E@DU Grant Process

Grant Phase 3: Activation

Phase 3: Activation

Funds Available: Up to $2,000 to establish planning for market activation. Ideas at this point should be market-ready and planning to launch the first product into production and retail/wholesale sales. 

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 Phase 1 : 

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 discovered in the Phase 2 process 
      • What suggests to you that your product/service is ready to be launched into the market? 
    • Discuss the market, competitive landscape, and the validation you have already done to support that this is STILL 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 $2,000 grant funding. 
    • *Goals should reflect plans to turn the idea into a going concern. The MVP (Phase 1) and the more market-ready product (Phase 2) have been established and tested. The next step is to formalize production and vendor relationships, implement go-to-market strategy, etc.* 
    • Communicate how the successful completion of this Phase 3 of the grant process will help you be ready for the next stage of the business (FFF round, business loan, cashflow positivity, etc.)

        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 extended the MVP from Phase 1 into a much closer to market-ready product/service in Phase 2.  The assumptions and uncertainties about the product were clarified in Phase 1 and 2 of the grant process. Phase 3 is designed to help students establish and implement at least a part of their go-to-market strategy to validate the uncertainties and assumptions about their company’s interaction with the market.


            • 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 Teams folder. 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 discuss how this grant can start to position the idea/team for self-sufficiency and transferring the business from campus to stand on its own in the community.

        Intended Outcomes: When Phase 3 Grants are complete, there will be objective evidence of: 

        • 12-month cashflow -rojection–using real numbers (where possible), and ability to justify and defend income potential (associated with concrete revenue-generating opportunities)  
        • Revenue generated and ideally showing signs of revenue growth–Companies should start to see revenue during phase 3, and we should see signs that revenue is increasing and has significant potential to grow even further based on activity and established relationships 
        • Customer Acquisition/KPI Dashboard–CAC, website/social metrics, burn rate, other metrics that are applicable for specific company 
        • Major needs identified to turn company into legitimate business off-campus–Physical space? Partners identified? Manufacturing partners met with and quotes established. Deep into potential retail partners or relationships to grow revenue into the future. Funding needs and plans. Co-founder joined?  First hire plans? 
        • Benchmarking cashflow projection with actual sales–  
          • Tracking revenue and expenses (Quickbooks or similar)
            • Comparing projected to actual
            • Appreciation for reasoning behind the delta between projected and actual
        • Professional Pitch Established and ready for intended audiences (funders, customers, potential co-founders or initial team, etc.)