Relaunching the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association: introducing Berkeley StEP

By Luca Cosentino and Adam Brudnick

The unlocked potential of UC Berkeley is astonishing.

It doesn’t take long to be captivated by the basement of the Moffit Library, the place where students transform long CS group assignments into fun projects. When students get together the potential is massive: if you don’t believe me, I encourage you to attend the Mobile Developers’ App Fair or Cal Hacks to see how much talent UC Berkeley produces every year (hint: >10x as much as what you think).

But even with all this talent, things aren’t perfect. The challenge is that too often, lines of code or customer acquisition plans die within the walls of a class assignment or a research project, without ever seeing the light of day.

This makes it almost impossible for other students or potential investors to get to know the project or the people behind it, and that keeps these potential unicorns imaginary. Even more, the severe decentralization of Cal’s startup ecosystem increases the perceived barrier of an entrepreneurial experience, resulting most ideas being abandoned before they’re given their fair shake. Surprisingly enough, this is equally common for undergrads and grads, whether they’re in the technical or business communities.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about starting a company but gave up because you didn’t think you had what it took, couldn’t find the right team, weren’t sure about the idea, or couldn’t figure out the next step.

We’ve been there, and we want to help. At BEA, we feel the responsibility of helping students become entrepreneurs. That’s our core mission, and that’s why we’re so excited about what we’re sharing today.

We are proud to announce Berkeley StEP, the largest-ever, pre-acceleration, program for Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley students can apply whether or not they have a team or an idea; during the team formation period, applicants will be matched with potential co-founders with complimentary skill sets and will go through a period of 10 weeks in which you will ideate, prototype, and present your MVP, while laying the groundwork to get ready for pre-seed funding from the likes of, ie, Dorm Room Fund, the House, Skydeck… making it your very first “step” into entrepreneurship.

Why StEP?

👩‍❤️‍👩 Find team members to pursue an idea
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Learn the process of determining product-market fit
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Become a founding member of an early stage company
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Get paired with an Industry Mentor for real-time feedback
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Access an incredible network of Angel Investors, VC’s, and Berkeley Faculty
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Preferred access to local accelerator programs and pre-seed investors
Access startup resources such as cloud credits, discounts

…..without giving up any equity

The program is supported by technical and business students clubs, VCs, mentors, entrepreneurs, and professors across UC Berkeley. We strongly believe that diverse teams can find the most innovative solutions, and that’s why we’ve eaten our own dogfood by building this program with input across the Berkeley ecosystem.

You can find more information around the program, curriculum, resources, prizes, mentors and supporters on the StEP website.

Our first batch will include a very limited number of spots, so we highly encourage you to apply ASAP. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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If you are interested in attending an info-session at UC Berkeley, register here

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If you are interested in being involved, becoming a mentor, or supporting the program, please feel free to reach out to bea@berkeley.edu.

But wait, there’s more: the launch of StEP is happening alongside a full-on reboot of the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association:
– check out our new website
– get in touch with our new team
– join our re-launched facebook group
– subscribe to our Medium publication

Btw….did you know that Shazam, Lime Bike, Blue River, Beats, Apple, eBay, and Intel are only some of the companies started by UC Berkeley founders? UC is the 2nd most entrepreneurial school in the world… together, lets make it #1.

#gobears