The Student Venture Fund provides early stage student ventures with preliminary funds to assist with typical startup expenses including professional services, market research, web services, technology tools and marketing. The fund was initiated by Appalachian alumnus Steve Norwood to support early stage student ventures. The fund continues to grow through contributions from Appalachian alumni and community members interested in supporting promising student entrepreneurs.
Students pursuing ventures with high potential social or economic impact will collaborate with the Transportaion Insight Center for Entrepreneurship to prepare a thorough business plan and organize the business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) registered in North Carolina. Each qualified student venture will present their vision and plans to the Fund Advisory Board (FAB) that will assess projects on a predetermined set of metrics including:
The FAB will determine if the student team is appropriately prepared to receive and use preliminary funding to accelerate the project through the initial development stages. The FAB will review and approve each fund usage plan and student ventures will be held accountable for spending the money in accordance with the plan and agreed upon schedule.
The FAB is comprised of successful entrepreneurs who will take an active role in the selection and mentoring of fund recipients. The advisory board members will engage students with their networks and contacts, provide access to resources and markets, and share insight that will help student ventures demonstrate a proof of concept and validate their business models. Ultimately, the program will prepare student ventures to pursue additional funding through regional angel networks.