Are you a student entrepreneur with an idea for a project or business but no way to fund it? Then Get Seeded is for you.
Get Seeded is a new initiative at the University of Connecticut. It is coordinated by the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) in partnership with the Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UConn Libraries, Innovation Quest and the Management Department and is designed to promote student entrepreneurship and innovation on campus, according to the program’s flyer.
Noah Sobel-Pressman, a third-semester business management major and a Werth Innovator with the Werth Institute, explained the importance of a program like Get Seeded.
“The problem we’re trying to solve at UConn is that we want to make sure that people are able to join entrepreneurship and to try entrepreneurship with as little barriers as possible,” Sobel-Pressman said. “There’s a lot of great programs at UConn, but the problem is that in order to be ready for those programs, you need to be a pretty developed start-up, and there’s no way to help you get there.”
Get Seeded is designed to help bridge the gap between starting a business or creative project and entering the competitive market.
“This is something that you don’t necessarily need experience for,” Priscilla Ly, a third-semester pre-pharmacy major and Werth Innovator with the Werth Institute, said. “We’re trying to help you in any way that we can to get your start up going.”
Similarly, Get Seeded is open to students from a variety of disciplines.
“It doesn’t matter what field you’re going into, there’s always a way to apply entrepreneurial thinking to it,” Soble-Pressman said. “And it’s not just entrepreneurship, it’s innovation also. Every job that you work in can have some innovation that can help make your job more efficient.”
Director of the Werth Institute and professor in the department of management David Noble and Program Manager of the CCEI Jennifer Murphy got the idea for Get Seeded from the University of Utah program of the same name. This name comes from the idea that you’re not only applying for seed money, but that you’re fostering an idea from a seed into a finished product, according to Soble-Pressman.
Student teams can apply for up to $1,000 to fund their idea. Students should complete the online application, available on the CCEI website by Nov. 14. Get Seeded organizers will review applications and invite about ten teams to present their idea pitch at the Get Seeded Pitch Event on Monday, Nov. 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the School of Business Boardroom.
The Pitch Event is open to all students regardless of whether or not they are selected to pitch.
At the Pitch Event, teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges made up of students and two venture capitalists, David D’Angelo of Venturewell and Peter Barkman of Palmu. These two venture capitalists invest in businesses to help them grow and will use their knowledge about entrepreneurship and innovation to help student presenters.
Ly spoke about what the judges are looking for in the student pitches.
“If your project is anything regarding science, technology, arts, any field whatsoever, we want to be able to have your project be heard. Judges want to see that there’s a spark in this type of project that can be pushed forward.”
Ly stressed that the judges will focus on the idea behind the pitch and whether this idea is feasible.
These pitches comprise of a five-minute PowerPoint presentation and a three-minute question and answer session which rotates between the judges and the audience. The audience will ultimately vote and determine who they think should win the money.
Sobel-Pressman stressed this element of audience participation. After the pitches, audience members will be able to network with presenters and offer to work with presenters on their projects, according to Sobel-Pressman. While watching the presenters, they may also be inspired to work on their own idea, as well.
If students cannot meet the Nov. 14 deadline, they will have more opportunities to apply in the future. Get Seeded will have three pitch application opportunities next semester and hopes to eventually take applications on a rolling basis and have Pitch Events monthly, according to Soble-Pressman.
Alexis Taylor is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.