Fearless Founders

Commit. Create. Collaborate. Connect.

The Fearless Founders program guides student ventures from idea to launch. Using lean startup methodology, you'll learn the strategy, frameworks and tools necessary to develop your business idea. This experiential program demystifies the venture creation process by breaking it up into three stages (Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup), each with its goals and deliverables.

Now accepting applications for the Spring 2014 Idea Shell and Spring 2014 Hatch cohorts. 

Upon successful completion of each stage, student startups are eligible to receive seed funding.

  • Idea Shell Cohort: $500 in seed funding
  • Hatch Cohort: up to $1,500 in seed funding

How to Enroll for Idea Shell

Idea Shell is currently not-for-credit. This stage of the program will run Wednesdays, 2/12 - 4/23, with the announcements of grants on Thursday, 5/1. There will be seven workshops, two events, and a final presentation required for the program.

We accept about 20 students each semester. Upon completion of the program, ten students from the Idea Shell stage will be eligible for a $500 Capital One seed-stage grant. 

  • We recommend you attend an Innovation Fridays session before applying. 

  • The application deadline for Spring 2014 has passed. Email Rebecca Thorman at rthorman@rhsmith.umd.edu for more information. 

How to Enroll for Hatch

Hatch is a for-credit course. It is cross-listed in Testudo as permission-only BMGT458R/ENES498R. The Hatch course will include regular class meetings once a week plus several advising sessions. Workshops will run from 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Fridays, 1/31 - 5/9 in Van Munching Hall. You will also be required to complete a final presentation.

We accept about 20 students each semester. Upon completion of the program, ten students from the Hatch stage will be eligible for a $1,500 Capital One seed-stage grant. 

  • We recommend you complete the first stage of Fearless Founders, Idea Shell, before requesting approval to take the course. 
  • To request approval for the Fearless Founders - Hatch stage, email Rebecca Thorman, rthorman@rhsmith.umd.edu

Five Icons of The Academy

The 3 Stages

Stage 1: Idea Shell 
Focus: Create & Assess
Length: 1-3 months 
Learn more »
Stage 2: Hatch
Focus: Build & Test 
Length: 1-6 months 
Learn more »
Stage 3: Terp Startup
Focus: Execute & Iterate
Length: 1-6 months 
Learn more »