E@DU Grant Process

Grant Phase 1: Validation

Pre-Phase 1: Ideation

Application Dates: No formal application

Rationale: For students whose ideas, market validation process, and goals conceptualization are not yet ready for Phase 1 of the E@DU Grant program.


  • Send an email inquiry to du.entrepreneur@du.edu to meet with Grants Administrator to discuss grants readiness.
    • Readiness for grant: Student can show evidence that:
      • They are the right person to pursue this idea (personal journey, evidence of growth, dedication, coachability, resourcefulness)
      • This is the right time to pursue this idea (evidence of market/industry research, gap analysis, understanding of the competitive landscape, industry/market trends that are building)
      • This is the right problem/opportunity to solve (evidence of customer validation–recorded conversations with 15-20 potential customers suggesting evidence of the problem, statistical support for the need to pursue this idea)

If deemed not ready, students will be matched with an ideation mentor to gather the necessary evidence for the grant. Regular check-ins with the Grant Administrator will track progress towards the goals outlined in the Ideation Pre-Grant Phase. Once ready, students will receive an invitation to apply for Phase 1: Validation in the E@DU Grant program.



      Phase 1: Validation

      Funds Available: Up to $500 to develop an MVP of the product/service and incentivize/initiate market testing.

      Application Dates: Open from September 1 through May 1 of each academic year

      Closing Date: No closing date if progress is being made and regular mentor meetings are being reported. Grant will be closed if the faculty mentor meets with student entrepreneur and shares that progress has halted.

      Application Materials: 3-5 minute video “pitch” including the following elements from the Pre-Grant Ideation Phase:

      Video Application:

        • Who is the entrepreneur, and why are you the right person to tackle this problem/opportunity?
        • What is the problem/opportunity and why is this the right problem to solve?
          • Explore the evidence
        • Discuss the market, competitive landscape and validation you have already done to support that this is the right time to start this idea.
        • Outline 2-4 concrete, measurable goals that are to be achieved during the grant period, timeline for achieving the goals, planned expenditure dates, and itemized budget for the up to $250 grant funding.
        • Communicate how the successful completion of this Phase 1 of the grant process will help you be ready for Phase 2 of the Grant Process.

      MS Word E@DU Proposal Document to include:

          • Goals and timeline for the achievement of each goal
          • Measurable outcomes to be achieved
          • Budget with intended purchase amounts and dates

        List of 2-3 mentors that have agreed to support the grant process and proposed schedule to meet with mentors to support goals outlined above.

              Rationale: Students have an idea for a product or service and/or they have done some initial fact-finding about their idea.


              • Set measurable goals and a schedule by which to meet them
              • Establish a bi-weekly meeting schedule with one of the faculty advisors based on Faculty availability/expertise (at the outset, Ross, Sebesta, or Pollard). Meeting should be a standing meeting set and ideally hosted in person but could be by Zoom.
                • Before each bi-weekly meeting a set of “notes” to guide the meeting should be uploaded to Canvas. Notes to include:
                  • Progress made on conversation/goals from last Faculty Mentor meeting
                  • Outside mentor discussions and value added by them
                  • Plans for the next 2 week period
                • At bi-weekly meetings discuss successes and challenges outlined in notes document. Discuss previous 2 week progress and overall grant progress. Discuss budget allocation, expenditures, resource usage, goals/actions for the next 2 week period.
                • When appropriate how this grant can start to position the idea/team for Phase 2 of the grant and anything else necessary to advance and complete the project successfully.

                    Intended Outcomes: When Phase 1 Grant are complete, there will be objective evidence of:

                    • MVP developed and ready to show the market for objective feedback
                    • Target Market clearly defined (Demographic, Psychographic, Geographic, Behavioral) with evidence to support that they are correct.
                    • Clearly defined and evidence-based differentiator in the market and explanation/understanding of how this differentiator is defensible.
                    • Market Validation–Def: the process of presenting a concept for a product to its target market and learn from those prospective buyers whether or not the idea is worth pursuing.
                      • Market validation evidence/support expected:
                        • Documented in-depth customer interviews/product tests (at least 10)
                        • Survey or other objective data (at least 100 responses, evidence that responses are sourced from actual target market)
                        • Optional: Possible early traction–A small number of early longer-term beta users providing feedback on and MVP version of the product/service. Useful even if beta users are non-paying or paying a discounted rate for product feedback

                    Requirements to get to Phase 2: Objective evidence that this product/service needs to exist, target market customers are providing objective and positive feedback, there is a clear plan for product/service improvement and Phase 2 budget developed to support market-ready product/service development