Summer Seed Grant

Get paid to work on your idea or early-stage start-up over the summer

The ECenter's Summer Seed Grant offers students the opportunity to pursue their early-stage idea or start-up over the summer, by providing funding grants and mentorship in lieu of a traditional summer job.

Top Reasons to Participate:

$16,000 Summer Seed Grant

  •   Get paid to develop your own idea or business
  •   Don't stress over finding a meaningful summer job
  •   Weeky 1:1 sessions with experienced mentors

I will always be so grateful for my experience with the Summer Seed Grant Program. The resources that the ECenter and its partners provided were incredible (in particular, Catchfire Creative and Pierce Atwood, LLP). The NH Toy Library Network got so much of its beginning during the 2019 Summer Seed Grant season, and in terms of professional growth, so did I.

Marisa Rafal '19 (CHHS), Founder of the NH Toy Library network

Important Information

  •   2021 Summer Seed Grant Applications Now Open!
  •  Information Session and Application Workshop (optional): February 25, 2021 | 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM | Virtual - click here to join.
  •  Deadline to Submit Application: March 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM
  •  Finalist Notification: March 29, 2021
  •  Finalist In-Person Presentation to Judges (may shift to Zoom): April 20, 2021 | 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM | ECenter
  •  Announcement of Winning Team(s): April 20, 2021
  •  Summer Seed Grant Program Dates: May 31, 2021 - July 30, 2021
  •  End of Summer Presentations: August 10, 2021

Applications may be submitted by an individual student or by a team as long as the individual or the team leader is a current student at UNH.  Students are encouraged to build teams with diverse skills by selecting partners from across multiple disciplines at UNH (interdisciplinary).  As long as the team leader is a current student, other team members are not required to be UNH students. However, only current UNH students (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) are allowed to receive a grant.
 

download the application
 

Submit the application to Heather.MacNeill@unh.edu

Need help with the application? If you would like some feedback on the idea and application you are submitting for the grant, we are here to help you!

  •  Information Session and Application Workshop (Optional)
    February 25, 2021 | 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM | Virtual - click here to join.

     
  •  If you aren't able to attend the information session, limited 1:1 meetings are available.
    Email summer.seed.grant@unh.edu to set an appointment.

Additional questions? Email summer.seed.grant@unh.edu.  

Judging Criteria

  • The problem it solves
  • The innovation of your idea
  • The strength of the team to solve it (bonus if the team is interdisciplinary and includes students from different UNH colleges)
  • The business case
  • Your initial 9-week plan and how you will make it happen

The winner of the Summer Seed Grant is required to work full time on the idea/start-up venture for the duration of the grant period (40 hour work week).

Part of the prize includes amazing support resources.  As a result, winners are required to be in the Coworking Space at The ECenter in Durham daily and to use that time to meet with your mentor and other professional service mentors including those from a digital marketing agency. This time will include review of previous week’s activities, issues, and planning for next week’s activities.


The small print (but important) compliance details:
 

  •  No other summer employment is allowed during the 9-week Summer Seed Grant window to allow for your dedicated commitment to the learning and development process. Written agreement to this will be required and breaking the agreement will result in your forfeiting the grant monies and award.
  •  If there is a team, equal work participation by all members of the team for the duration is required because we know that there is a direct impact on the success when a team only has one or a couple of people do the work and others don’t engage! Lack of participation will result in that individual’s forfeiture of the grant monies.
  •  All required paperwork including tax forms etc. must be completed prior to June 1, 2020. In the event paperwork and other materials are not completed, grant payment will be proportionality reduced until it is submitted.
  •  Grant payments will be at the end of every 2 weeks, if all milestones are met and hours are logged in.

About the Summer Seed Grant

The Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter), with the support of Pierce Atwood, LLP, invites all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to submit applications for grant funding to take their entrepreneurial ideas to the next level through the development of prototypes, business models and/or companies during the summer months. Summer is one of the best times for students to work on ideas and early stage start-ups. This grant allows a student/students to focus full time attention on the venture and receive a grant payment to do so in lieu of having to find a summer job.

All University of New Hampshire freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are eligible to submit proposals if you have exciting ideas or early stage venture you want to continue to develop. Up to four students will be selected. This also may be especially interesting to students that have enrolled in entrepreneurship courses and programs of study, students who are members of the entrepreneurship club, student participants in the Holloway Challenge and/or the NHSVIC, and students who participated in the Undergraduate Research Conference who aspire to commercialize their research.

About Our Sponsors

 

PIERCE ATWOOD LLP, PRIME SPONSOR

Pierce Atwood LLP is the official legal sponsor of the Summer Seed Grant. They are a full service law firm and their Catalyst Program provides today's growth companies with the skilled legal services they need to become the successful companies of tomorrow. Their team has experience assisting entrepreneurs and start-ups in the following key areas: corporate governance, employee benefits, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, litigation (including patent litigation), securities, and venture capital.

 

ECENTER MENTOR NETWORK AND DONORS

The ECenter Mentor Network is a dedicated group of alumni and friends of UNH who provide financial and mentor/networking support of UNH entrepreneurial activities for students, faculty/researchers, alumni. 

