Sawmill Society Ventureship FAQ

The Sawmill Society Ventureship is an paid opportunity for Rose-Hulman students to live on campus during summer break with access to institute resources to launch their startup projects. Learn more by clicking on the FAQ below.

What is the Summer Ventureship?

This program is an on-campus incubator to help students launch their startups.

When is the Summer Ventureship?

For 12 weeks during the summer of 2022. 

What resources are provided?

(This answer varies and is dependent on meeting your best needs.)

  • Stipend for yourself
  • Stipend for an advisor/mentor
  • On-campus meal plan
  • 24/7 coworking space
  • Laboratory access and other technical campus resources

When can I apply?

Applications will open in the fall quarter of 2021. The first round of applications will close before the Career Fair so we can give you some feedback as soon as possible to help you plan your summer.

Who can apply?

Any current Rose-Hulman student and their team.

What questions will the application include?

What are the requirements for applying and how are startups judged?

Any current student with a problem they want to solve can apply! No product is necessary. We will help you build your solution over the summer. A rubric will be shared soon, but, in general, we evaluate the founder/team, the market/problem, and then the product (in order of importance).

Does my startup need proof of traction/revenue?

No. Anyone at any stage is welcome to apply.

What if I get an offer from the career fair and Summer Ventureship?

We will get some preliminary information out to you before the fall career fair to let you know whether you've passed the first round of the application. If you receive an offer from the Summer Ventureship, we hope you are even more excited than we are to have a chance to work on your idea. We really believe in your idea, so please let us know how we can help you navigate your summer plans and any alternative offers you will likely receive.

When will I know if I have been selected for the Summer Ventureship?

Our final decisions for the Summer Ventureship will be released before December 17 to give you a chance to develop your idea further over the winter break. 

How many students/companies will be accepted?

The number of students we accept is based on philanthropic funding and, currently, we can provide housing, meals, and a stipend for one student. Our goal, however, is to accept a batch of two-to-three teams.

Can a team/company with more than one student apply?

Yes! We will take applications from any team. Please reach out to me ( directly with any specific concerns you have.

What will students do during the school year?

We will pair you with a mentor as soon as you are accepted. Everything else is up to you! If you are excited to start working right away, we would love to mentor you until the program officially begins over the summer. (Please note: funds will not be distributed until the summer).

What exactly will students do over the summer?

Most of your time will be spent either coding/building or talking with customers. We will also have events to keep you organized and accountable over the summer.

What are the summer sessions? What is the format for the summer?

About once a week, the students will convene for an update day. Other events will be spread out over the summer:

  • Pitch practices
  • Mid-summer: Preview/Product Day
  • End of summer: Demo/Pitch Day

Who are the mentors and what guidance will they provide?

The mentors are Rose-Hulman alumni and industry experts in your field. They will meet every week to hold you accountable and provide their expert advice. You also have access to office hours with the alumni sponsors in the Sawmill Society who have organized this program. 

Will there be a Demo Day at the end of the summer?

Yes! the presentation will recap your progress during the 12 weeks and a pitch can be used to ask for funding for your next stage. Set your bar high! A product should be shown at the end of the summer as well as customer validation through sales. The Demo Day is an opportunity to get more investment from the Sawmill Society.

Why is it called a Summer Ventureship? Is this an accelerator?

We are not officially an accelerator (because those require more resources and official investment in your company). Any funding we provide is a grant. We don't own any of your company. But feel free to think of us similar to a startup incubator where you can take the first steps with your idea or go from small traction to the next stage.

What is the program seeking to accomplish?

We discovered a problem (by speaking to students and professors): students need a dedicated period of time to develop their startup, which they lack during the school year. We are hoping to remove the largest barriers students face to working on ideas by providing housing, meals, and a stipend for three months. Please let us know if there are any other barriers that would prevent you from applying. We will do our best to accommodate you. 

Who is funding the program and why?

This philanthropic initiative is funded by alumni from Rose-Hulman's Sawmill Society. Learn more about the Sawmill Society by clicking here.

What are the next steps for startups that are successful during the program? Is there potential for more funding?

Once you are accepted into the program, we want to help remove any barriers you face in your journey. As soon as you are part of the program, you will receive mentorship from alumni, but it is up to you to maintain connections beyond the summer program. You will have the opportunity to pitch to the Sawmill Angels for seed funding following the successful completion of the program. 
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