Entrepreneurship Studio Program (ESP)

The HMC Entrepreneurship Studio Program (ESP) invites students who want to develop entrepreneurial foundations and ideas. The program embraces entrepreneurship's potential for positive understanding, leadership, and impact. 

The goals of the Studio experience are that each team (1) deepens its understanding of a problem-space and audiences they have identified, (2) sharpens its ideas/solutions, creating prototypes to understand and illuminate those ideas. Team-led exploration and creativity are expected and essential! Also, ESP teams (3) will author pitches, plans, and other communications -- and practice them lots of times!  And, teams (4) will research targetable markets and their accessibility.  In short, the Studio builds foundational skills, both entrepreneurial and technical, valuable along many paths.

To express interest in joining the Studio, your materials should include a team-based proposal.  This page contains additional detail on the proposal parts, as well as a form for submitting your team's proposal. Most teams are 2-4 students who are excited to research and prototype at the overlap of a worthwhile problem and entrepreneurial opportunity.

Here is the link to the Google form where you'll be able to upload your proposal. (A single pdf is perfect. You may need Google credentials. To be sure, only one proposal is needed per team. )

Name of research group, project, or lab
Entrepreneurship Studio
Why join this research group or lab?

Want to work in a group of 2-4 students to create a startup? As part of the Entrepreneurial Studio, you'll resaerch a problem and its stakeholders, come up with ideas, develop prototypes and pitches, and present your vision to a variety of audiences. To enjoy the Studio experience, you'll need to be excited about (A) working in a group and (B) self-teaching/self-learning new skills, e.g., new technical environments, business research, communication skills, etc. 

A previous tradition, named Summer Start Up (SSU), invited computational projects, challenging small teams to see a business idea from spark to web-prototype-and-pitch. 

This program expands that vision. Like SSU, the Studio emphasizes problem-driven research, team-led prototype building, audience-understanding, and skill-building experiences that are foundational to any entrepreneurial venture. Where SSU was computing-specific, the Studio is not. Proposed projects can overlap with any HMC (or other) research area. Studio projects are student-created and -driven, including building expertise with the technologies involved and using them to develop an MVP that captures new ideas.  

With no constraint on research area, each applying team needs to identify an HMC faculty advisor who is interested and able to co-advise their summer Studio effort. The advisor should be knowledgeable (general area) and excited to meet in person with the team on a regular basis over the summer. (All faculty advisors receive a stipend for their role.) The Studio director serves as an additional advisor for all teams and as the coordinator for all Studio-specific experiences. 



Logistics Information:
Project categories
Computer Science
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts
Human-centered Design
Human-Computer Interaction
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

No technical background beyond HMC's first-year core is needed. It is essential to be committed to working in a team, as well as to self-teaching/self-learning new skills.  (In the "optional essay" part of the application, feel free to share a sentence or two on where entrepreneurial efforts will fit into higher ed - or vice versa - say, in 2030.)

Time commitment
Summer - Full Time
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned

Teams balance problem-and-audience research with skill-building, prototype design, and exploratory implementation. In addition to developing and practicing technical skills, teams develop, present, and refine possible business ideas. Informal presentations are frequent. More formally, teams present at HMC Entrepreneurial Network meetings and similar events. 

Contact Information:
Zach Dodds
Name of project director or principal investigator
Zach Dodds
Email address of project director or principal investigator
8 sp. | 2 appl.
Hours per week
Summer - Full Time
Project categories
Biology (+8)
BiologyChemistryComputer ScienceEngineeringHumanities, Social Sciences, and the ArtsMathematicsPhysicsHuman-centered DesignHuman-Computer Interaction