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. Students who enroll in our for-credit New Venture Practicum course or Terp Startup summer accelerator are called "Fearless Founders," a designation that opens exclusive access to seed funding opportunities and our strong mentor network.
New Venture Practicum
Fearless Founders “New Venture Practicum” is a for-credit course offered in the spring semester. It is cross-listed in Testudo as permission-only BMGT468R/ENES498R. The Fearless Founders course will include regular class meetings once a week plus several advising sessions. Classes take place on Mondays from 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in Van Munching Hall. You will also be required to complete a final presentation.
We accept about 20 students every spring. Upon completion of the program, students from the New Venture Practicum class will be eligible for seed funding.
Criteria for Students Wishing to Qualify for New Venture Practicum
In order to apply directly to the New Venture Practicum Cohort, you will need to demonstrate the following criteria:
- I have completed the New Venture Practicum interest form.
- I have attended a Dingman Jumpstart session.
- I have interviewed at least 30 potential customers and conducted initial market research. From this research and interviews I have validated the following:
1. My initial target customer identifies with the problem I am solving.
2. My initial target customers are interested in the solution I am developing to the problem.
3. My solution has unique value proposition compared to existing alternatives.
Terp Startup is a summer accelerator program that helps student entrepreneurs make progress on their startup for eight weeks in the summer in lieu of an internship. At the end of the summer program, students should have: made substantial progress on their product of service; secured or increased initial customers and partners; have the ability to make the "go/no-go" decision based on metrics and market indicators. We accept about 10 student startups into each cohort. Those selected for Terp Startup will receive:
- A cash stipend up to $5,000.
- Ongoing advising with an assigned board of venture mentors.
- Access to exclusive workshops, a co-working space and other useful resources.
Candidates for Terp Startup Accelerator
- Student entrepreneurs who have completed milestones from the New Venture Practicum stage by developing an MVP and acquiring initial customers.
- Students who want to spend a summer executing on customer acquisition.
- Students who have not completed Dingman Jumpstart or New Venture Practicum may apply. These students must have conducted initial customer discovery.
- Make data driven decisions about the next stage of their business.
- Determine the metrics that matter, test assumptions, build market awareness and acquire/retain initial customers.
- Leverage Dingman Center network and resources for accounting, tax, funding, IP and legal advice.