Previous Summer Seed Grant Winners

Spaitr (2020)

Spaitr, founded by Nathaniel Hunt '22 (COLA), Nicolas Camara '21 (CEPS), Brady Esmaili '23 (CEPS), and Joey Neleber '22 (CEPS), is a two-fold venture consisting of a diagnostic tracker attachment to a lacross stick, and an app to serve as a way for coaches to track the team's results, growth, and diagnostics.

Valetan (2020)

Valetan, founded by CEPS student Alhussein Al-Jawad, is an online service that allows people to have their cars parked and delivered to them with worry-free convenience.

NH Toy Library Network (2019)

NH Toy Library, founded by Marisa Rafal (CHHS, '19), is an initiative to support children and families across the state of New Hampshire by providing educational, enriching toys and games at no cost to families. This in turn reduces waste (since toys do not get thrown out as often), improves parent-child attachment and quality of dialogue, and increases equity and accessibility. Congratulations, Marisa!

The Bogey Bag (2019)

The Bogey Bag is a product and business founded by Steven Schnobrich (Paul, '21). The Bogey Bag is a punching bag that attaches to any golf cart allowing players to take their anger out in a fun and healthy way without paying the price of new equipment or injuries. Congratulations, Steven!

Drunk Txt (2018)

Drunk Txt team members Ethan Towsley (CEPS, '21) and Rob Lee (CEPS, '21) aim to help prevent people from making potentially life altering mistakes when they are inebriated with their app that tests the user's coherance with a memory game before allowing certain phone functions. Congratulations, Ethan and Rob!

SMARTwheel (2018)

SMARTwheel, founded by TJ Evarts (CEPS, '20) is dedicated to creating proactive technology for safer driving. SMARTwheel is the first intelligent steering wheel cover that actively helps prevent distracted driving. Congratulations, TJ!

Droppn (2017)

Droppn (formally Droppit), started by Max Miller (CEPS, '20) and Sam Warach (PAUL, ’17), is a new social messaging service combining location services and augmented reality to put users' posts in the real world. Using map-interface, users can select any location, leave a message, activity, image, or gift drop, and send it to any of their friends. Congratulations, Max and Sam!

Sol Solution (2017)

Sol Solution team members Peter Abdu (CEPS, '17) and Cyle Ziegler (UNH Graduate School, focusing on electrical engineering and electromagnetics) are creating an innovative project that will make solar panels more efficient by passively regulating solar panel temperature. Sol Solution makes solar energy more appealing and cost competitive with current energy production methods. Congratulations, Peter and Cyle!

RaidX (2016)

RAIDX, started by PhD student András Fekete, is the development of an expandable storage device for home and business use that automatically manages redundancy of data, such that a single hardware failure does not cause loss of data. András received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and his master’s degree in electrical engineering, both from UNH. His PhD focus is computer science. Congratulations, András!

Project OASIS (2016)

Project OASIS team members Siddharth (Sid) Nigam, Paige Balcom, and Ethan Pirie are developing energy efficient, small-scale aquaponic systems that have the potential to grow food in any geographical location, year-round, in any climate, with zero chemicals, and90% less water than conventional agriculture. They are utilizing computational fluid dynamics software to increase the energy efficiency of aquaponic designs, and are creating a business model to make the systems economically viable in developing nations, as well as in the U.S. Sid is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and international affairs, with a minor in applied math. Paige is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, with a minor in applied math. Ethan is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. Congratulations, Sid, Paige, and Ethan!

DropBio (2015)

DropBio’s technology includes the proprietary formulation of various proteins, biological molecules, and biopolymers in a readily printable fluid, known as “bioink.” Its mission is to accelerate the advent of protein-based materials and devices by providing the world’s most advanced bioinks. The value proposition in their proposed initial products will be that a scientist or engineer can focus on engineering and fabricating devices out of its materials without worrying about the chemistry dynamics associated with the development of printable fluids (or bioinks) that form materials upon printing.

iRC (2015)

iRC is looking to bring innovation to remote control (RC) cars that will give users an entertaining system that is easy enough for use by a wide range of gamers. Its system provides the basic full functionality of an RC car but also enables players to play various games with each other.

NeighborFund (2015)

NeighborFund delivers financial and social returns on short-term real estate investments for community members of all income levels who feel unqualified and insecure about traditional investing platforms. NeighborFund will initially focus on transitional areas near urban centers and will provide a platform where members will act as peer-to-peer lenders to fund renovation projects posted by local contractors. When a renovation is complete, NeighborFund will facilitate an auction to purchase the property, giving investors first right of purchase before going to market. When returns come back, NeighborFund will calculate the interest liability and offer an offsetting donation to a targeted community improvement project, providing immediate social impact.

ROIV Technologies (Remotely Operated Inspection Vehicle Technologies) (2015)

ROIV Technologies is focused on the development and integration of remotely operated inspection vehicle technologies for use in the underwater bridge construction and inspection industry. ROIV Technologies is in the process of developing underwater sensor and manipulation technology that will play a large role in the future of underwater bridge construction and inspections. Safety is a crucial factor in underwater industries that ROIV Technologies aims to make more accessible for dive and construction teams in industrial and smaller scale operations. ROIV Technology sensors and technologies will more accurately detect anomalies in a shorter time, resulting in reduced costs and risk and increasing revenue while providing more reliable results for end customers.

Student Experience Videos

Watch the videos below to hear from our students about the Summer Seed Grant experience!