Entrepreneurship is one of today’s most difficult ventures. With saturated markets everywhere you look and a lack of viable funding for many potentially great ideas, it’s harder than ever to raise a business from the ground up. There is, however, a beacon of hope for the University of Colorado community – Catalyze CU. Designed for CU Boulder students and faculty, this hub for innovation helps early projects grow into something that can survive independently in the real world, through a reliable supply of funding and guidance from top experts across multiple industries.
Here are three unexpected ways that Catalyze CU is seriously impressive:
CU Boulder: One of the Top in the Nation
If this sounds futuristic, that’s because it is. The university is on the forefront of entrepreneurship, and this project has helped land the school on the Forbes’ list for America’s most entrepreneurial universities. With classes specifically geared toward pitching projects to angel investors, the Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship plugs in seamlessly with the objectives of the Catalyze CU initiative. In 2015 alone, the project has guided eight separate local startups through the initial phases of their inception. From automated tattoo removal services to all-in-one DIY projects being shipped to your door, each project is completely different, and quite unique.
Grants, Grants, and More Grants
Catalyze CU awards equity-free grants to some of the school’s top ideas – this is huge for companies in the early stages of business. Since they receive seed money without having to give up any equity, young organizations get to invest back in themselves instead of just adding another early backer that’s looking for immediate returns on his or her initial investment. Equity-free grants are very much a godsend for anyone starting their own organization because they’re basically a revenue stream without any costs tied to it. It’s the world’s way of telling you that someone believes in your idea, and wants to help you grow it…no strings attached.
Another one of the amazing things about Catalyze CU is how they pair phenomenal mentors and like-minded startups together to create something really special. With a list of almost 30 industry professionals from all walks of like and different backgrounds, the Catalyze mentors do a great job guiding young entrepreneurs and helping them avoid some of the early bumps in the road that young companies generally go through. From legal to marketing and design, their experts share valuable knowledge with up-and-coming ideas to create something truly cutting edge. In addition to project mentors, there’s a growing list of company supporters, too. Many of these companies have gone through the Catalyze program themselves, and are now ready to help the next generation gain a foothold.
If you’re a CU-Boulder student or faculty member with dreams of entrepreneurship, check out Catalyze CU, it could change your life. From great mentors to helpful startup money, this is one university program that’s truly making a difference in students’ lives. Have you or someone you know had experience with this program? Share your insights with us in the comments below!