. These goals may include entering future competitions or could be benchmarks applicants set for themselves to gauge their own productivity. We want to help great ideas come to fruition and we're all ears.
Does my idea have to be technical?
I have a great technical idea but I'm not a technical founder. Do I have a chance? Can you help me find one?
You do have a chance but you would need to find a technical founder yourself. You would need to clearly define your role as more than just the ideator.
My idea will require a lot of money to create. Can you help?
Sorry, Startup Semester does not provide funding. We do however, help teams become more competent and thus raise their chances for seed and/or VC funding.
I don't want others to steal my idea! What should I do?
We encourage you to read this: http://www.paulgraham.com/start.html
Who owns any IP that may have been created in the course of this program?
As long as your project/venture isn't sponsored by an external entity (by Coca-Cola for instance), the entirety of the venture belongs solely to you. We will also make mentors sign a Participation Agreement to make sure they understand their roles, responsibilities, and entitlement to any sort of equity or stake on any IP.
Will this help make me more competitive for grad school/business school/etc?
Probably. But if that's your sole motivation, this program may not be the best "fit" for you. This is a program for people who want to achieve results not resume-build.
I want to be a part of Startup Semester's administrative committee and join the movement!
Awesome! Message us with your story and what you'd like to help us with.