Batten Institute

Batten Institute - Ventures - Batten Innovation Grant

Batten Innovation Grants

Batten Innovation Grants provide direct financial support to student-led, early-stage entrepreneurial projects. Currently enrolled Darden students in both the Residential MBA and Executive MBA formats may apply. Grant funds may only be used for expenses directly related to developing an entrepreneurial idea or new venture, such as: to build, test, and develop prototypes; purchase market-research services; access technical and legal support resources; engage software developers or engineers.

Each of the three grant levels: Explore, Create and Innovate, is awarded in five annual grant application cycles (see pull-down menu below). Applications for an Explore grant are approved by the Batten Institute. Applications for the Create and Innovate grants are reviewed and approved by the student-led Innovation Grants Committee (IGC).

Important Note for Students Who Receive Financial Aid or Hold an Outstanding Balance

Students who receive financial aid or hold an outstanding balance with Darden must contact the Darden Financial Aid Office prior to applying for a Batten Innovation Grant.
 

For more information about the Batten Innovation Grants program, contact Sandra McCutcheon, Assistant Director of Venture Programs.

Grant Information

  • Explore ($250 grant, one per student per academic year)

    Designed for entrepreneurial students in the early stages of customer discovery: hypothesis development, customer interviews, evaluation, and refinement. Applications are online-only and approved by the Batten Institute.

    REQUIRED DOCUMENTS (submitted as attachments):

    • Project timeline
    • Spending plan

    ONLINE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

    • Describe the problem and who experiences the problem.
    • Describe your idea.
    • Tell us about your team (short bio and specific role with the project).
    • Describe your plan for interviewing customers. How do you plan on connecting with and interviewing between 25 (for B2B ideas) and 50 customers (B2C ideas)?
    • Describe how these funds will directly support your project.
       

    Explore Grant Application Form

    POST-GRANT REQUIREMENT

    Submit a one-page final report to the Batten Institute administrator no later than 90 days from the date grant monies are issued. The report should detail the results of the project, including a final budget that identifies all spent funds and any unspent funds. Recipients should be prepared to answer any follow-up questions regarding their use of funds and progress. 

     

    EXPLORE GRANT APPLICATION AND NOTIFICATION TIMELINE 2021-22

    Application Deadline Explore Notification Date
    Tues 12 October 2021 Fri 29 October 2021
    Tues 9 November 2021 Fri 26 November 2021
    Tues 11 January 2022 Fri 28 January 2022
    Tues 8 February 2022 Fri 25 February 2022
    Tues 8 March 2022 Fri 25 March 2022

     

  • Create ($500 grant, maximum two per student per academic year)

    Designed for entrepreneurial students in the prototype development phase. Applications are online only and approved by the student-led Innovation Grants Committee (IGC).

    REQUIRED DOCUMENTS (submitted as attachments):

    • Project timeline
    • Spending plan

    ONLINE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

    • Describe the problem and who experiences the problem.
    • Describe your idea.
    • Tell us about your team and why you are the right team to solve the problem.
    • Describe your customer discovery process; how many people did you interview, what you learned, and what evidence you have for product-market fit.
    • What alternative products/services are currently on the market and why are customers currently dissatisfied? What makes your product/service unique?
    • What are your assumptions and how will your prototype help test these assumptions.
    • Once your prototype is complete, what is your plan for pilot or beta testing your product/service?
    • What is your current stage of product development?
    • Describe your proposed prototype and how are you going to build it.
    • List your additional sources of funding.
    • Describe how these funds will directly support building your prototype.

    Create Grant Application Form

    POST GRANT REQUIREMENT

    Submit a one-page progress report to the IGC at the halfway point of the submitted timeline, in addition to a 1-2 page final report at the end of the project timeline. The final report should identify all spent funds and any unspent funds, and recipients should be prepared to answer any follow-up questions regarding the use of funds.

    CREATE GRANT APPLICATION AND NOTIFICATION TIMELINE 2021-22

    Application Deadline Create Notification Date
    Tues 12 October 2021 Fri 5 November 2021
    Tues 9 November 2021 Fri 10 December 2021
    Tues 11 January 2022 Fri 4 February 2022
    Tues 8 February 2022 Fri 4 March 2022
    Tues 8 March 2022 Fri 8 April 2022

     

  • Innovate ($2,500 grant, one per student per academic year)

    Designed to support student entrepreneurs who have a prototype and are ready to validate their product/service needs. Innovate Grant applicants must have been awarded the Create Grant and completed the post-Create Grant requirements prior to applying for the Innovate Grant. Applications are online only and approved by the student-led Innovation Grants Committee (IGC).

    REQUIRED DOCUMENTS (submitted as attachments):

    • An exec summary with milestones
    • 1-2 minute elevator video pitch
    • Pitch deck (no greater than X slides)
    • Project timeline
    • Spending plan.
    • An online demo (if available)

    ONLINE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

    • Describe the progress you’ve made since your last application and submit an updated project timeline.
    • How did you use the previous funds?
    • Have you made any changes to the team? If yes, please describe.
    • How have you addressed feedback from the IGC (if applicable)?
    • Describe the customer market where you will test/validate your product/service need. What is your strategy for pilot or beta testing your product/service?
    • If you already have a product/service in the market, what have you learned? What do you need to know?
    • List your additional sources of funding.
    • Describe how these funds will directly support validating your prototype.
       

    POST GRANT REQUIREMENT

    Submit a one-page progress report to the IGC at the halfway point of the submitted timeline, in addition to a 1-2 page final report at the end of the project timeline. The final report should identify all spent funds and any unspent funds, and recipients should be prepared to answer any follow-up questions regarding the use of funds.


    INNOVATE GRANT APPLICATION AND NOTIFICATION TIMELINE 2020-21

    Application Deadline Create Notification Date
    Tues 9 November 2021 Thurs 9 December 2021
    Tues 11 January 2022 Thurs 3 February 2022
    Tues 8 February 2022 Thurs 3 March 2022
    Tues 8 March 2022 Thurs 7 April 2022