The Incubator@Williams Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship

What is WSIE?: 

This summer we are piloting an Incubator Program where student teams will work full time on their venture idea as part of the Williams Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship (WSIE).  Any venture idea is eligible as long as it’s big enough to require a robust customer discovery process but not so big that little progress can be made.  

Why participate in WSIE?:

Summer (in the Berkshires) is the perfect time to work on your venture ideas!  Creativity is in the air, in the dirt, and in the water!  The focus of the Incubator Program is the customer discovery and product development phase of the venture process, although it is possible that some teams may go further along in that process.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Deep understanding of how to develop an idea and ready it for the launch of a business.
  • Project leadership and management.
  • Highly relevant career tools: Business Model Canvas, Agile, Design Thinking, Presentation, networking, and more.
  • Creative confidence and self confidence.
  • Answer the question – “Is my idea viable?”

Program Outline:

Create Student Teams: 

  • Teams must have at least 2 people and a 5 person maximum to apply for WSIE Incubator. Primary criteria will be that the idea is in its very early phase and has enough substance to make for a valuable experience.  The start of a good idea. Teams will work full time on their venture idea (30-35/hrs week minimum).

Application Process:

  • To enroll in the WSIE your team needs to meet with Tonio to be accepted and fill out this FORM.
  • To receive funding ($3,800):
    • Please complete THIS application. 
    • Obtain a completed “Employer Verification” form from Tonio.
    • Upload these documents via the ASIP portal HERE.
    • Deadlines are the same as the ASIP deadlines for funding.

Summer Housing:

  • Students are encouraged to spend the summer on campus and are eligible for summer housing.  You must apply for this separately HERE.

Time Frame:

  • The eight-week program should be started by June 15th. Teams will work a minimum of of 30hrs/week.

Supervision of Teams:

  • All teams will employ Agile project management (Asana, etc.) and will meet with Tonio at a minimum of once a week.

Provided Workshops:

  • Business Model Canvas
  • Agile Project Management (Asana, etc.)
  • Design Thinking
  • Customer Discovery
    • Networking
    • Asking the right questions

The Creative Process:

  • Visit local arts organizations like Jacob’s Pillow, to discuss the creative process in the arts.
  • Visit other local organizations depending upon your ideas being developed.
  • Explore the startup ecosystem in the Berkshires.

During the summer you will:

  • Attend weekly project up-date meetings.
  • Maintain and use the Asana board throughout the summer.
  • Post answers to the three up-date questions on EphLink.
  • Participate in all workshops and trainings.
  • Conduct at least 15 customer discovery type interviews.
  • Donor write-up of summer experience.
  • Final presentation – an 8 min pitch to qualified alumni angel investors or funders.
  • Have fun!