Deacon Springboard: Making Connections and Moving Ideas Forward

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

The first annual Deacon Springboard is already successfully underway!

The Deacon Springboard is a new program replacing the former New Venture Seed Grant Process aimed at supporting students who have innovative ideas and wish to gain hands-on experience with starting a new venture.

It is a non-academic, six-month program that provides ten accepted student teams with coaching and guidance to help move their venture ideas forward. Accepted students also automatically receive $200 in seed funds, are matched with a dynamic venture advisor, have access to additional venture assistance funds, gain free entry to the Flywheel Start-up Factory, and are also awarded automatic entry to the new Deac Tank competition to be held at WFU in February.

After many applications and pitches, the WFU Ventures and Competitions Committee selected the inaugural ten ventures and student teams in late September. You can read about these student teams and their ventures here.

The Deacon Springboard program launched on October 6th at a networking event in the Magnolia Room.

Professor and Executive Director of the CICE, Polly Black encouraged everyone to “think about [their] opportunities from a number of different angles.”

s1230035The ten selected teams then re-pitched their ideas to the ICE Advisory Council, who would ultimately become their venture advisors. These short and entertaining pitches were then followed by a successful networking session, where each student was able to get to know their potential advisor and vice versa. The connections made during this time allowed for promising partnerships to flourish.

s1230023The night then concluded with a wonderful dinner and an encouraging talk from entrepreneur Howard Love (P ‘18) about his research on the
The Start-up J Curve. You can read about his words of wisdom and findings here.

On October 7th, the following day, the Deacon Springboard members met up with their designated, matched venture advisors for a full day of exchanging contact information, discussing schedules, formulating a work plan and budget, and visiting the Flywheel Start-up Factory.

Going forward, the Deacon Springboard teams will now routinely meet with their advisors to develop the venture as fully as possible from now until February, when all teams will compete in the Deac Tank competition. The teams will also submit budgets and proposals for Venture Assistance Funds.

To keep up with the progress of the Deacon Springboard, please click here.

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