The Get Seeded Program: How to Receive Funding to Start a Business at the U

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Jack Gambassi

Noah Gottlieb (right) and Eli Wolk, who run Elijah’s Deli, present at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute’s Get Seeded event held at Lassonde Studios on campus in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Stevie Shaughnessey, News Writer

 

Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah offers a program to students that not many other universities have — the Get Seeded Program.

This program helps encourage those who have any sort of business idea to test out their product or service with funding from the U. There are two types of grants students are able to apply for: the micro-grant and the regular grant. The micro-grant supports funding up to $500 and the regular grant permits funding anywhere from $501 to $1500 for business ideas.

Students can apply for this grant any number of times, and this program isn’t exclusive, allowing any student at the U with an idea to apply for funding.

Anne Bastien, director of programs at Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, said that once the student’s application is reviewed and approved, they then pitch their idea in front of an audience in order to obtain a grant.

“They get invited to a pitch selection meeting,” Bastien said. “It’s a virtual meeting where each applicant can pitch their milestone that they’re hoping to gain and then from there, they will either be selected to receive the micro-grant or they’ll be selected to go on to a live pitch event for the $1,500 grant.”

According to Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, the Get Seeded Program encourages students to learn how to be entrepreneurs and run businesses by giving them the help they need to start.

“Get Seeded is really this micro-grant fund that’s designed to help get the momentum going and get the inertia going in a positive direction,” D’Ambrosio said. “It’s not a competition. It’s more about creating a milestone that would help you learn something about your idea [and] about your business.”

D’Ambrosio said Lassonde Studios also offers many resources to people involved and wanting to get involved in the Get Seeded Program that are designed to guide and offer advice to student entrepreneurs.

“We have the prototyping facility at Lassonde studios, we have workshops, we have hours with experts in which any student can talk to a lawyer, a prototyping specialist and a marketing specialist,” D’Ambrosio said. “They’re available to all [in] the company launch program.”

Carson Young, a fourth-year finance student at the U, is the founder and CEO of Foam, a company with a 24-hour turnaround service that will pick up, wash, and drop off your laundry for $10 a week. Young said that Get Seeded helped him buy the materials he needed to run his business.

“We got our first Get Seeded Grant and ordered out Foam bags,” Young said. “We ordered $1,500 worth from a supplier in China directly from the grant.”

According to Young, his experience with Get Seeded and having to pitch his ideas prepared him for a career in the business world after college.

“That skill of standing up, pitching an idea and then waiting for feedback teaches you a lot in any aspect of life, specifically with business, like if you’re going to pitch something to an investor or pitch it to your boss,” Young said.

The next application for the Get Seeded program is due Nov. 1, and there are plenty of opportunities during the school year for students to apply for a grant, said Bastien.

“The applications are all online and they’re open all of the time with the exception of December and August, so we just have 10 a year,” Bastien said. “Students can go on anytime and open an application and get started.”

Young said people tend to think it’s more complicated but those who apply for Get Seeded don’t need a lot to get started.

“All you need is an idea,” Young said. “There are kids that win that have literally sketches on a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter as long as you have a good idea.”

For students who are thinking about applying for the Get Seeded grant or just have an idea, Young urges them to just start working on their idea, especially while they are at the U and have the chance to use the Get Seeded program.

“Starting in college is not easy,” Young said. “I get that, but Get Seeded helps you get started here because it relieves the financial burden of starting out. We wouldn’t have known if we hadn’t tried.”

 

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@steviechrony