Get up to $27K awarded over time to launch a validated idea or grow your existing company. Requires written application, and if you've received a Traction Grant before, a pitch to investors. Available to Creators members only.
Make sure you’re ready to apply: 1. Have a strong team (or for solo founders, a strong set of advisors 2. Have strong validation of your idea and the opportunity 3. Have a well-defined initial solution, including high-fidelity prototpes or minimum viable product (MVP)
Applications are ongoing and deadlines are monthly. Specific dates appear in your Creators portal once you're a member.
Download "Detailed Checklist" below before applying.
If we think your business is ready and this is your first time getting a Traction Grant, we’ll give you an initial grant up to $2K. If your business is ready and you’ve received a Traction Grant before, you’ll be invited to pitch to our Investment Committee for up to $27K. If not, you'll get specific feedback to improve and apply again.
If you're invited to pitch to the Investment Committee of real investors, we strongly recommend pitching for 6-8 minutes and leaving the rest of the time for questions.
If the Committee doesn’t think you’re ready for a grant, they'll provide feedback so you can improve and apply again.
Align on Goals
Align with the investment committee on growth goals and specific milestones; your achievement will determine future eligibility for grants.
See “Detailed Checklist” for general guidance on milestones you should be thinking about.
Grant money is most commonly awarded first in a $2K sum, then a $5K sum, with the remaining $20K given at varying amounts. All grant recipients are required to provide regular progress updates to the investment committee.
See “Detailed Checklist” for more information on grant amounts & updates.
Once you’ve accomplished the goals and milestones of your grant, apply again (Step 2) for more funds-- as long as you’ve received less than $27K in Traction Grants.
Future pitches will look different-- see “Detailed Checklist” for what your future pitches should cover.
Email Jeff Brown at email@example.com with additional questions
Who is eligible to apply?
Eligibility is determined by these eight areas:
Ownership: If equity has been assigned, a minimum of 20% of the company must be owned by current BYU students (see definition below).
Control: Current BYU students (see definition below) must control a minimum of 51% of the company’s voting rights at the time of application.
Management: Seed Grants are for student-created and student-managed ventures, as such student participants should fill key management roles (Presidency or C-Suite) in the venture.
Revenue: Ventures with cumulative revenues of more than $100,000 are *not* eligible to apply. This includes proceeds from crowdfunding (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc.).
Investment: Companies who have received $250,000+ of investment are *not* eligible to apply.
Prior Participation: Teams may resubmit businesses that have been submitted previously.
Nature of Venture: Ventures cannot be a buyout, an expansion of an existing company, a real estate syndication, a tax shelter, a franchise, a licensing agreement for distribution in a different geographical area, or a spin-out from an existing corporation. Licensing technologies (eg. tech transfer) from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously, but must clearly indicate what was provided by the licensing agreement (patents, partnerships, etc.) before student involvement.
Current Student Status: Qualifying BYU-Provo students must be degree-seeking students enrolled in at least 6 credit hours for undergrads or 3 credit hours for grads in the semester when applying for the grant. Online courses will only count toward the minimum credit requirement if they fulfill graduation and degree-specific requirements.
What types of businesses are a good fit for Seed Grants?
Seed Grants are for businesses that are innovative and scalable. Here are some examples of businesses that are a good fit:
+ tech companies (software or hardware) with big markets and ambition to scale + product/service companies with big markets and ambition to scale
Companies that are NOT a good fit include:
+ consulting, freelance work, and agencies + proven business models with no new innovation + basic online sales or drop-shipping businesses (reselling standard products) + non-scalable craft or hobby businesses (e.g., Etsy store) +real-estate ventures +door-to-door sales businesses
Are you still doing Business Model Competition & New Venture Challenge?
No. Over the past couple of years we have explored expanding grant offerings to help fund student startup efforts. Beginning in 2022 we will be using this approach to replace the Business Model Competition and New Venture Challenge.
Student entrepreneurs who would have entered the BMC or NVC competitions can now submit a similar pitch to present at any of our Investment Committee meetings. The monthly meeting schedule provides greater flexibility and more options for funding throughout the year.
Teams will still have the opportunity to apply to participate in the summer Seed Launchpad program (providing space and more structured mentorship and training programs).
What other resources do you offer startups?
Our other offerings can be found here, at creators.byu.edu, including:
CREATORS: A valuable community of creative and clever people like you. Become a member and get exclusive access to our mentor network, The Slab co-working space & soda bar, our tight-knit community events, and the Creators Slack community.
SANDBOX: Sandbox students spend two semesters working in a small team to build and launch a tech product from scratch-- the best experience those interested in entrepreneurship or tech can get in school.
SEED: A startup accelerator and community for student founders, Seed supports the brightest entrepreneurs, and aspiring entrepreneurs, at BYU
ENTREPRENEURSHIP CLASSES: If you’re looking for a place to get started, we recommend ENT 113 and ENT 101.
How do you have all this money to give away to students?
Our generous donors fund all of our student programs. Seed Grants is especially made possible by Gail and Larry Miller, whose New Venture endowment in excess of $5M is the core funding source for these grants.
How can I use my validation grant?
We encourage you to use validation grant funds for data gathering, validation experiments and low fidelity prototypes (after the customer and pain have been validated).
Validation Grant funds CANNOT be used for the following: + inventory + salaries or contractors + operations + legal or entity formation + anything that is not directly related to validation experiments and data gathering
Can I apply for multiple validation grants?
Yes, but the total amount awarded for a single idea is capped at $500. You can apply for validation grants for multiple ideas but not simultaneously.
What resources do you recommend to learn good validation?
We recommend checking out resources found at www.businessmodelcompetition.com/testvalidate.html
Also come by The Slab and grab a book from our Creators Library! Our recommendations include The Mom Test and Nail It Then Scale It.
How can I use my traction grant?
You can use the money for anything *with the exception of paying founders* that you feel will help your startup gain traction.
Your proposed use of funds is one of the things we’ll be evaluating in your pitch. We recommend using the money to do things such as hire interns, prototype, validate, and advertise.
When does the investment committee meet?
The investment committee meets once per month during fall and winter semesters and once during the summer. Below is the schedule for the winter 2022 semester:
+ Friday, January 28th, noon to 5pm (application deadline: 1/21) + Friday, February 18th, noon to 5pm (application deadline: 2/11) + Friday, March 11th, noon to 5pm (application deadline: 3/4) + Friday, April 8th, noon to 5pm (application deadline: 4/1) + Friday, June 3rd, 1 to 5pm (application deadline: 5/27)
Who is on the investment committee?
The committee consists of some of the Rollins Center directors, entrepreneurship faculty, and VC & angel investors.
How long do I have to pitch for the traction grant?
You will have 20 minutes with the investment committee.
We strongly recommend presenting for 6 (no more than 8!) minutes and leaving the rest for discussion.