Launch Corps provides in-depth support to select Innovation Management MBA students who seek to start a new business. If you’ve got an idea and are looking for a way to get it off the ground and a supportive community to help you do that, apply to be a part of the OSU College of Business 2016 Launch Corps program.
Launch Corps members receive:
- Workshops held three times each year. Workshops will be held on weekends in Portland. Workshop dates will be determined in the first term, based on best availability of Launch Corps members.
- A weeklong summer training (training will be held summer terms at the Oregon State University Corvallis campus; room and board will be provided – dates announced in in the first term)
- A mentor team of entrepreneurship coaches and content experts (e.g., marketing, accounting, etc.)
- Hotel desks at WeWork, a co-working community in Portland and site of the OSU College of Business' Portland headquarters
- Peer support and collaboration
- Connections to people with the means to fund Launch Corps members’ ideas
Some Launch Corps members will also receive financial support. J.D. Power Launch Corps Fellowships are awarded to especially strong Launch Corps applicants. Priority will be given to women applicants. Launch Corps Fellows receive:
- An $8,000 scholarship to offset tuition for the hybrid MBA in Innovation Management program
- A $2,000 grant that can be applied to the costs of creating a business
- A $5,000 scholarship to cover the Launch Corps program fee
To remain in Launch Corps, all Launch Corps members will be expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the Innovation Management MBA while meeting milestones for advancing their businesses. Our faculty, mentors and coaches will support you as you make progress.
Venture Investment Partner
Elevate Capital http://elevate.vc (Portland, OR) has committed to invest up to $50,000 in seed funding in one or more Launch Corps member startup companies. Investment term sheets will be presented by Elevate Capital to one or more Launch Corps member startups prior to or at the conclusion of the Launch Corps program.
About Elevate Capital: Elevate Capital manages two funds currently. To support entrepreneurs who need a small investment ($25,000 or a $50,000) to launch, as well as to support minority-led businesses, the Portland Development Commission partnered with Elevate Capital to create the $3 million Inclusive Startup Fund to provide capital to early-stage companies in Portland founded by entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups and veterans.
Who Should Apply
Launch Corps is designed for ambitious self-starters who will pursue the OSU Innovation Management MBA.
Eligible Launch Corps applicants must:
- meet all Oregon State MBA admissions requirements. (In fact, we seek particularly strong MBA applicants.) View our MBA selection criteria here.
- be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents as verified by a U.S. passport, permanent resident card or birth certificate.
In addition, we look for candidates who meet most of the following criteria:
- Have a demonstrated commitment and dedication to addressing a problem. It’s important to us that candidates are passionate about the problem they want to address, rather than passionate about their ideas. We know this might sound odd. But it’s likely your idea will change as you learn more about your customer (via the program) and adapt to customer feedback. Thus, being passionate about your idea can be a drawback; it is possible it would result in unwillingness to adapt. Being excited about a problem, though, is a great advantage; it’s likely to result in your willingness to try lots of adaptations of your idea to reach a solution that a customer will pay for.
- Be highly coachable. This one is a deal-breaker. We’re not looking for those who think they already have all of the answers. We want those who are genuinely passionate about solving a problem and seek guidance on how to do that through starting a business. Our faculty, mentors and coaches are glad to guide you through the process – but you have to be willing to learn from them.
- Have ideas for businesses that have potential to grow; this means that the problem you’re excited about affects a large group of people – and someone would be willing to pay for a solution to it.
- Have ideas that are interesting and new – solutions no one has ever thought of before or new takes on old ideas.
- Have a business idea that's already received (some) grant funding or early-stage investment or earned revenue, and/or you have a revenue model that has been validated through customer discovery – but if you’re not that far along, don’t sweat it.
- Have a co-founder or a team. Applicants may apply without a co-founder. Preference will be given to those who have a co-founder or team. In fact, it’s preferable that the co-founder and/or other team member(s) apply for the MBA in Innovation Management. There’s a lot of research that shows that you will be more successful as an entrepreneur with a solid team behind you, and we are eager to see you reach success!
- Overall, we seek diverse candidates in terms of industry/professional background, racial/ethnic background, gender, and other demographics. (It’s a double bonus if your team is diverse and, together, possess the skill set needed to make your idea a reality.)
Launch Corps Program Fee
We wish we could provide Launch Corps for free to all of our excellent candidates. Our modest program fee is only $2,500 per person per academic year, while the benefits you’ll receive (described above) are valued at over double the cost.
Can’t afford the program fee? We do have fellowships available. In addition to MBA program scholarships and funding to start their businesses, applicants who are awarded with a Launch Corps Fellowship will receive a $5,000 scholarship to cover the $2,500 fee each year for two years. To be considered, follow the directions under How to Apply.
How to Apply
We're accepting applications through 11:59pm, December 27, 2016. To apply, follow these steps:
Step 1. Submit your Oregon State MBA application.
Step 2. Complete the Launch Corps application. The application will require that you submit a two- to three-minute video* that describes why you should be selected for Launch Corps. The application is under 20 questions! To prepare your application, check out this pdf version.
We recommend candidates put their videos on YouTube (which is free); you can choose to make your YouTube video private – which means that only individuals who are provided with a link can view your video. Video links will only be provided to our Launch Corps selection team (described below).
In your video, be sure to address:
- the problem you want to solve;
- your idea to solve it;
- why/how your idea has room to eventually grow into a big business (e.g., how many people does the problem affect, and who would pay for the solution you want to create?);
- progress, if any, you’ve made toward advancing that idea into a business; and
- why you should be selected for Launch Corps. Applicants are strongly encouraged to express all of the points that make them an ideal candidate (see Who Should Apply above).
- If you want to be considered for a fellowship, be sure to also explain how fellowship funding will help you reach your entrepreneurial goals.
* Be mindful of the time limits for video length. We’d hate for you to be disqualified for not following directions.
Once you have been admitted to the Oregon State MBA program, we’ll review your Launch Corps application and video. A team of alumni, successful entrepreneurs, faculty and investors will review application materials.
Finalists will be invited to interview with the Launch Corps selection team. For finalists who don’t reside locally, we’re happy to speak with you via Skype.
Deadlines + Timelines
Submit your application to Launch Corps by 11:59pm, December 27, 2016.
You can expect to hear back from us about the status of your Launch Corps application no later than January 10, 2017.
Looking for more information? Join us for a webinar about the Innovation Management MBA + Launch Corps or email Matt Alex: Matt.Alex@oregonstate.edu