Freshman Founders is UT Austin’s way of welcoming incoming Longhorns to the Austin startup community. The program was started as a student initiative of the UT Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency, and is entering its 3rd year in the Fall of 2015. Two tracks make up the program: the Event Series, and the Launchpad.
The Event Series is for students who still need to test the waters of entrepreneurship. They may be interested in getting a job at a startup, or starting their own company later in college or life. They are more interested in seeing what the startup environment actually feels like.
On the other hand, you have the Zuckerberg/Dell types. For them, we have the Launchpad. Designed to be a freshmen accelerator, this program provides student CEOs the right team, mentors and connections to make their startup happen.
The program will run from September 2015 until March 2016. The program schedule will be available in mid-August.
Freshman Founders Event Series
This is an application-based program open to any incoming UT student interested in entrepreneurship. The Event Series will host monthly events coupled with a peer mentorship program through the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency. Events like the UT Austin Startup Job Fair and Longhorn Startup Demo Day will help show the Freshman Founders what the startup community is really like, while connecting them to entrepreneurial opportunities. The peer mentorship program will pair Freshman Founders with students who were recently freshmen themselves. These student mentors, along with community mentors, will help Freshman Founders evaluate startup ideas and opportunities. Above all, the Event Series will foster the student startup community at UT for the benefit of Austin startups.
Freshman Founders Launchpad
This track is an accelerator program for freshmen at UT Austin. Students accepted into the program will enter a close-knit community of student entrepreneurs, and receive mentorship from successful entrepreneurs from the Austin community. Student startups will build their team, develop their business model, produce a minimum viable product, prepare to raise any necessary funding, and acquire their first customer. The Launchpad is looking for passionate students with a clear purpose for starting a company to solve a specific problem. They may have a team or be an individual to apply for the program. Launchpad founders will also be asked to attend the Event Series in order to make connections to help grow their venture. The accelerator will conclude with Freshman Founders Demo Day during UT Entrepreneurship Week in March.
We maintain exceptional group of over 50 mentors from the Austin community. On top of that, we have a peer mentorship program through UTLEA that pairs Freshman Founders with a student in LEA. Freshman Founders are encouraged to develop relationships with the mentors, community or student, by setting up coffee chats outside the program. Mentors will also be invited to every Freshman Founders gathering so students can connect with them there as well. If you are interested in being a mentor, or know someone who would make a great one, please review our mentor commitment guidelines and have them email LEA Director Xinyi Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org).