Students interested in developing their business ideas have an on-campus opportunity this summer. The Auburn University Summer Accelerator, housed within the Auburn Research Park, is an intensive eight-week program (June 3-August 7) that provides students with the tools and resources needed to develop and launch new business ventures.
“Students will receive a combination of classroom instruction, coaching and mentoring in a structured process for validating that their business idea meets a need in the marketplace and validating that there are people out there willing to buy that product,” said Lou Bifano, Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy at the Harbert College of Business. “In eight weeks, we compress the amount of time it takes to provide them with a set of learning experiences to try to minimize the mistakes they might make and to increase the probability that they are going to be successful in launching a business.”
Successful graduates of the Accelerator include Snippety Snap, which won $1,200 last November at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards regional competition in Birmingham, and the past two Tiger Cage student business pitch competition winners -- ESCAPE Therapy and Flashtract. Last month, Flashtract won $50,000 at the Auburn Regional Alabama Launchpad, and also competed at eFest – which invites 25 of the top collegiate entrepreneurship teams in the nation.
Student teams selected into the program will attend lectures, meetings and workshops, and receive valuable mentorship from Auburn faculty, entrepreneurs-in-residence, seasoned entrepreneurs and technology experts, all with the goal of learning how to develop their startup ideas into viable, scalable new business ventures.
The program is designed for very early-stage ventures, however, applicants are expected to have a well-defined business concept, including a plan for achieving financial sustainability.
Participants will receive a stipend of $1,500 per student limited to $4,500 per team.
- Teams with more than three members will need to divide the stipend between the members.
- Stipend payments will be distributed at approximately the program’s halfway point and upon completion of the program, providing the participants remain actively engaged and the team is progressing toward the required number of customer interviews.
How it Works
The program begins with a five-day “boot camp.” Following this boot camp, the full cohort meets every Monday for training. Check-ins with assigned mentors take place on Tuesdays. Pitch practice takes place every Wednesday. Cohort progress reviews take place on Fridays. Participants must be available to attend all sessions, as well as the final showcase event. A key component of this lean startup-based program is “customer discovery.” Participants will be expected to interview at least 100 potential customers during the course of the program.
How to Apply
Students currently enrolled in any Auburn University degree program are eligible to participate, as well as students graduating in the current year. For more information and application materials, contact Lou Bifano, Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy at the Harbert College of Business at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application period closes on April 30. Teams will be notified of a decision no later than May 10.