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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding the Venture Lab. If you have a question that is not included in the FAQ, please email

  • What is the Venture Lab?

    The Venture Lab is a semester-long course designed to support graduate students and upper-level undergraduates at The New School in developing financially sustainable ventures that address critical societal challenges and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact. Student teams accepted to the Venture Lab will receive academic credit for their participation in the course.

    How do I apply to the Venture Lab?

    Prospective applicants are encouraged to RSVP to attend an Info Session before the application deadline. If you would like to apply to the Venture Lab, please review the Application Information on the website and submit your completed application by October 4, 2018.


    Can I apply to the Venture Lab as an individual student, or must I have a team?

    Preference will be given to teams that submit a strong application, but individuals may also apply. At least one team member must be a current graduate student or upper undergraduate in good standing at The New School. Additional team members may include individuals who are not students. Successful applicants to the Venture Lab will not only present an innovative way of addressing a critical social issue but also explain why they have what it takes to succeed as a team. We believe strong teams are composed of individuals with shared values and complementary strengths. For this reason, the selection criteria for the Venture Lab include the ability to collaborate and build a team.

    Can my teammates enroll in the Venture Lab course if they are not currently students at The New School?

    Yes, teams selected for the Venture Lab must be willing and able to enroll team members in the course, which will take place on campus in New York City during the spring semester. Team members who are not currently enrolled at The New School may take the course as continuing education students (either for credit or on a noncredit basis) if they live in the greater New York City area.

    Is the Venture Lab open to teams that are tackling global social issues, or must applicants focus on social issues within the United States?

    The Venture Lab is open to teams tackling complex social and environmental issues in both domestic and global contexts. It is important that teams have access to the community they intend to serve. The New School defines impact entrepreneurship as an innovative and financially sustainable approach to addressing an unmet social, economic, or environmental need, such as better healthcare, sanitation, education, or financial security. The venture may take the form of a new product, service, technological application, or program and may be structured as a for-profit company, nonprofit, or cooperative enterprise. Regardless of the form it takes, the innovation must improve the quality of life of people in measurable ways and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact.

    What is required of teams selected for the Venture Lab course?

    Participation in the Venture Lab represents a significant time commitment. Teams must ensure that at least one team member meets the following requirements:

    1. Attendance at an orientation on Friday, November 30, 2018, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm
    2. Attendance at weekly Venture Lab class sessions during the spring 2019 semester
    3. Satisfactory completion of all Venture Lab course assignments
    4. Willingness to spend an average of eight to ten hours per week building an enterprise (this includes course sessions as well as work outside the Venture Lab)
    5. Willingness to support the work of other Venture Lab participants


      What do you mean by “tested proof of concept"?

      By “tested proof of concept,” we are referring to evidence of your conclusions about the challenge you have defined or the idea you have developed to address this problem. Ideally, your work should reflect the needs of real people with specific challenges. Help us connect the dots so that we can understand your concept, by showing us where or how you have obtained this evidence. Does your evidence consist of direct personal experience, conversations with the people you intend to serve, or data you have gathered attesting to this need? There are various methods you can use to test the validity of your idea. We encourage you to review this list of resources to learn more about different approaches to user testing and prototyping. For example, you may wish to create a physical mock-up of your product or a splash page to determine how many people are interested in your venture idea.

      What should I do if I’m selected for the Venture Lab but don’t have space in my program for elective courses?

      If students whose teams are selected to participate in the Venture Lab do not have space for electives in their degree program, they should request permission from their program director to substitute the Venture Lab for a required course in their degree program.

      Do students participating retain rights to work created in the Venture Lab?

      In accordance with The New School’s Intellectual Property Rights Policy, students will own all right, title, and interest in and to any intellectual property rights in the designs, products, projects, and works (collectively, the “Work”) developed throughout the world. Students working on a team will jointly own all right, title, and interest in and to any intellectual property rights in the Work developed by their team throughout the world. Additional information about the university’s policy on Intellectual property rights can be found on the provost’s website.

      What kind of mentorship and coaching is offered?

      The Impact Entrepreneurship team has developed strong relationships with a wide range of faculty, alumni, and members of the broader impact entrepreneurship ecosystem in New York City. Venture Lab participants will have numerous opportunities to interact with mentors and advisors in various formats, including weekly course sessions, individual team meetings, and conversations with subject matter experts. Each team will work closely with a mentor, who will attend weekly course sessions with Venture Lab participants.