Frequently Asked Questions | Future Founders

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General Questions

Future Founders depends on the generosity of individuals and institutions to pursue our mission. If you would like to learn more about supporting Future Founders, our students, and founders please contact Emily Summers.

Discover Program

We love to hear from interested school partners! Please fill out this Program Inquiry Form and we will follow up to continue the conversation.

The basic requirements are: Approval from the administration, committed and engaged teacher(s), and a commitment of at least two classes per session with a dedicated room. Partnership assessment would also include at least one on-site meeting with an administrative lead and a teacher.

We see our work through the lens of equity and we focus our work on school partners and students who don’t have access to the same opportunities, resources, and supports. We work with both public and charter schools but prioritize schools in historically underserved and disinvested communities. For schools that fall outside of these parameters, we also offer paid programming options .

We run three program cycles per year — fall, winter, and spring. Middle School programs run for 8 weeks and High School programs run for 12 weeks. If you’re interested in partnering but missed the current cycle, please don’t hesitate to reach out and inquire about upcoming program cycles.

Nothing! Because of our commitment to equity, we work hard to ensure our programs are free for schools and their students. For schools from more resourced areas, we also offer paid programming options.

No. One strength of our work is that we bring real entrepreneurs into the classroom to teach our program. That said, we do expect classroom teachers to support our Entrepreneur Instructors during the class period. Teacher engagement in this experience is enormously meaningful.

Yes and No. Discover High School has a strong technology component and, in that sense, it is a natural fit with a computer science class but that is not necessary. We’ve had successful programs run in English, Math, and History classes.

Future Founders works with schools all across the Chicagoland area. Click here to see the full list of schools.

We love partnering to dream up custom innovation experiences! If interested in pursuing this option, please send an email to Ellen Muench with the following information: organization description, high-level outline of program goals/needs, and desired timeline. We will follow up to learn more and discuss if it could be a fit!

Absolutely! We provide workshops on a variety of topics to organizations throughout Chicago and present conferences nationally. We’re also willing to offer virtual sessions for those organizations not located in Chicago. For more information, visit our workshops page.

Startup Spring Break

Acceptance to Startup Spring Break requires both an online application and in-person interview. Due to the high volume of interest, our two-step application helps to find the most excited and committed students. The application isn’t based on grades or prior experience in entrepreneurship. We are looking for girls from all backgrounds and experiences.

Startup Spring Break aligns with the Chicago Public School Spring Break. It runs from 9:30am-4:00pm for the entire week of spring break.

The program will be hosted at 1871 . 1871 is the #1 University Affiliated Startup Incubator in the world and it is located on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. We do require that students are able to make it to and from 1871 on their own or with the support of their parents/carpool.

Nothing! This is a free program for students and their families.

Students will learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship by actually building out a business idea themselves. With the support of our Entrepreneur Instructors, students will work in teams to find a problem they want to solve and then build out an app-based business concept with a working prototype. At the end of the program, there will be a big celebration that includes pitching to business leaders and showcasing to the community and families at Google Chicago.

Be Your Own Boss Summer Internship

Acceptance to the Be Your Own Boss Summer Internship requires both an online application and in-person interview. Due to the high volume of interest, our two-step application helps to find the most engaged and committed students. The application isn’t based on grades or prior experience in entrepreneurship. We are looking for students from all backgrounds and experiences who are interested in exploring this industry. Applications will open in early 2020.

The Be Your Own Boss Summer Internship runs annually for three weeks in July. Check the application to see specific start and end dates.

Participating students have the opportunity to earn up to $450 over the course of the program. The stipend is based on attendance and active participation. The stipend schedule will be discussed on the first day of the program.

The Be Your Own Boss Summer Internship operates out of 1871. 1871 is the #1 University Affiliated Startup Incubator in the world and it is located on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. Students are expected to find their own transportation to and from the program.

Students will be forming teams and developing viable business ideas that they will ultimately pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs and showcase to the 1871 community. Throughout the program, students will also be meeting with mentors in the business and entrepreneurship space and taking trips to successful startups in Chicago.

That’s great. We’ve had many teams and individuals who have continued to build out their ideas after the program. We have a suite of alumni support resources and host office hours for interested students. If students are really ready to take the next big step, they can also check out the next phase of our work: Startup: Bootcamp.

18 to 30 Year Old Programs

Our programming specializes in assisting 18-to-30-year-old founders. We are industry agnostic and are more focused on age-and-stage appropriate programming for our founders. Startup Bootcamp, funded by the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge, is concentrated on helping encourage entrepreneurial success for founders from diverse backgrounds, including minority, women, immigrant, and veteran-owned businesses.

Yes! Our Annual National U.Pitch Competition & Showcase takes place each November, bringing together some of the top collegiate entrepreneurs around the country for a chance to win from a pool of $10,000.

Our 18+ programming is divided by stage: Startup Bootcamp provides idea- and early-stage founders with the fundamentals of building a business, coupled with mentorship and growth coaching. Residents are typically pre-Revenue, have an MVP or idea of what it could be, and are looking to find market validation through the program. The Fellowship focuses on growth-stage founders, focusing less on the how-tos of business and more on their development as well-rounded and effective leaders. Fellows are typically revenue-generating and/or handling some level of investment. Many Fellows are working full-time on their businesses or anticipate doing so in the near future. Not sure where you fit it? Fill out our Contact Form with a little more information about yourself and we’ll be in touch!

While Chicago is a wonderful place to start and grow your business, our accelerator programs have virtual options and do not require you to relocate. You must, however, be a current resident of the United States in order to participate in our programming.

Future Founders is able to offer all of our core programming free of charge thanks to the generous support of our sponsoring organizations.

Fill out our Contact Form with some more information about them, their company, and their email.

Yes! U.Pitch is open to all students at both Universities and Community Colleges.