Student FAQ

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You have questions about entrepreneurship, we’ve got answers. Below are some of the most frequently-asked questions we hear from students about entrepreneurship, starting a business, getting help and more. Have a question that’s not on the list? Contact Paul Jaques.     

Where does funding support come from? 

Most of the student financial support comes in the form of grants from the Forrest Akers or Gerstacker Foundation Trusts. Students can apply for funding to help cover the cost of a number of startup-related expenses, such as creating prototypes, generating marketing materials, traveling to competitions or workshops, or attending pitch events like SXSW or IBMC. 

I'm an undergraduate student. Does the MSU Innovation Center take equity in my company?

Absolutely not. Your company is your company. We’re here to help students succeed in launching successful businesses and projects that help diversify our economy, create rich learning experiences and solve problems. That said, we WILL tell your story, take huge pride in your progress, and brag about your Spartan success whenever we get the chance.

How do I get started?

           Email Us - let's set up a meeting to talk about your idea and get registered as a Hatch member.     

What kind of help is available?

Help depends on the project. Based on the level of development your business has reached, assistance can be provided in a number of ways. (Example: You wouldn’t design a logo and pick a name before finding out if a similar business with the same name already exists.) Students receive support in areas such as business plan development assistance, market research, 3D printing and prototyping, mentoring, graphic design and logo assistance, coaching, travel costs, promotional materials design and production, or public relations and promotional support.  

Is there a cost (to me) to start a business?

There is no cost to students to start a business. There is a $25 non-refundable fee for a Hatch keyfob that allows students 24-hour access to the Hatch though. Cost of the keyfob is on members.    

Do I have to be enrolled in a business-related major to start a business?

Students from all majors and areas of study are welcome to come launch their business. Student entrepreneurs come from all colleges in the university, with diverse ages, degrees, countries of origin and business experience.  

I’m not ready to start a business, but I really like the idea of entrepreneurship. How can I get involved?

           MSU Entrepreneurship Association  | MSUEA Facebook Page

           The Hive - The Hive is a dynamic “idea laboratory,” for aspiring entrepreneurs, equipped with the state-of-the-art technology and a layout to encourage team-building and idea development.

           The Hatching - Grater Lansing's startup pitch event. Come pitch for a prize, or just come see what other people are doing in an informal environment.

Are there MSU alumni, business owners, or mentors I can work with?

Yes! A community mentors program exists to help match students with professionals who have made time available for mentoring entrepreneurs. These mentors are experienced, enthusiastic CEOs, tax and finance specialists, marketers, communicators, artists and leaders. 

I’ve got an idea, but I don’t have a team.  Can I find team members?

           Absolutely. The Hatch works to pair talented students with team members.

Local events of like-minded starters are another resource for building a dream team—check out the calendar (and other resources) at StartUpLansing.com

How can I earn money for my startup?

Startup events, Pitch competitions, crowdfunding, VCs, angel investors, or programs offered by LEAP are a few solid starts--let's chat.   

I’m not a MSU student or faculty. Can I still get help?

Our mission is to serve MSU students and faculty in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

We’re part of a larger ecosystem of statewide support that helps startups and leaders of all ages and experience get help to launch. So while we may not be able to help, we likely know someone who can. We recommend connecting with LEAP and the MEDC for more information on how to get rolling, from loans to prototyping to research.

We’re also partners in a monthly crowd-sourced business pitch event called The Hatching. Held at a local bar in East Lansing, five new businesses with an idea compete via quick pitches to win $1,000 seed money and incorporation assistance. Sponsored by local supporters each month, we’re proud to help get a new business off to a strong start each month.