Among the many summer programs that aim at teaching students the basics of entrepreneurship, there’s the Cambridge-based accelerator delta v, a longtime initiative of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.
Unlike traditional summer accelerator programs, the focus of the program is on teaching entrepreneurial skills, not launching new ventures, said Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center.
“Most accelerators are investor accelerators… Their core purpose is creating companies,” Aulet said. “We’re not in that business: We’re an educational institution, we’re about creating entrepreneurs.”
The 2017 edition, which kicked off last week, counts 21 teams. One team is from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM), where students won a spot at the delta v program as the first prize of a student startup competition.
For the first time, the program includes the MIT NYC Startup Studio, a second headquarter in SoHo, New York City. Designed to be a base for startups with a focus on fintech, fashion or real estate, the studio will be open to every student who needs to travel to the Big Apple as part of the developing of his or her venture.
Here’s a snapshot of the 2017 cohort:
The delta v program consists of three phases called, respectively, Customer, Product and Venture. During the first 30 days, students understand what problem they want to solve thanks to carefully structured interviews. During phase two, they build a prototype of the product they want to sell. Then, they focus on the business plan for their startups by deciding, for example, how to price the product and what skillsets they need to add to the team.
Students, who receive $2,000 every month to work on their startups, have the freedom to change their venture idea during the summer. The only strict requirement is that to be eligible to apply for the program, at least one member of the team has to be an MIT student.
The name delta v – really MIT-ish – recalls the symbol that in physics is given to a change in velocity. In other words: acceleration.