Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free Duke student help for your startup idea

Do you have an idea for a startup? Or an innovative technology that might be the foundation for a startup? We'd like to invite you to consider entering your startup idea or technology for consideration in our Program for Entrepreneurs.


What is the Program for Entrepreneurs

The Program for Entrepreneurs is a program that let's Duke students receive course credit for their work on starting a company.  Students can receive credit for up to two years, and work through a sequence of courses that takes them through the business planning process. The "lead students" tend to be Duke MBA students, and the rest of the team is comprised of other MBA students, graduate students, and undergraduate students. This spring, we have approximately 50 students that have applied to be considered for this program.


What role is there for us?

This email serves as a Call for Startup Ideas. Hopefully you are someone that has developed a technology or startup idea and are in need of business help. The students in the Program for Entrepreneurs can be matched with an idea (they can also select their own idea).


In addition to a general Call for Startup Ideas, you may have received this email from one of our partners: Duke's Office of Licensing and Ventures, NC State's Office of Technology Transfer, UNC's Office of Technology and Development, the NC Biotechnology Center, Square 1 Bank, Southeast TechInventures, and other sources of startup ideas have offered to help find ideas for the program.


How to Participate

If you participate, a description of your technology/innovation would be made available to students and, starting July 1st, they will evaluate it along with the others that are submitted. Last year we had approximately 30 ideas submitted, and we expect a similar number this year.


From July 1 to July 24, the interested students will let us know which ideas they are interested in, and we will setup informational calls for them to be in touch with you.  On July 24th, they will select their ideas and will pitch their startup concept to our Advisory group.


From August to October, they will continue to refine the business case for the startup idea, and in mid-October, they will present a pitch for our Advisory group.  We will select the top 8 startup teams, who will then enroll in the course.



We are looking for specific situations that will lend themselves well to this program.

1) We are looking for situations where there is a strong need for the development of a business case and business model, but the technology/idea has achieved some amount of proof of concept. Often this looks like technical co-founders who are experts in the industry, but may not be experts on the business side of things.

2) In addition, we are looking for situations where the founders are open to the possibility of having some of the Duke students join the team, assuming everything goes well.  In the ideal situation, after two years of working on the project, the Duke students will be able to join the company and receive equity participation that is a win-win for all parties.


Next steps:

If interested, please apply here by June 30th: 


-Howie Rhee

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