Students at Harvard Business School help step up its start-up game with a $50K MVP Fund

Students at Harvard Business School help step up its start-up game with a $50K MVP Fund

Is Harvard Business School giving Stanford and Wharton a run for its money? It seems that yes, the prestigious business school is finally driving its own tech-focused, start-up movement. Harvard’s existing entrepreneurship center, the HBS Rock Center will be complemented by the Harvard Innovation Lab, opening in fall 2011.

And who’s driving the movement? The students are, reports BostInnovation writer Cheryl Morris. The school recently announced its $50,000 “Minimum Viable Product Fund” (MVP Fund), which was initiated by a very dear friend of mine, Dan Rumennik, HBS ’12. The fund’s name plays on the lean startup methodology that emphasizes working on customer development in tandem with product development. As reported by Morris, the HBS Rock Center contributed the $50K and will be awarding winners. The fund aims to award ten teams with $5,000 each, but teams may request up to $10,000 in funding.

“The idea is that a small amount of dollars at such a resourceful school [as HBS] will yield huge results and hopefully encourage more students to consider entrepreneurship and starting their own business,” Rumennik added. “That is the real goal of this — to get more students who wouldn’t have otherwise considered [being entrepreneurial], to think about making a career in it.”

The deadline for Harvard students to apply for the fund is January 28th, 2010. Requirements and application information can be found here. Funded teams will be asked to check-in monthly with a mentor from the MVP program; attend a monthly gathering of MVP teams; and present lessons learned from the MVP program. The 2011 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab include a list of investors like Jeff Bussgang and Gwill York and Eric Ries, who is the face and creator of the MVP methodology.

HBS’s Rock Center has also organized a Silicon Valley Immersion Program in January, for students interested in working at a start-up, working in venture capital, or starting their own business. HBS also offers an entrepreneurial Immersion Program to Israel as well as several others in locations ranging from New Orleans to India. For more insider information, check out the Harvard Start-Up Tribe on Twitter.

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