Batten Institute

Batten Institute - Ventures - i.Lab Incubator

i.Lab Incubator

The i.Lab Incubator provides a goal-oriented, guided-learning program for student and alumni founders of innovative ventures.

The Incubator is an initiative of the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, with financial support to current students from the University’s “Great and Good” entrepreneurship initiative. The Incubator supports UVA founders committed to building and growing early-stage ventures they want to see in the world with cohort-based strategic operational, legal, mentoring and financial support.

Suited to teams of one to three people at the stage of testing, iterating and validating solutions to identified problems, the incubator facilitates accelerated venture development through a cohort-based experiential summer program for up to 30 teams. The Incubator offers an immersive experience for founders with a passion for addressing problems with meaningful solutions. Founders are expected to have a version of a solutiona minimum viable product (MVP)by June for consideration for admission.

View profiles of current and previous cohorts

How to Apply:

Before applying, please review program expectations and criteria for admission found below. 

***Application for 2024 Incubator is now closed***



  • Baseline grant funding available from the Incubator and/or UVA entrepreneurship initiative for current student teams
  • Additional funding may be available from individual schools on a per student basis. For questions related to additional funding please see below contacts:
  • Intensive in-person kick-off week and mid-summer gathering week
  • Demo Night where founders present progress and make connections
  • Workshops, online resources and special events
  • Mentorship and advisory support from experienced founders and industry experts  
  • Access to coworking space, community, and connections
  • Immersion in the principles of effectuation


The UVA Incubator Approach:

The i.Lab Incubator program is divided into three phases:(U)nderstand, (V)alidate, & (A)ccelerate. Each phase is designed to systematically advance the development and success of ventures. 

  • Understand: Focuses on developing a deep understanding of the problem being solved 

    • Spring phase: March-May 
    • Incorporate your venture
    • Online community participation
    • Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) Support 
  • Validate: Aimed at validating the venture's value proposition and business model 

    • Summer phase: June-August
    • Two In-person Intensive Weeks 
    • Check Ins & Workshops
    • Mentoring 
    • Demo Day
  • Accelerate: Concentrates on accelerating the venture's growth and scaling the business

    • Fall phase: September-November
    • Focus on brand evolution, revenue, and customer growth
    • Submit applications for funding & in-kind support

Program Expectations:

  • MVP (or initial/working version) by the beginning of the Validate Phase and commitment to consistent product/service development for the duration of the program
  • Continued focus on iterating the product/service
  • Progress on plan to accomplish goals, outcomes, and deliverables
  • Attendance at in-person intensive week (3-6 June), mid-summer gathering week (8-11 July), and Demo Showcase (7-8 August) in Charlottesville 
  • Deep engagement in regular programming, including speakers and other topical workshops and deep dives
  • Joining weekly check-ins (approximately two hours) with Incubator staff and peer founders
  • Being a positive and contributing member of, and resource to, the cohort
  • Working with your assigned mentor to conduct at least three meetings


Criteria for Admission:

  • The lead founder is a current student of UVA, graduate of UVA, or UVA faculty/staff in a full-time position with the ability to focus on the venture during Validate phase 
  • Team size is one to three people
  • Minimum viable product/service (an “MVP” or version one) completed prior to Validate phase. A team cannot proceed to the Validate phase lacking an MVP. Founders must show either having an MVP or a clear path to its completion prior to summer 
  • Actively pursuing revenue opportunities or in an active pilot with potential customer(s). For ventures without an MVP, demonstrate traction attaining Earlyvangelist(s) 
    • In some situations, ventures working on scientific or medical products must demonstrate alternative progress, such as a non-provisional patent application or a scientific publication
  • For graduating Second Year Darden students, priority will be given to those with demonstrated commitment to their ventures

2024 Timeline:

  • January 23rd: Online Application Opens
  • February 2nd: Rolling interviews begin. After applying, you will receive an email to schedule an interview for any of the provided dates that are at least 8 days following your application submission. Applicants can anticipate a response within two weeks after their scheduled interview. 

  • March: Understand phase begins  
  • April 30th: Application closes

  • June 3-6th: Validate Phase Kick Off Intensive

  • July 8-11th: Mid-summer Intensive  

  • August 7-8th: Demo Showcase  

  • September through November: Accelerate phase


For questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Anya Eisenfrats, program manager.