Today The Mill, a nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced a statewide expansion of Startup Summer, its program that pays collegiate entrepreneurs to spend 10 weeks building their own companies.
Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming at The Mill, described the program as “a chance to spend the summer interning for yourself.” “Instead of spending the summer making coffee and copies for another company,” he said, “these students can make progress building their own businesses. We tailor our support to whatever they need and introduce them to other founders, investors, and experts who can help.”
The 2022 pilot program exceeded The Mill’s expectations, according to Lehman. Six students worked on startups ranging from a materials sourcing app for commercial real estate developers, to a sewing device for ballet dancers, to a new social media platform using augmented reality, to an app for solo musicians to practice along with high-quality recordings.
“We were amazed at how far they took their startups over the course of the summer,” said Lehman. “These founders are already receiving investment, winning pitch competitions, signing up customers, launching beta platforms.”
Andrew McMaster, CEO of Finniva, said that before his participation in Startup Summer, “The idea of an ‘ecosystem’ was really squishy to me – it was hard to know what that really meant. But being here this summer and meeting with all those people so excited to help us as well as us getting an opportunity to give back, I truly get what it means to be a part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The 2023 program will run for 10 weeks, from May 17 through July 26, on site at The Mill in Bloomington. Applicants must be currently enrolled at any Indiana university or college. In addition, their companies need to have their product or solution built, or be almost ready to launch. Those who are accepted and complete the program will receive stipends ranging from $4,000 to $4,500. The Mill also provides a four-month, full-time membership to ensure founders have ongoing access to resources and community.
Individuals or teams may apply, Lehman said, and The Mill is hoping to see all corners of the state represented. “We’ve been contacting entrepreneurship programs and centers across the state, and the feedback has been very positive. This is a very special, intensive program for student entrepreneurs. It’s a rare opportunity to get paid to pursue your passion.”
Students must apply by November 4, 2022, to be considered for the 2023 summer program. A panel of experts in entrepreneurship, business, and investing will conduct a blind review of all applications.
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