Harvard Business School Launches Fund to Invest In Lean Startup Model

12/21/10Follow @xconomy

Harvard Business School announced today that it is launching a $50,000 fund to help student startups roll out prototypes in the winter months. The Minimum Viable Product Fund, which was proposed by three first-year MBA students and is funded by the school’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, will award 10 teams with about $5,000 apiece in the winter semester.

The new fund focuses on the “lean startup” model developed by Eric Ries, this year’s HBS entrepreneur in residence, which focuses on rapid prototyping to bring products to market as soon as possible. Students who receive funding are required to meet with a faculty mentor and other teams in the program monthly, and present what they learned throughout the funding process at the end of the semester. The size of each individual award may vary, but none will exceed $10,000, according to the announcement. Teams much include at least one current HBS student to be eligible.

“For entrepreneurially-minded students at HBS, this fund alleviates the financial barrier preventing them from building initial prototypes or test products,” said Dan Rumennik, a student who proposed the fund, in the university announcement. “This is the greatest challenge for people with an idea but no money. It also encourages students to start businesses while in school and to connect with more of their peers who want to do so as well.”

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