Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between the College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, will launch the Bobcat Seed Fund this month to provide grants up to $3,000 to support promising ideas and ventures proposed by Ohio University student entrepreneurs, according to a news release.

This program is made possible by a $25,000 Innovation Grant from OU President M. Duane Nellis’ office, a portion of which has been designated for the Bobcat Seed Fund during the current academic year.

“The Bobcat Seed Fund is one of the most exciting programs the Center for Entrepreneurship has been able to launch to date,” Paul Mass, the Center’s director, said in the release. “We are always looking to support university students with ideas, passions or an existing business. Now we can supplement the guidance we have always provided with grants of money. That can make a real difference to these students.”

The Fund’s Investment Committee will be composed of 10 diverse and talented Ohio University students, Mass and Associate Director Paul Benedict, the release said.

“Ohio University students have some fantastic ideas and are willing to work hard to make their dreams a reality,” President Nellis said in the release. “The Innovation Grant and the Bobcat Seed Fund can provide an important jump-start that our students can use, along with their world-class education, to hit the ground running after they graduate.”

A program description and application form is now available at www.bobcatseedfund.com, and the Center is currently accepting applications.

“I am genuinely excited to be part of the Fund’s Investment Committee. I hope there is a lot of interest on the part of the Ohio University students and we review many compelling proposals. I would love to see how far the Fund and successful student entrepreneurs can go,” Morgan Parker, a student member of the committee, said in the release.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to demonstrate a committed team or individual founder with relevant experience, skill or passion for their idea. Additionally, applicants need a clear and simple statement of the business opportunity or idea and a compelling “value proposition” to clarify why someone should buy their product or service. 

The committee’s evaluation of an application will often include an in-person interview with the applicant, during which the committee can ask questions and request additional information, as well as offer advice and suggestions that might strengthen the proposal. 

“We have put together an outstanding representative group of OHIO students to lead the evaluation of these applications,” Benedict said in the release. “As a result, we hope the decisions made will reflect diverse perspectives and ideas particularly relevant to the student population.”

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