While it can sometimes seem like college is a time to hone your skills in preparation for future endeavors, there are numerous opportunities on and around Grounds to help you engage in entreprenuerial endeavors while still in school. No matter the project, you’ll find places to work, collaborate, and share your ideas with liked-minded peers. With the resources below, you’ll find everything from funding to mentorship and learn how to gain the support you need to transform your passion into something concrete and marketable, even before earning your degree.
When beginning to foray into the world of undergraduate entrepreneurship, one of the best places to begin in U.Va.’s own entrepreneurship-focused website. This site is a one-stop shop for competitions, grants, organizations, and other resources for students pursuing their own business venture. Even if you don’t know exactly what kind of support or tools you need for your project, you’ll likely find something useful here!
Hackcville is an organization that many students have heard about, yet few students seem to be able to describe what it is or what the people within the Hackcville community do. And that’s likely because there is so, so much going on in those two buildings on Elliewood Avenue. Hackcville offers programs to help students learn a skill and organizes “startup trips” for students to meet with alumni and executives from various startups in cities like Austin, New York, and San Francisco. It also serves as an incubator of sorts, helping students with an entrepreneurial spirit get the support and resources they need to make their idea into a tangible reality.
The i.Lab invites entrepreneurs and innovators, regardless of affiliation with the university, to come together to build their vision. If you need a workspace to get you through the prototyping phase of your invention, require funding to move your project forward, are seeking a mentor to guide you on the entrepreneurship track, or feel that you need a program to further your knowledge of what it means to build your own business — the i.Lab has it all.
Works in Progress
Students seeking entrepreneurship opportunities can find a community of similarly driven, business-focused students and alumni at “Works in Progress.” Their workspace, colloquially known as “The Lighthouse,” brings together passionate people pursuing various projects, and helps connect students with entrepreneurial competitions and grants.
You don't need to be a student in the Comm School to minor in entrepreneurship within McIntire. The university offers both a Technology Entrepreneurship concentration, supported by coursework from the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, as well as a Social Entrepreneurship concentration. If you’re interested in using your engineering skills to build your own business, perhaps consider minoring in entrepreneurship, and take a look at the required coursework here.
UVA Licensing & Ventures Group
The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group is constantly seeking innovation, in the hopes of growing the intellectual property of the university. They can help students navigate the legal and patent process, assist in marketing projects to a larger community, and more. Essentially, students can use this as a pipeline to efficiently get their ideas into the marketplace and more quickly impact the world.
Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group (EVC)
The EVC seeks to better integrate the Darden school with the rest of the university community by bringing together student entrepreneurs and MBA students. It offers opportunities for mentorship, serves as a resource for finding careers and competitions related to entrepreneurship, and hosts various networking events to bring together the innovators from various parts of the University.
Virginia Venture Fund
As one of the first student-run venture capital groups in the country, the Virginia Venture Fund offers a unique opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship. The organization can be broken down into two main branches, one of which focuses on educating students about venture capital, growth equity, and related fields. The other, newer division, called V Accelerate, helps students get their projects off the ground while they’re still living on Grounds.
So, regardless of your major, your project, or how far your project has progressed, there are resources available to help take your vision to the next level. And, there are other students using these resources and delving into entrepreneurial projects, eager to offer support and mentorship. Don’t let your undergraduate status hinder you from building your own business venture — take the resources available to you and make your ideas into reality!