From the beginning, Startup UCLA has sought to develop a culture of startup thinking on campus, to connect students with alumni who are successful in the startup world, to give students opportunities to learn the basics of startup thinking, and to provide a community in which students can develop and launch their early-stage ideas. It quickly became evident that UCLA students/alumni are passionate about being entrepreneurs by the attendance at on-campus entrepreneurship events, the growing number of Summer Accelerator applications each year, and the creation of student groups such as Bruin Entrepreneurs.
BY THE NUMBERS
Startup UCLA was established in 2012 with the first Summer Accelerator for UCLA students/alumni to develop their tech-startups during a ten-week highly intensive program. The Summer Accelerator provides early-stage startups with a workspace and guidance by top entrepreneurs, investors and skill experts. The ten-week program incorporates best practices and knowledge in entrepreneurship, technology, and design. The teams travel to the Bay Area to visit venture capital firms and startup entrepreneurs, making valuable connections while getting constructive feedback on their pitches from industry professionals. The culminating event is Demo Day when the teams pitch to our growing network of local entrepreneurs and investors.
Being awarded the three-year Blackstone LaunchPad grant with UCI, USC, and LAEDC was seen as an opportunity for UCLA to bring in a high-quality structured program that directly strengthens current opportunities and would add to the entrepreneurial resources offered to UCLA students/alumni by Startup UCLA. The Blackstone LaunchPad introduces entrepreneurship as a viable career option with focus on students who are earlier in the entrepreneurial education process. Through venture consultant meetings, mentoring, workshops, and events, the Blackstone LaunchPad helps students use their education to start new businesses, find viable careers in entrepreneurship, and create jobs. Through the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCLA and the Summer Accelerator, Startup UCLA provides a community in which students/alumni can develop and launch their ideas.