Top ten reasons to join the LaunchPad in 2021

2020 was a long year.  Congratulations on getting through it.  Now it’s on to 2021. With the semester starting later, there is no reason you can’t get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolutions to start or learn something new, network with inspiring people, or be part of a dynamic community.  In fact, we can give you ten good reasons to join the LaunchPad in 2021. We’re open virtually over break, so jump in, connect, build your personal and professional portfolio and have some fun.  Read on to learn the top ten reasons to join, then take that first step and click here.

1. You want to meet people and find a mentor

Connecting with like-minded students is the first great reason to join the LaunchPad.  But right up there is connecting with a network of smart people who can mentor you personally and professionally. Our mentor program is the best reason to be part of the LaunchPad.  Everyone could use a mentor and we have great students and alumni in this program who love helping other students.  We are a truly connected community that lives by our mantra to #GiveFirst. And this year, we plan to expand our network to 500 mentors. (So actually, that’s 500 reasons to join.)

2. You have an idea

You’ve been thinking about something you can’t get out of your head.  You think it might be a good idea.  Maybe it’s even a potential business.  But you don’t know if that’s true or not unless you start to explore it a little more and you don’t want to do that alone.  You’d like to test it out, get some feedback, talk to some experts and maybe even try it out in a no-stress, low-risk environment.  You could use a good listener. You could use a sherpa to guide you on the path.

3. You don’t have an idea, but you would love to explore the world of startups

If you’re planning ahead beyond graduation, you should know that there are more startup jobs for college graduates than ever before.  There was a 41% increase in new business applications in the final week of 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the Census Bureau’s Formation Statistics.  There will be more new jobs in startups than in any point in history, and those ventures are looking for employees who understand startup culture.  Plus, if you find you love the startup world, you could end up being part of something that hits it big.

4.  You don’t have an idea but you might want to join another team that is doing something cool

It’s a myth that you need your own idea or your own company to be part of the LaunchPad.  Honestly, there are so many great LaunchPad ventures who are looking for you.  They are craving your hustle. We can help connect you with amazing student founders who would be thrilled to have you on their team.  Plus, the upside of being involved in the student startup world is learning skillsets you could never learn in a classroom, while also having a big impact on a small team.  Whether you stay or move on beyond the team, you’ll be building a portfolio of experience that sets you apart.

5. You want to learn some new skills

Let’s face it.  Gen Z (that’s you) is entering a gig economy.  Like it or not, you need to be entrepreneurial whether it’s balancing side gigs with regular jobs that can ebb and flow, managing change, changing careers, charting a path to upward mobility and financial sustainability, balancing your creative skills with some business skills, or just being better prepared to chase opportunity wherever you see it and whenever you want to.  You are your own brand.  Guess what?  Only 5% of our LaunchPad graduates actually start a venture after graduation, but 100% of them chase the life and career of their dreams.  We teach them the soft skills sets that go into doing that.  You don’t have to want to start a company to learn startup thinking skills like problem solving, opportunity identification, planning and personal resilience that will serve you well throughout your life. The only way to learn those skills are through real life experiences.

6. You want to build your resume and get hired by an innovation company

Our LaunchPad members come from every campus program, which means we have engineers, software developers, designers, digital content creators, biz and finance gurus, visual and performing artists, foodies, policy experts, big thinkers and so much more.  They are united by one thing – a desire to innovate and create.  They are the kind of people that leading innovation companies want to hire first.  They know that building something in college, competing in campus competitions, and work in real life teams are incredible value propositions on a resume.  It’s why folks like Richard Branson and companies like Deloitte Innovation hire them first.  Absolutely true. Our LaunchPad alumni work there.

7. You have an idea that is ready for acceleration

You’re one of the 5% who really wants to build something yourself.  Maybe you even have an MVP.  Maybe you’re looking to build traction and get to market and start to scale. You’d like to connect with a program like the LaunchPad & Techstars global network.  You’re ready to be part of an ecosystem that you can leverage and more rapidly accelerate your venture idea.  You want to build in months instead of years.  After graduation you want to get into a world class accelerator.  You want to pitch your idea to investors.  You want to make this thing real.  And you need a roadmap and mentors from a globally connected network to do it.  We’re your team to help you incubate now to get ready for launch and acceleration.

8. You are looking for funding for your idea

Raising early-stage capital is hard.  But not impossible.  We can prepare you for financing by working you through our Investment Ready Roadmap.  We’ll help you understand what investors are looking for and get you ready to answer the tough questions about value proposition, path to market, competitive landscape, costs and revenue projections, and what your business will need to get to scale. We do this extremely well.  Take a look at our stats.  Your chances of winning significant business competitions and raising seed capital increase if you are part of our program.

9. You enjoy an insanely creative environment and competition

Jumping fully into the LaunchPad is an unparalleled creative experience that is intense in the best possible way.  Techstars has a saying, “Do More Faster” and we live it.  It’s amazing what you can do with this kind of wrap- around support system working with you.  You’ll get back as much as you put in.  If you are laid back, you’ll get some of the benefits.  But if you have the heart, head and hustle for the startup world, you’ll be part of a community that can leapfrog you.  Even better, you’ll go through this experience with other startups. You’ll learn from each other.  And you’ll gain friends for life.  Nothing else compares. Our LaunchPad alumni tell us that it was part of their quintessential SU experience. 

10. Other students and alumni say it is AWESOME

We’re not kidding.  Talk to our alumni, many of whom stay engaged with us either as ventures or mentors.  When we say “LaunchPad for Life” we mean it.  You are part of our circle forever. And there is no better place to be.

Photo caption: Syracuse University student in Bird Library participating in the LaunchPad’s Call for Code Hackathon with IBM.