Monthly Archives: July 2014

Freshman Founders Tracks: Event Series and Launchpad

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.

Mentor Community

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 (xinyi.wang@utexas.edu).

Learn more and apply here!

Freshman Founders: Mentor Commitment Guidelines

This week we are launching our campaign to wrangle mentors for our 3rd class of Freshman Founders! These mentors are critical to achieving our goal of welcoming the incoming UT students to the Austin startup community. Last year we had a community of more than 50 incredible mentors, and this year we’re looking to maintain that number.

This post lays out what we expect out of our mentors and what mentors can expect to get out of Freshman Founders. The program is expected to run from September 2015 until March 2015, and the complete program schedule will be available in mid-August. Learn more about the two tracks here.

 

Freshman Founders Logo - v2

 

Why you should be a Freshman Founders mentor

Help cultivate Austin’s next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Austin’s startup community is packed with Longhorns, and Freshman Founders is built to continue that legacy.

Meet UT’s best and brightest freshmen at Freshman Founders events. We don’t expect every Freshman Founder to go start their own business. No promises, but maybe they will be the next employee at your startup.

Stay in regular contact with the rest of the Freshman Founder mentor community and student management team. Our returning mentors include John Arrow and Dr. Bob Metcalfe. With both new and returning mentors, our community will be flush with the entrepreneurial leaders of Austin, Texas!

Our expectations of Freshman Founders mentors

We don’t expect you to make every single event; however, we ask that you make as many as possible. Our goal is to make each event worth your time, as well as the Freshman Founder’s time.

Get to know the freshmen in the program. We want a lot of interaction between mentors and freshmen, not just between mentors! Meet with a couple of students a month, and be available to talk via phone with students who take a particular interest in you. Offer advice and introductions, but only if you are comfortable doing so.

Provide feedback to the Freshman Founders management team to help us make the program better next year.

Big mentor no-nos.

Please focus on creating opportunities for students, not selling your product or recruiting.

Please become close with students, but don’t pursue romantic relationships with students you meet at Freshman Founders.

Interested in being a mentor?

Email LEA Director Xinyi Wang at xinyi.wang@utexas.edu.