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It’s simple: we need innovators.

We need visionaries whose bold thinking shifts the paradigm.
We need radical solutions for our most pressing problems.
We need ideas that are not just new, but revelatory.

The Venture Program is an integral part of the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem, a space founded on collaborative questioning and learning. We evolve with our student founders, learning from the issues they are tackling. More than anything, this is a community where we help each other go further, faster.

Along every part of our journey, the curriculum and mentorship at the i-lab have been matched to our level and pace of growth. It’s hard to imagine where we would be without it.”

—Vishal Punwani
Co-Founder, Sophya

What is the Venture Program?

The Venture Program combines a supportive community with key resources for full-time Harvard students who are actively building an idea into a venture. From workshops to one-on-one advising, you’ll gain access to opportunities tailored to your stage and venture. The Venture Program has two tracks: Start It for teams bringing a new idea into the world, and Build It for ventures who have real world demand and are ready to step on the gas!

What the Venture Program Has to Offer

COMMUNITY

Whether you’re meeting in-person or online, the connections you make, the conversations you have, and the collaborations that arise will take you in unexpected new directions.

Social Mixers

Get to know other inspiring leaders in this program in a fun and relaxed setting! Networking is important, and so is friendship.

Community Pitch Swaps

Gain valuable experience by pitching your venture in front of a group of supportive peers and thoughtful staff. You’ll receive feedback and make helpful connections!

Networking Events

Join the i-lab community as we bring together founders, our experts, and i-lab staff for networking events. These events create space for genuine relationship building through structured networking activities.

Slack Channel

Slack is a virtual messaging board where we share program information, resources, and opportunities for collaboration. It’s also a way to meet and stay connected with your fellow founders, staff, and the broader Harvard Innovation Labs community!

EXPERT GUIDANCE

We’ll help you navigate the inevitable challenges of bringing an idea to fruition, from messaging and marketing to connecting with your customer to discovering potential funding opportunities.

Meetings with Experts

Students and ventures have access to a wide variety of networking opportunities and one-on-one advising. Our industry experts offer real-world know-how to help you launch your business or enterprise. Their areas of expertise include: strategy, product, legal advice, marketing, funding, and more.

PROGRAMMING & EVENTS

Our comprehensive, interactive programs give you the fundamentals and insights you’ll need to build a strong venture.

Core Workshops and Panel Discussions

Learn directly from experts in the field on a range of topics, such as crafting your value proposition, building your MVP, and understanding your customer. Our series of workshops map out the innovator’s trajectory through entrepreneurship, so it’s a good idea to start from the beginning!

Expert Industry Advice

Gain targeted, industry-specific advice from people who have walked in your shoes.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

The i-lab facilitates applications for a range of funding opportunities for ventures at different stages.

Who’s Eligible?

The Venture Program is open to teams led by at least one matriculated, full-time, and degree-seeking Harvard student, including undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical fellows.

*A Harvard student must be a founder and committed leader of the venture. That person must be the one to submit the application.

 

ACCEPTANCE PROCESS

1. You apply!
2. Our staff evaluates your application.
3. You join the cohort of peers at your stage.

 

Venture Program Tracks

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The Venture Program tracks give you the information and support you need, right when you need it.

Start It

Start It Track

Got a great idea that could really make a difference? The Start It Venture Program offers foundational learning and support for ventures with a new idea, helping lay the path for you to continue on your journey.

Learn More

Build It

Build It Track

Completed customer research and revenue tests, or are gaining a valuable following for your MVP? In the Build It Venture Program, ventures that have gained traction receive specialized support to catapult their growth to the next level.

Learn More

Fall, Spring, & Summer

The fall semester is an ideal time to explore, learn, and develop your ideas.

In the spring, continue to refine or launch your venture as we prepare for the President’s Innovation Challenge.

During the summer, we lay strong groundwork for the year and further connections as a community.

fall spring summer

The power of connection is at the forefront of every decision we make. Whether it’s creating opportunities for students to meet across fields of interest, or reaching out to our expert community to guide teams through their successes and setbacks, we deeply value our relationships and the incredible work that can grow from them."

—Matt Segneri
Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director

This is the reason people should come to Harvard… [We] come here to make an impact in the world. And the way to make that impact successfully is through collaboration... It’s necessary to have a space like this in order to meet the goals you wanted to meet, to connect, and to break down the walls of intimidation.”

—Gina Ciaccone
Founder, GreenScreen

We all know the statistics. We know that 90 percent of startups fail. And yet, maybe irrationally, it's still something we're trying to do. The camaraderie that we get from all having that shared identity, and the sense of community where people genuinely want to see others succeed, have been so important.”

—Miriam Huntley
co-founder and CTO, Day Zero Diagnostics

MEET THE TEAM

Get to know the names and faces of the i-lab staff you’ll regularly interact with when you join the Venture Program!

Community Engagement & Program Management
I can help you with: Navigate the i-lab’s programs and workshops.Understand i-lab funding offerings.Understand the President’s Innovation Challenge tracks.
Programs
I can help you with: Navigate the Venture Program resources.Connect you to i-lab community members.Optimize your Venture Program experience.Guide you to relevant i-lab staff + departments.
Community
Expert Advisors
I can help you with: Tackle an issue you care about.Develop a business plan.Connect with experts in your field.Set milestones and test your idea.Pivot your venture as you gain new knowledge.Create a strong board.
Social Entrepreneurship
I can help you with: Define milestones and tactically de-risk your venture.Strategize on R&D.Technology commercialization.Business development.Network with critical connections in your field.
Healthcare and Life Sciences
I can help you with: Understand your customer.Position your product.Develop a marketing strategy.Determine effective advertising.Fundraise.Develop a pitch deck.Conduct market research.
Consumer Goods and Services
I can help you with: Develop go-to-market plans for B2B.Build the right MVP with no-code solutions.Develop your B2B pitch and tell your venture's story.Build technology roadmaps.Strategize around engineering issues.
Tech + B2B
Network Engagement
I can help you with: Connect with experts, mentors, and funders.Connect with the Boston startup ecosystem.Find the right accelerator program for you.
Network Engagement
I can help you with: Navigate the i-lab expert community.Connect with legal support for your venture.Optimize your Venture Program experience.
Network Engagement

Okay! Ready to apply to the Venture Program?

At the i-lab, we care deeply about you. Wherever your journey takes you — whether it’s pursuing your venture through into a viable business or choosing to take a different path — the skills you gain and the community you build can carry you through to the next stage of your career!

Applications are closed for the Fall Venture Program. Please check back in December 2020.

 

We know you’re reading fast! In case you need to revisit the tracks: Start-It and Build-It