BOULDER – The University of Colorado Boulder announced Monday the launch of an Entrepreneurs In Residence program to be piloted this fall by the school’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
The move is another step toward trying to make CU one of the leading entrepreneurial universities in the nation and give it another link to the city of Boulder’s vibrant startup community.
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The program will bring up to four “seasoned or emerging” entrepreneurs from around the country and the world to the CU campus for one-year appointments that the university is hoping could be renewable for up to three years if the program goes well.
The EIRs would spend up to 20 hours per week working on campus to offer mentorship to students and faculty as it relates to starting and growing their own companies. The EIRs would receive a $25,000 annual stipend.
Boulder venture capitalist Brad Feld, a managing partner of Foundry Group and a co-founder of Techstars, is helping to fund the initiative. CU law school dean Phil Weiser said Monday that the EIR program would be funded by a combination of money from Feld and the school itself, though the exact details are still being worked out.
“The core benefit and core metric is going to be how many entrepreneurial teams around campus are receiving mentorship that they believe is moving them forward,” Weiser said.
Success, Weiser said, would mean an ever-increasing demand for the EIRs’ time from such teams. The flipside would be small demand and a sense that the advice being given isn’t helpful.
To that end, Weiser said CU would be selective with its applicants, noting that ideal candidates would have “established bona fides” and have either successfully started a company or be in the midst of starting one.
The benefits for the EIRs, Weiser said, would be three-fold. They would be allowed to work on or start their own companies while in Boulder and benefit themselves from the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the same time they would be able to give back to the community. But as important, as employees of the university, EIRs who are not citizens of the United States would be able to apply for an H-1B visa, allowing them to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.
“The EIR program promises to bring top international talent to Boulder, enriching the campus and the startup community,” Feld said in a prepared statement through CU. “With the level of entrepreneurial energy in Boulder and Colorado more generally, the EIR program is well-positioned to succeed and better connect the campus to the overall ecosystem.”
CU officials said applicants to the program would be judged on their “entrepreneurial experience, leadership capabilities, the promise of their current or envisioned company and their ability to serve as a mentor.”