The University of Colorado Boulder’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship this fall will pilot a new Entrepreneurs In Residence program to bring mentorship to students and allow entrepreneurs domestically and from around the world to be part of Colorado’s vibrant startup community.
The program joins an array of established startup resources at CU-Boulder available to the campus community.
“CU-Boulder is proud to be one of the nation’s top entrepreneurial universities,” said Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor of CU-Boulder. “The Entrepreneurs In Residence program will further build our momentum, which includes a range of activities across the campus, and will bring entrepreneurs from around the world to CU-Boulder.”
Up to four seasoned or emerging entrepreneur-applicants from around the world, as well as the U.S., will be considered for the program in its first year. The selected entrepreneurs’ duties will entail up to 20 hours of work per week on campus and a stipend of up to $25,000 per academic year.
Consistent with university policy and applicable law, entrepreneurs in the program will be free to work on their existing entrepreneurial ventures or start a new company in one of the best entrepreneurial communities in the world.
The selected entrepreneurs, who initially will be offered one-year appointments that could extend to a total of three years — will be mentors, meeting one-on-one with enterprising CU-Boulder students, faculty and staff across campus to give guidance on everything from creating a business model to raising capital, building prototypes and acquiring customers.
They also will involve themselves in community engagement, contributing to other programs on campus, such as the New Venture Challenge, and engaging the entrepreneurial community.
“The EIR program promises to bring top international talent to Boulder, enriching the campus and the startup community,” said Feld. “With the level of entrepreneurial energy in Boulder and Colorado more generally, the EIR program is well positioned to succeed and better connect the campus to the overall ecosystem.”
Noncitizens selected for the program will be sponsored by CU-Boulder as their employer, making them eligible to apply for an H-1B visa or other appropriate visa. The H-1B visa permits foreigners to work in specialty occupations in the United States on a temporary basis.
With its ability to support additional H-1B visa classifications, the CU-Boulder EIR program is one of only a handful of known programs of its kind in the country.
“The EIR program will bring outside talent to campus to mentor students engaged in a range of projects requiring an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Phil Weiser, dean of the University of Colorado Law School and executive director and founder of Silicon Flatirons. “It will also offer a unique opportunity to EIRs both to work on their companies in a tremendous community and, for those seeking authorization to stay in the United States, CU-Boulder’s EIR program will enable them to do so.”
Silicon Flatirons also hosts the Colorado Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, which is supported by a $3 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to mentor emerging entrepreneurial companies, and Startup Colorado, which builds relationships and programming across the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
The EIR program is open to entrepreneurs with graduate and undergraduate degrees preferably in technical or business disciplines. Applicants will be judged on their entrepreneurial experience, leadership capabilities, the promise of their current or envisioned company and their ability to serve as a mentor.