UC Berkeley Haas to Provide Seed Funding to Student Entrepreneurs

The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, already a global powerhouse in the study of entrepreneurship, has announced it will further strengthen support for its students by providing $100,000 in seed funding for Haas student startups this year.

In addition to seed funding, Berkeley-Haas intends to boost its entrepreneurial offerings for both MBA and undergraduate students by pooling a variety of resources from across the Haas School. A new umbrella organization, called the Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program (BHEP), will help integrate entrepreneurial thinking throughout the Haas student experience.

Those resources include:

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  • The Dean’s Startup Seed Fund, which will provide $5,000 grants to early-stage startups that include Haas students. The grant money will be used for prototype development and customer discovery activities.
  • A new industry specialist in the Career Management Group who will advise students interested in working at startups.
  • Competitions for both later-stage startups through LAUNCH: the Berkeley Startup Competition and for early-stage, social impact ventures through the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC). LAUNCH will add also a later-stage social impact track.
  • Greater interconnection between the UC Berkeley and UCSF science programs to encourage cross-disciplinary innovation. (A pilot project pairs UCSF faculty with selected Berkeley-Haas MBA students for short projects designed to assess, validate, or generate business ideas.)
  • Exceptional educators who teach entrepreneurship at the Haas School across programs.
  • Lean Launchpad, a training platform for innovators, developed by Berkeley-Haas Lecturer Steve Blank.
  • Collaborative projects such as SkyDeck, a multidisciplinary startup accelerator located at UC Berkeley.
  • Mentorship programs and mixers that draw heavily on the Haas Alumni Network and broader Berkeley community to connect current students with entrepreneurs and those working in related industries.

According to the official announcement, the Lester Center, founded in 1992, will now be part of the Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program and will focus entirely on student-facing activities and events as well as manage the Dean’s Startup Seed Fund.

“Our student entrepreneurs are already thriving within the Berkeley-Haas and Bay Area startup ecosystem,” Haas Dean Rich Lyons says. “This new effort will continue to build on and expand that success, creating a new generation of leaders who will be mixing with alumni and giving back to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

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