It’s that time of year when graduation invitations start popping up in the mailbox, when happy college and high school kids begin the countdown-to-freedom on their Facebook pages.

It’s summer.

If you’re a student and you’re entrepreneurial-minded and you aren’t already locked into summer classes, summer camps, an internship or a job serving ice cream at Dairy Kastle, the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) has an alternative.

Kentucky FoundersLab launches this summer; it’s a business accelerator program for student entrpreneurs.

And the application period is closing soon: May 17.

The 13-week program provides structured mentoring for each team accepted, as well as seed funding of up to $11,000 for the student-led businesses.

This is for early-stage, innovation-driven student-run businesses. Solo entrepreneurs are invited to apply, but the program prefers to accept small teams. Each team needs to have at least one full-time secondary school, college or university student as a member.

And yes, if you’re accepted, you really do get paid. According to the KSTC website: “The Company will receive $3,000 per founder for up to three founders over the course of the program. The Company will also receive an additional $2,000 at the start of the program for general company expenses.”

But this isn’t easy money– it’s not easy to get accepted and once you do, the schedule is grueling. You’re expected to put in a minimum of 20 hours per week per person, plus attend five in-person meetings over the course of the summer, not including the final Demo Day.

FoundersLab employs the Lean LaunchPad methodology, designed to rapidly iterate development of a successful business model. In between your in-person meetings, you’ll be:

  • Watching Lean LaunchPad videos for the week
  • Completing reading on the customer development and business model generation – The Startup Owner’s Manual (Blank) and Business Model Generation (Osterwalder), both provided by the FoundersLab
  • Conducting interviews with potential customers, partners, domain experts, and competitors
  • Developing & refining your business model using the Business Model Canvas tool
  • Developing the first iteration of your product
  • Modifying your Company’s product as dictated by the evolution of your business model and customer interaction
  • Communicating regularly with your assigned mentor

The schedule for the program is below. The meeting places are TBD and may be anywhere in the Lexington, Louisville or Cincinnati area. You are required to have your own transportation there.

  • Friday, May 17:  Applications close
  • Thurs May 23 and Friday May 24:  Interviews
  • Friday, May 31:   Decisions announced
  • Monday, June 17, 6-9pm:  Meeting #1
  • Wednesday, June 26, 6-9pm:  Meeting #2
  • Monday, July 8, 6-9pm:  Meeting #3
  • Wednesday, July 17, 6-9pm:  Meeting #4
  • Monday, July 29, 6-9pm:  Meeting #5–Final meeting, wrap up
  • Thursday, Aug 15:   Demo Day
Still not sure? There’s more information available on the KSTC website. And you can learn more about accelerators in general by attending next Monday’s #OpenCoffeeLou, which will have a guest panel speaking on accelerators.