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Undergraduate Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go if I want to learn about entrepreneurship or if I have an idea that I want to turn into a startup?

There are a variety of entrepreneurship programs and resources throughout the innovation ecosystem at Harvard. 

  • Students can participate in education opportunities through the Technology Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), the University's first institutional resource dedicated to undergraduate founders. TECH serves all of Harvard College from its home base within SEAS, and supports the explorations of student-innovators through courses, student groups, mentorship, venture competitions, and special events. Students can join TECH's college-wide entrepreneurs mailing list, book an appointment with TECH's executive director, and learn more about innovation and startup design through TECH's undergraduate courses.
  • Another college-wide resource is the Harvard Innovation Labs. The Harvard Innovation Labs support entrepreneurs with robust venture formation programming and three physical lab spaces including the Harvard i-lab, the Launch Lab X GEO, and the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab. The Harvard i-lab is a resource available to all current students who are looking to explore innovation and entrepreneurship at any stage. Students can visit the Harvard i-lab for access to advisors, office hours with industry experts, workshops, incubator programming, funding opportunities, and venture competitions.

These are just a few ways that students can pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Students are encouraged to reach out to faculty, staff, and advisors to further discuss interests and innovative ideas. 

Does SEAS offer classes in entrepreneurship?

Students can register for courses that provide entrepreneurial experiences ranging from product design and user-experience to field-based startup development and pitches to venture capitalists. Students can also pursue innovation while completing academic projects and elective courses offered across various concentrations. 

The Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), facilitates some of the most popular entrepreneurial courses for undergraduate students including: Startup R&D (ES 95r), and Innovation in Science and Engineering (ES 139/239). 

Review the course catalog for a complete listing of available courses. Suggested terms to search in the catalog include: entrepreneurship, innovation, startup, venture, and design. 

Students can also discuss course options with academic advisors.

 

What is Harvard's policy on the ownership of intellectual property?

If your startup intends to make use of innovations developed at Harvard, the Office of Technology Development (OTD) will work with you to understand whether the innovations fall under the University's Statement of Policy on Intellectual Property (IP Policy)

The Office of Technology Development provides guidance and instruction on how to submit the Report of Innovation form. Completing the Report of Innovation form is a crucial first step toward protecting your interests and your innovation's potential. 

How do I report an invention or intellectual asset to the Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD)? Why is reporting important?

The Office of Technology Development provides guidance and instructions on how to submit a Report of Innovation form. Completing the Report of Innovation form is a crucial first step toward protecting your interests and your innovation’s potential.

Harvard OTD’s ability to protect intellectual property falls in jeopardy if you publish, present, or share your findings with others on a non-confidential basis before OTD files a patent application. If you plan to disclose any information about your innovation to others, please contact OTD immediately. Harvard OTD has created The Inventor’s Handbook to serve as an introductory guide to intellectual property and development for Harvard faculty, researchers, and innovators. 

Are there Harvard makerspaces, coworking spaces, and labs that I can access to work on my startup?

If you are a current, full-time, degree-seeking Harvard student, you can access coworking-space at the Harvard i-lab where you can work on ventures and collaborate with students across all Harvard schools. The i-lab offer many resources for student ventures including the Maker Studio for prototyping and manufacturing, the AR/VR Studio with immersive technologies, and the Media Studio for multimedia content creation. 

The SEAS Active Learning Labs offer resources for individual/club-related student projects including industrial-grade 3D printers and desktop computers with a variety of engineering software. To gain access, students must complete a yearly general lab safety training along with any lab-specific training.

What programs can I participate in to learn about venture formation, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of technology and business?
  • The Undergraduate Technology Innovation Fellows Program is an application-based collaborative initiative between Harvard SEAS and Harvard Business School that seeks to bridge technology and entrepreneurship through courses, workshops, and seminars. Participants build knowledge and capabilities for creating technology startups and leading innovation teams in governmental, nonprofit, or social organizations. 
  • The Venture Program is a resource-rich program, offered through the Harvard Innovation Labs, designed to help current Harvard students and select alumni pursue entrepreneurial ventures while diving deep into the world of innovation.
  • The Lemann Program on Creativity and Entrepreneurship (LPCE) based at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, prepares students to take the lead in solving global challenges by fostering entrepreneurial thinking within liberal arts education. Participating students will learn to address problems, such as global health, climate change, and income equality. Through studio labs and mentoring, students develop the entrepreneurial skills and industry connections to move from ideation to concept to actionable proposals.
Are there Harvard pitch competitions or challenges that SEAS students can enter to receive funding for ventures?
  • The i3 Innovation Challenge through the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH) is a student startup competition held exclusively for Harvard undergraduates to help them realize their innovative visions. Students compete for awards, prizes, incubator space, and grants, including the prestigious McKinley Family grants for entrepreneurial leadership in commercial and social enterprise. 
  • The President's Innovation Challenge is a call to action for Harvard students passionate about developing ideas that make a difference. Monetary prizes are awarded to the winners in each venture track.
What other funding opportunities are available for SEAS students launching startups or entrepreneurial ventures?
  • Harvard SEAS undergraduate students can apply for NECTAR program funding to support entrepreneurial projects. Interested students can begin the process by submitting an application to the SEAS Active Learning Labs.
  • Students can apply for LPCE Accelerator Seed Funds and can gain access to targeted resources, expert mentors, as well as a creative entrepreneurial community. Students from all years and concentrations who are determined to proactively create a better normal in the face of today's multiple challenges, including the pandemic, racial injustice, and climate change are welcome to participate. 
Who can I contact for legal advice?

For one-on-one advice, students can book appointments with legal guides through the Harvard Innovation Labs’ office hours appointment calendar.

How can I find out about entrepreneurial career opportunities, such as working for a startup?

SEAS students seeking career advice should schedule an appointment to meet with the SEAS Office of Student Career Development.

The Harvard Office of Career Services (OCS) is a Harvard-wide resource available to help students explore potential career pathways. Students can view and apply for open opportunities through Crimson Careers, a centralized hub for job and internship posting.

Are there student clubs and organizations that focus on entrepreneurship?

There are a variety of student-led clubs and organizations that focus on entrepreneurship. The Harvard College Ventures (HV) and Harvard Undergraduate Capital Partners are two student-led organizations that work with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs. 

Harvard's entrepreneurs benefit greatly from our proximity to Boston and the startup communities surrounding our campuses. Learn more about the resources available on campus and in the region through the resource lists below.

Harvard Office of Technology Development list of resources: Resources for Entrepreneurs

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