Programs & Funds

Dare to Dream Grants

Dare to Dream is a grant program that moves students through the business creation process by offering business development seminars and awarding $500-$5,000 in grants to individuals and/or student teams. The program requires students to submit deliverables as they are guided through the business development path from a nascent idea to formulating and assessing potential businesses to planning and launching these businesses. The grants program has three phases and students may enter their business into the program at any phase. Once entered the business cannot re-apply for the same phase or a phase before it. Applications are accepted each Fall and Winter. See 'Apply' to decide to which phase you should apply.

Support for the Dare to Dream Grant program is provided by Eugene Applebaum, founder of Arbor Drugs, Inc. and president of Arbor Investments Group. Support for the Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Grant program is provided by Tim Mayleben, CEO and President of Aastrom Biosciences, and his wife Dawn Evans.

Apply

Mayleben Venture Shaping Grants

The Mayleben Venture Shaping grant program takes students through the process of constructing a viable business out of a business idea - a differentiated, sustainable venture that holds commercial promise and that can be launched. Once the business construct is completed, teams may apply for a Dare to Dream Assessment grant to evaluate the feasibility of their business. The program is presented with support from the University's Erb Institute.

Application
Please submit a concise description of the opporutnity or problem to be addressed, the proposed product/service and the uniqueness of the idea on the three-page application. Submit the application in .pdf format with resumes of each team member as a single .pdf document todare2dream@umich.edu by 8 a.m. on September 23, 2016 with the subject line of “<companyname> Shaping”. 

Award and Deliverable Details
Awardees are required to attend office hours and two workshops (Developing Your Business Model Canvas and Conducting Effective Customer Discovery) and will receive up to $500 once the deliverable (a Business Construct) is completed and approved. The process will help to generate a business construct that states what the final product is, who the customers are, and where the venture fits within the value system. The business construct can be submitted to apply for a Dare to Dream Assessment grant.

The Venture Shaping deliverable is due by 8:00 a.m. on December 5, 2016.

Dare to Dream Assessment Grants

Dare to Dream Assessment grants are for student teams with a proposed business that is selling a unique product or service with a clear market need. During the assessment process teams will establish the feasibility of their business in order to gauge whether or not to invest further resources and commit to launching the venture. Once this is established, an Integration grant encourages the creation of a full business plan. 

Application
A four-page business construct must be written on the application that answers the who, what, why and how questions about your business. Submit the application in .pdf format with each team members resume as a single .pdf document to dare2dream@umich.edu by 8 a.m. on September 23, 2016 with the subject line of "<companyname> Assessment". 

Award and Deliverable Details
Awardees are required to attend office hours and three workshops (Identifying & Sizing Your Market, Assessing Financial Feasibility, and Startup Financials) and will receive up to $1,500 once the deliverable (a Feasibility Study) is completed and approved. This will evaluate the market, the financial concerns of the industry, and specific team issues. The feasibility study can be submitted to apply for a Dare to Dream Integration grant. 

The feasibility study is due by 8 a.m. on December 5, 2016.

Dare to Dream Integration Grant

During the Integration grant process teams will write a business plan and create an investor pitch. 

Application
Teams are encouraged to apply for an Assessment grant before apply for an Integration grant in order to complete a viable feasibility study. As part of the application teams are required to have a complete feasibility study conluding the proposed business is viable and must be committed to launching their venture. Submit the application in .pdf format with each team members resume as a single .pdf document to dare2dream@umich.edu by 8 a.m. on September 23, 2016 with the subject line of "<companyname> Integration". 

Award and Deliverable Details
Awardees are required to attend office hours and three workshops (Startup Financials, Startup Funding for First Time Entrepreneurs, and Communicating with Investors) and write a complete 10-page business plan. Grants of up to $5,000 are provided and are paid half upon the award announcement and half upon acceptance of the final deliverable.

The final business plan is due by 8 a.m. on January 30, 2017.

FAQs

1. Are there any requirements for the team structure?

You need a current UM student to apply for any phase. Diverse teams are more favorably reviewed. 

2. Can I be on more than one team and/or apply with more than one idea?

You can, but it is highly discouraged. It instills doubt about commitment, focus, and motivation.

3. Can I apply to more than one phase with the same idea?

No. You must start with one phase. You can apply for the next phase during the next cycle.

4. What kind of businessess are you looking for?

We prefer applications that show innovation, high-growth potential, and committed teams. We discourage restaurants, real estate flippers, and apps.

5. What is the benefit of applying for Venture Shaping instead of Assessment?

Do you know that you have a viable business construct (that you have validated through conversations with users AND customers)? If not, why not get paid to do this?

6. What if the Feasibility Study shows the idea is NOT feasibile?

Your team will still receive the grant money as along as the study is completed properly.

For more information, please refer to the information sessions slides on CTools (under Resources - Dare to Dream) or contact Sarika Gupta (sarikag@umich.edu).