About the Summer Fellowship
The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Summer Fellowship is a competitive 10-week program for Yale’s most promising student startups. An intensive bootcamp, the fellowship helps students launch and grow their new business ventures with an award of $15,000 in grant funding to wholly dedicate their summers to learning and launching their business, imparting crucial skills, tactics, and best practices in business fundamentals, and connecting teams to experienced mentors and investors in YEI’s extensive network to advise, guide, and fund their progress.
Ventures selected for one of 10 fellowships receive:
- $15,000 in grant funding
- Eligibility to apply for up to $100,000 in follow-on funding from the Yale Innovation Fund
- 3-5 dedicated mentors in their field of business
- Training in lean startup methodology and essential business skills
- Access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and investors
- Breakfast and lunch during the 10 weeks
- And more!
Since 2007, the YEI Fellowship has incubated more than 70 student ventures from across Yale University, representing founders from more than 6 schools. YEI ventures have raised $79.5M in investment funding and created over 300 new jobs.
WHO IT’S FOR
Any current undergraduate or graduate Yale student with a vision for a new venture is eligible to apply for the YEI Summer Fellowship, including students graduating in May.
In particular, we’re looking for teams who want to make a big impact—the program is geared toward scalable ideas with high-growth potential. While past fellows have tackled problems in virtually every industry, from web and e-commerce to cleantech and education to retail and food, they all have been wholly dedicated to launching their new business venture. Historically, YEI fellows have entered the program in every stage of venture creation, from those with revenue and customers to those with a well-defined business concept—the uniting factor is that they are able to provide compelling evidence that they are solving a real customer need.
We invite any current student who is looking to make a big impact by launching a new venture to read more about applying.
The Summer Fellowship is not your typical summer experience. This competitive program is for students who are serious about launching and growing a new business venture—the full-time bootcamp runs from May 21-July 25, 2014, and student fellows are expected to be present, engaged, and making progress on their startup in the YEI Incubator throughout that entire time. As such, students sign an agreement upon acceptance of the fellowship acknowledging their commitments to their ventures and the program.
By the end of the summer, which culminates in a Demo Day on Yale’s campus, ventures are expected to progress (with YEI’s support) to the point where they are able to launch a product, generate revenue, and/or raise funding to grow their business. Click here to read about some of the past fellows’ success.
There are three major components of the summer fellowship. The first is mastering the essential business fundamentals required to successfully launch a new business venture. Over the summer, YEI condenses a year’s worth of study in the lean startup methodology and crucial business skills and tactics for launching new startups. In addition to attending workshops, fellows also meet with speakers, primarily successful entrepreneurs and investors, who share their experience and lessons learned. In addition, the fellows visit startups in New Haven, Boston, and New York, to connect with practicing founders and experience first-hand the paths that startups can take. This focus on learning is integral to the YEI summer fellowship experience.
In addition to absorbing as much as possible in the classroom, the majority of the summer is spent in actually applying that learning to their new venture. Since no startup comes in fully formed, the most successful teams spend long hours relentlessly trying new tactics, learning from the outcomes, and iterating to improve. Fellowship teams must be self-motivated and driven to launch their ventures in as strong a position as possible, and necessarily spend their summers balancing learning with building out their product, meetings with customers, mentors, advisors, and potential funders, developing a robust business strategy, and more.
The final and most lasting component of the fellowship is active participation in the Yale entrepreneurial community. Not only are YEI fellows exposed to a growing network of Yale entrepreneurs and investors via introductions and pitch sessions, each cohort is also working alongside a select group of like-minded Yale student entrepreneurs who are dedicated to building great startups and who have all been “in the trenches” together. Each year’s class shares learning, connections, feedback, and skills/expertise, but they also are some of one another’s biggest cheerleaders.
The program begins in March with semi-regular meetings to jumpstart the learning of crucial startup fundamentals and to connect fellows with mentors and advisors. Fellows are expected to attend all program meetings in the spring and summer, and to be based in New Haven during the full-time summer program.
A schedule of the 2014 program spring commitments is below:
March 26, 6-8pm - Orientation
April 4, 1-3pm - Workshop
April 11, 12-5pm - Workshop
April 16, 5-8pm - Mentor Open House
April 25, 1-3pm - Workshop
May 21-July 25: Full-time program in New Haven (including speakers, receptions, and daytrips to external locations)