We are pleased to announce that applications are now open to a new Syracuse University Libraries Innovation Fund coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars in Bird Library. Funding will be available annually to graduate and undergraduate students through an application process guided by the LaunchPad with campus innovation ecosystem partners. Applications are being accepted on an open rolling basis based on funding availability and monthly reviews.
Merit/milestone-based grants of up to $2,500 per award may be awarded per application, with deliverables due within six months of the award. Students or teams may apply multiple times for evolving needs, but no individual student or team may receive more than $5,000 through the program. Awards are limited to one per team per semester. The team leader must be a full-time student, undergraduate, or graduate level, who is currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree program at Syracuse University. Students may be a member of only one team.
Applications should be focused on a specifically defined need over a clear timeframe, with identified outcomes that will help move an idea closer to proof of concept. Permitted uses of funds are for tangible needs related to the development of a product, service or technology, regulatory or compliance consulting, prototyping costs (including purchase of materials and fabrication), professional (legal and accounting) services related to incorporation, direct costs associated with IP protection, legal costs for specialized contract work, third party testing and certification, or other costs deemed critical per the review committee comprised of members of Syracuse University’s innovation ecosystem.
Costs such as marketing, sales, business development, advertising, travel or ongoing costs such as website hosting and cloud services are not eligible. The fund does not support salaries for team members.
Applicants must complete an application form and submit a one-page business executive summary on template provided by LaunchPad@syr.edu. Please e-mail us to request the application form which is open to LaunchPad members. If you are not yet a member, please join here.
The application includes a project narrative, milestones, and budget. Proposals will be reviewed monthly by an interdisciplinary university innovation team against the following selection criteria:
- Innovative product, service or technology that holds the potential to make a meaningful impact;
- A sound business model and product development roadmap;
- Expected outcomes, such as the potential to position the venture to compete in business plan competitions, attract external investment, or move an idea to market;
- Reasonable budget, and demonstration that this award will have an impact on the venture’s roadmap;
- Proposed match, or ability to use this award to leverage other funding, if applicable;
- Qualifications and strength of project team
- Engagement with the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at SU Libraries
Initial seed funding came from Jeffrey Rich ’67 (College of Law), partner at Rich Michaelson Magaliff LLP, and a member of the Syracuse University Libraries Advisory Board, who made a multi-year pledge of $25,000 per year for five years to Syracuse University Libraries. The total pledge of $125,000 will help students pursue business startup ventures with the LaunchPad team at SU Libraries and will help students move ideas from concept through research and discovery to proof and commercialization.
“I wanted to contribute in a way that directly supports students’ new ventures and removes any obstacles to startup development,” Rich says.
“This is a significant funding opportunity to grow entrepreneurship and innovation broadly across campus,” said David Seaman, University Librarian and dean of the Syracuse University Libraries. “In fact, I believe this is the first campus-wide non-equity funding opportunity available to all students at Syracuse. These grants remove the barriers to growth for student ventures, while allowing students to maintain complete ownership of their business.”
The application and grant distribution process is being managed by the LaunchPad at SU Libraries. For more information and application materials, please e-mail: LaunchPad@syr.edu