Startup Summer: Looking Back (Eugene Wan)
A university education is about a lot of things: the appreciation of knowledge, the development of life long friends, and personal introspection – to list a few among many. Most importantly, college is about gaining the skills, network, and opportunity to discover and, ultimately, do what you love to do. This concept of having an opportunity to explore a passion was fully realized in the inaugural year of Startup Summer.
Recently coming to a successful conclusion, Startup Summer is an initiative from Startup Colorado. The program consisted of three components: (1) a full time, paid internship at a Front Range startup, (2) a weekly entrepreneurial crash course, and other community events, that aimed to provide interns with applicable entrepreneurial startup skills, and (3) time and mentorship focused on developing the interns’ own personal business ideas. Working alongside Dave Mangum, a Silicon Flatirons Fellow and the Executive Director of Startup Colorado, our mission was to immerse undergraduate students in the vibrant entrepreneurial community that is Boulder. I can say without a doubt that we succeeded.
All the applicants to the program were bright and an exceptional group of undergraduates were selected to participate in the first year. They were quickly snapped up by some of the hottest companies in the Front Range, including Tendril, Zayo Group, Simple Energy, Rally, and Gnip. Out of the fifteen interns, five received full-time offers. At the end of the summer, each intern was given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to the community and be considered for $1,500 of prize money. Even without the consideration of these metrics, the program would be a success from the entrepreneurial engagement I personally saw from the interns. Startup Summer helped 15 young people realize that entrepreneurship is a path to doing something they are passionate about and that opportunity will always be abundant if you have the mindset of an entrepreneur.
This success would not have been realized without the support of many. Startup Summer was fortunate to have guidance and support from Tim Enwall, Brad Feld, and Dan Caruso, who have all helped build the Boulder entrepreneurial ecosystem from the ground up. Countless other community members as well as companies came together to provide this experience for undergraduates and to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs.
To all of our supporters: thank you . I am excited to take the momentum you’ve given this program to make year two an even greater success!
Eugene Wan is a Senior at CU-Boulder and is the Program Coordinator of Startup Summer.