Undergraduate Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go if I want to learn about entrepreneurship or if I have an idea that I want to turn into a startup?

Explore a curated list of entrepreneurship programs and resources throughout the Harvard innovation ecosystem at grid.harvard.edu/resources. While there, also check out Grid events to capture new ideas and/or find fellow venturers or even a co-founder.

Does SEAS offer classes in entrepreneurship?

Students can register for courses that provide entrepreneurial experiences ranging from product design and user-experience to field-based startup development and pitches to venture capitalists. Students can also pursue innovation while completing academic projects and elective courses offered across various concentrations. 

The Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), facilitates some of the most popular entrepreneurial courses for undergraduate students including: Startup R&D (ES 95r), and Innovation in Science and Engineering (ES 139/239).

Review the course catalog for a complete listing of available courses. Suggested terms to search in the catalog include: entrepreneurship, innovation, startup, venture, and design.

Students can also discuss course options with academic advisors.

What is Harvard's policy on the ownership of intellectual property?

If your startup intends to make use of innovations developed at Harvard, the Office of Technology Development (OTD) will work with you to understand whether the innovations fall under the University's Statement of Policy on Intellectual Property (IP Policy).

The Office of Technology Development provides guidance and instruction on how to submit the Report of Innovation form. Completing the Report of Innovation form is a crucial first step toward protecting your interests and your innovation's potential. 

How do I report an invention or intellectual asset to the Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD)? Why is reporting important?

The Office of Technology Development provides guidance and instructions on how to submit a Report of Innovation form. Completing the Report of Innovation form is a crucial first step toward protecting your interests and your innovation’s potential.

Harvard OTD’s ability to protect intellectual property falls in jeopardy if you publish, present, or share your findings with others on a non-confidential basis before OTD files a patent application. If you plan to disclose any information about your innovation to others, please contact OTD immediately. Harvard OTD has created The Inventor’s Handbook to serve as an introductory guide to intellectual property and development for Harvard faculty, researchers, and innovators.

Are there Harvard makerspaces, coworking spaces, and labs that I can access to work on my startup?

If you are a current, full-time, degree-seeking Harvard student, you can access coworking-space at the Harvard i-lab where you can work on ventures and collaborate with students across all Harvard schools. The i-lab offer many resources for student ventures including the Maker Studio for prototyping and manufacturing, the AR/VR Studio with immersive technologies, and the Media Studio for multimedia content creation.

The SEAS Active Learning Labs offer resources for individual/club-related student projects including industrial-grade 3D printers and desktop computers with a variety of engineering software. To gain access, students must complete a yearly general lab safety training along with any lab-specific training.

What programs can I participate in to learn about venture formation, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of technology and business?

Harvard Grid and many other entrepreneurial student, University, and Boston-area ecosystem organizations offer events and ways to connect with others who are similarly venture-minded. The Grid website has a section for Grid events, community venturing-focused events, team building, and more: Events, Resources, and Community Events.

Are there Harvard pitch competitions or challenges that SEAS students can enter to receive funding for ventures?
  • The i3 Innovation Challenge through the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH) is a student startup competition held exclusively for Harvard undergraduates to help them realize their innovative visions. Students compete for awards, prizes, incubator space, and grants, including the prestigious McKinley Family grants for entrepreneurial leadership in commercial and social enterprise.
  • The President's Innovation Challenge is a call to action for Harvard students passionate about developing ideas that make a difference. Monetary prizes are awarded to the winners in each venture track.
What other funding opportunities are available for SEAS students launching startups or entrepreneurial ventures?

Check out the President’s Innovation Challenge Awards, Spark Grants, and Allston Venture Fund, and the Social Impact Fellowship fund via the i-lab. If you wish to launch your lab-based (faculty-led) research, consider a Grid Accelerator Award or the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator. Other resources found at the Grid also have business plan competitions with cash awards.

Does Harvard have mentors and experienced entrepreneurs available to share advice about launching a venture?

Harvard Grid hosts the Lab-2-Market series, a monthly, walk-in/walk-out office hours session with two or more serial entrepreneurs and/or angel investors sitting around a table at the ready to talk about your ideas. Bring curiosity and questions for a no-risk, no experience required discussion. Or, just come for a bite and a listen. Check the Events page for upcoming Lab-2-Market meet-ups.

Who can I contact for legal advice?

For one-on-one advice, students can book appointments with legal guides through the Harvard Innovation Labs’ office hours appointment calendar.

How can I find out about entrepreneurial career opportunities, such as working for a startup?

SEAS students seeking career advice should schedule an appointment to meet with the SEAS Office of Student Career Development.

The Harvard Office of Career Services (OCS) is a Harvard-wide resource available to help students explore potential career pathways. Students can view and apply for open opportunities through Crimson Careers, a centralized hub for job and internship posting.

Are there student clubs and organizations that focus on entrepreneurship?

There are a variety of student-led clubs and organizations that focus on entrepreneurship. The Harvard College Ventures (HV)and Harvard Undergraduate Capital Partners are two student-led organizations that work with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs.

Harvard's entrepreneurs benefit greatly from our proximity to Boston and the startup communities surrounding our campuses. Learn more about the resources available on campus and in the region through the resource lists below.

Harvard Office of Technology Development list of resources: Resources for Entrepreneurs