Apply now for the LaunchPad Summer 2021 Fellowship program

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College students are facing unprecedented challenges around job and internship prospects, as well as launching ventures. Despite an economic downtown, the pandemic has fueled explosive growth in ecommerce, new marketplaces, virtual community building and technology solutions. Innovators are seizing this to solve problems and chase opportunities.  To encourage promising collegiate startups, the LaunchPad is accepting applications through April 27 for a Summer Fellowship open to 50 student founders across the network.  Each founding team will be awarded $5,000 in non-dilutive grant funding to support their time working on advancing technology ventures.

The Fellowship is largely self-driven, but will include weekly skill-development workshops, goal setting, and peer and professional networking opportunities, as well as reporting requirements and regular check-ins with their LaunchPad campus director. The Fellowship is open to all current students (graduate and undergraduate) of LaunchPad network schools as well as 2020 or 2021 graduates.

Application link:

Key Dates:

  • Applications close: April 27
  • Students notified of selection: May 10
  • External team announcement: May 17
  • Fellowship runs June 14 -August 6

Upon receipt of final report, program deliverables, and completed financial documentation, payments will be issued in August 2021

Application Criteria

The primary applicant must:

  • Be a current student (undergraduate level, graduate level) OR 2020 / 2021 graduate enrolled at LaunchPad university.
  • Be a lead founder / co-founder of the venture.
  • Be self-motivated and driven to complete work independently and with minimal oversight.
  • Have well-defined, quantifiable S.M.A.R.T. goals and milestones to be completed within the 8 week period of the fellowship.
  • Ge past the idea-stage and ideally have a pitch deck, executive summary, a logo, a website, social media accounts (Ex; LinkedIn and Twitter). Other activities that we consider to be “past” the idea stage include: working on a prototype, working on customer discovery, or building a business model.
  • Have some form of traction e.g. early sales, MOUs, funding raised, customer interest, user base, etc.
  • Have demonstrated leadership in both executing on business or program operations and galvanizing support.
  • Have experience working with mentors or advisors, integrating feedback into their venture, and demonstrating coachability.
  • Be able to complete and fulfill all required duties as posed by the Fellowship and dedicate 3-4 hours per week on Fellowship meetings and deliverables.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be judged based on the quality of their 60 second video pitch, articulation of realistic goals and milestones, quality and detail of the proposal narrative, description of next steps following the Fellowship, and need statement. Special consideration will also be given to ensure selected companies represent the diversity of the LaunchPad network. Please note that feedback on applications will not be available due to the large amount of applications received.

There will be special consideration given to diverse leadership and/or founding teams.

Fellowship Grant:

$5,000 will be awarded to fellowship participants to support financial needs during the program period. It should be noted that grants are issued after all deliverables are completed for program participation by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Grant processing will be coordinated with Future Founders. Grants are issued in August 2021 after all required documentation and paperwork is received by Future Founders. Payments will be issued during August 2021 assuming all documentation is complete.

Fellowship Structure:

As with a typical Fellowship, this initiative is largely self-directed and independent of a strict curriculum. Because of this, it is critical that applicants have demonstrated the ability to work independently with little guidance or structure. Despite this format, the Fellowship will include a number of programmatic elements:

  • Program kickoff call, initial skills assessment survey
  • Regular calls and activities
    • Workshop series
    • Peer Community and Ecosystem Building Social events
  • Weekly goal tracking
  • Start, mid, and final check-ins with LaunchPad Directors
  • Final program survey and skills assessment survey

Fellowship Requirements: All participants must…

  • Clearly define and track goals and objectives for the Fellowship.
    • Track progress towards these goals on a weekly basis
  • Participate in at least 3 workshops.
    • If selected, designated Fellows must fulfill the workshop and community engagement requirements, but they are allowed to encourage other co-founders to participate in addition.
  • Participate in a program kickoff call.
  • Complete a final survey detailing their work in the Fellowship, results and next steps.
  • Fulfill the marketing and promotional obligations of the Fellowship.
  • Meet with their Campus Director at least 3 times during the program and review goal tracking progress.

Workshop Topics and Tentative Dates:

  • Onboarding: June 15
  • Workshop 1: June 22
  • Social 1: June 24
  • Workshop 2: June 29
  • Workshop 3: July 6
  • Trivia: July 8
  • Workshop 4: July 13
  • Workshop 5: July 20
  • Social 3: July 22
  • Workshop 6: July 27
  • Completion Call: August 3

Other Resources:

For a look at our past Fellowship, you can view the Fall 2020 Lookbook HERE or read our Summer 2020 Fellowship Wrap-Up Blog

About the organizers:

What is the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative?

The Foundation focuses its efforts in targeted regions of interest to the firm, and works closely with local stakeholders to build programs and make grants to support entrepreneurs. These programs foster networks and provide resources like mentorship, content, and events, to help entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.

What is Techstars?

The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,400 companies with a combined market cap of more than $204B.

What is Future Founders?

Future Founders believes every youth can become an entrepreneur. We were created to foster inclusion in the entrepreneurial community and to seed diverse founders into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For 18 to 30-year-olds across the country, Future Founders offers various business accelerators to help them create and scale ventures across all industries. Our methodology focuses on pairing a strong peer community of like-minded entrepreneurs with intensive coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs. We bring together dozens of universities, incubators, community organizations, and businesses to provide a dynamic suite of services for young founders.

We have three main programs: Startup Bootcamp, the Fellowship, and U.Pitch. Startup Bootcamp is a crash course in “Startup 101” designed to help underestimated and underrepresented 18 to 30-year-olds turn their idea, passion, or side hustle into a business. The Fellowship is a prestigious year-long cohort designed to support young entrepreneurs from across the country grow and lead sustainable companies. And U.Pitch is a national elevator pitch competition where collegiate entrepreneurs showcase their business ideas for a chance at glory and a cash prize. Together, these programs offer young entrepreneurs at any stage the opportunity to scale their impact. In fact, founders in our Fellowship program have generated $32.8 million in revenue, raised $34.9 million in capital, and created 543 jobs over the last four years alone. Visit the Future Founders website to learn more today!