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Harvard i-lab

Overview

The Harvard i-lab is a resource available to all current students from any Harvard school who is looking to explore innovation and entrepreneurship at any stage.

The i-lab provides all the physical and intellectual resources current Harvard students need to develop and grow, including one-to-one advising, office hours with industry experts, workshops, an incubator program, and a competition. Open co-working space is also available for any Harvard student looking to grow as an innovator.

If you are a current, full-time Harvard student who has an idea of any size, at any stage of formation, or who just wants to explore innovation and entrepreneurship, the i-lab is here for you.

How to use the i-lab:

Swipe card. Open door. Unlock your potential.

If you’re a full-time, degree-seeking Harvard student, your Harvard ID will give you direct access to the i-lab.  If you’re working on an idea, come use our space. You don’t have to be accepted into the VIP or the President’s Innovation Challenge to come here. Talk to our staff, ask questions, share your ideas, meet other students who are working on their startups, or get started on your own project. We’re here for you.

(If, for some reason, your ID doesn’t work, contact a staff member for assistance. Access issues are usually resolved within a few days.)

(If you’re a Harvard Extension School student, learn more about how you can get involved.)

Office Hours

The i-lab hosts office hours with experts- and entrepreneurs-in-residence (EiRs), faculty mentors, i-lab staff, legal partners, funders-in-residence (VCs), and other visiting practitioners who can help you grow your ideas and move your ventures forward. If you’re new to the i-lab and have general questions or don’t know where to start, we recommend meeting with an i-lab staff expert, first. For students who have questions about their career, venture, or business planning issues, or about innovation in general, the EiR program is a great way to get answers.

Workshops

Learn the fundamentals. The i-lab hosts workshops each semester that cover a range of topics and are open to any current Harvard studen. They’re also built to follow the innovator’s trajectory, so we encourage you to start from the beginning. Pick a topic, and sign up — it’s  a great way to learn, as well as connect with potential team members, founding partners, and experts who can help your move forward further, faster. 

Venture Incubation Program (VIP)

The Venture Incubation Program (VIP) is the cornerstone program at the i-lab and your pathway to becoming an innovator once your idea is ready to become a venture. More than a co-working space, the VIP is a comprehensive, creative community of innovators, experts, and support systems. The VIP is open to teams that include at least one matriculated, full-time and degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate Harvard student and runs during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of each calendar year. Learn more about the VIP, including benefits, selection criteria, and how to apply.

President’s Innovation Challenge

The President’s Innovation Challenge is a call to action. It’s a call to innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s a challenge to the entire Harvard community of students and postdocs to engage with pressing issues facing the world and to explore turning their ideas into impactful, real-world ventures.

The Challenge is also a competition and an opportunity to win funding for your venture. Venture proposals will be evaluated by a panel of professional judges, with more than $400,000 in seed funding awarded to the winning teams at the end of the spring semester.

$75,000 first prizes and $25,000 runner-up prizes are awarded in each of four tracks:

  • Social Impact or Cultural Enterprise.
  • Health or Life Sciences.
  • Open (for ideas that transcend categories).
  • Launch Lab X (selected teams in our 9-month accelerator program).

The combined application for the President’s Innovation Challenge and the Spring Venture Incubation Program is due in January. Semi-finalists for the Challenge are automatically enrolled in the Spring VIP. Finalists are selected in March and winners are announced in May.

Please sign up for our newsletter to get updates and timely application information.

Contact

For general inquiries, e-mail i-lab@harvard.edu