New DePaul Startup Program Helping These Students Launch New Businesses
A new startup launch program hosted by the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and the Founder Institute will give 19 DePaul University students the opportunity to develop a business over the next four months.
With the help of 50 mentors made up of alumni from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, students will meet on Tuesday evenings at the Coleman Center to work on various aspects of their business plans. The program held in collaboration with the Founder Institute, a Silicon Valley-based idea-stage accelerator that has helped develop nearly 3,000 companies.
According to the school, students were required to fill out an application and take the Founder Institute’s aptitude test, which assesses problem-solving abilities, agreeableness and openness—qualities of a successful entrepreneur. The Coleman Center also hosted a mini version of the institute’s program in fall 2018 to gauge whether it was a right fit for DePaul students.
“Accelerator programs allow students to explore an idea while they have a safety net,” says Coleman Assistant Director Abigail Ingram. “Students have access to all of the university’s resources and networks, and expertise in every possible area, so it’s one of the few times in their lives where they will be plugged into a network of PhDs and specialists as well as experiential opportunities.”
One of the alumni mentors is Jason Jacobsohn (MBA ’02), who also happens to be director of the Founder Institute’s Chicago chapter. He is an adjunct instructor at the business college, and formed the Chicago chapter of the Founder Institute in 2011.
“The entrepreneurship ecosystem at DePaul is very diverse, so we’re letting the students build whatever business they want to build,” Jacobsohn says. “They also have to be prepared every week to present to mentors so that by the time they’re done with the program, if they want to present to other stakeholders or a board, potential hires, co-founders, or investors they get really good and comfortable to present their business.”