Batten Institute

Batten Institute - Ventures - Batten Innovation Grant

Batten Innovation Grants

Overview

Batten Innovation Grants provide direct financial support to student-led, early-stage entrepreneurial projects. Darden students currently enrolled in the Residential, Executive, or Part-Time MBA program may apply. Grant funds may only be used for expenses directly related to developing an entrepreneurial idea or new venture. Examples include validating assumptions through experimentation, generating customer insights and feedback, building and testing an MVP, and activities that will enable founders to bring a product to market.

Grants will be awarded on two cycles for the 2023-24 academic year -- fall and spring. Details on the spring application cycle (due 27 February 2024) are available below. Applications are online-only and reviewed by a three-member committee composed of Batten Institute and Darden staff.   

Please reach out to Anna Fife at FifeA@darden.virginia.edu with questions or feedback on the Batten Innovation Grant program.


Distribution of Grant Funds and Incorporation
Student applicants are strongly encouraged to establish an incorporated entity to facilitate the distribution of grant funds (if the venture is not already incorporated). Details on that process are available here. Ventures do not need to be incorporated at the time of application. International students should check in with the Batten Institute team prior to pursuing incorporation.


Important Note for Students Who Receive Financial Aid or Hold an Outstanding Balance with the University
Upon application, students who receive financial aid will be prompted to contact the Darden Financial Aid Office regarding their application for a Batten Innovation Grant to discuss the potential impact of personally receiving grant funds.

Spring 2024 Application

APPLICATION DEADLINE // GRANT NOTIFICATION DATE
Tuesday, 27 February 2024 // Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Spring grants are available at two funding levels: Explore ($500) and Innovate ($1500). The larger Innovate Grants are designed to support continued venture development. Applicants for the Innovate Grant must have previously been awarded a Batten Innovation Grant or participated in the University of Virginia Entrepreneurship Cup competition as a precursor to their application. There is no prerequisite to apply for the Explore Grant. Applicants should choose to apply for either the Innovate or Launch grant during the spring cycle, rather than applying for both grants separately.


EXPLORE ($500 GRANT, ONE PER STUDENT/VENTURE PER APPLICATION CYCLE, NOT TO EXCEED TWO PER YEAR)
 


Designed for entrepreneurial students in the early stages of customer discovery – hypothesis development, customer interviews, evaluation and refinement – or at the prototype development phase. Applicants are encouraged to read the introduction of The Experimentation Fieldbook by Jeanne Liedtka, Elizabeth Chen, Natalie Foley and David Kestner as background on identifying a specific idea to test and how to go about testing the idea (accessible via this link).

 


ONLINE APPLICATION QUESTIONS

  • Tell us about yourself/your team (short bio and specific role with the project).
  • Describe the problem you seek to address and who experiences the problem.
  • Describe your concept/venture.
  • Describe a specific idea you would like to test related to your concept, how you will go about testing that idea, and what you hope to learn.   
  • Describe how grant funds would directly support your entrepreneurial  project.


REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

  • Project timeline
  • Spending plan

No more than one page per document, submitted as attachments via Qualtrics survey. Please use the following file name format: Last Name_Venture Name_Timeline // Last Name_Venture Name_Spending Plan

 

INNOVATE ($1500 GRANT, ONE PER STUDENT/VENTURE PER ANNUAL CYCLE)
 

 

Intended for entrepreneurial students who are continuing venture development after validating key assumptions and iterating on their concept. Applicants for the Innovate Grant must have previously been awarded a Batten Innovation Grant or participated in the University of Virginia Entrepreneurship Cup competition as a precursor to their application. Applicants should choose to apply for either the Explore or Innovate grant during the spring cycle, rather than applying for both grants separately. 

 


ONLINE APPLICATION QUESTIONS

  • Confirm that you have either previously received a Batten Innovation Grant or participated in the ECup Competition.
  • Describe your concept/venture.
  • Tell us about recent progress you have made on your concept/venture, including how you define progress (e.g., your goals/milestones).
  • Describe how grant funds would directly support progress on your entrepreneurial project.


REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

  • Pitch Deck

The pitch deck should function as a standalone document and address the following: the problem you seek to address, the potential market, your intervention, why you are well-positioned to address this problem, and what you need to succeed. No more than 10 slides, submitted via the Qualtrics survey. PDF preferred.

Please use the following file name format: Last Name_Venture Name_Pitch Deck



POST-GRANT REQUIREMENT

Recipients of both the spring Explore and Innovate grants must submit a one-page final report to the Batten Institute by 16 August 2024. The report should detail the results of the project, including a final budget that identifies all spent funds and any unspent funds. Recipients should be prepared to answer any follow-up questions regarding their progress and use of funds.