School of Business

Student Business Accelerator Fund (SBAF)

The Student Business Accelerator Fund (SBAF) is designed to create and advance a culture of entrepreneurship at Washburn University by supporting student startup ventures.

All Washburn students are eligible for funding, as well as alumni who are within two years of graduation. This includes those in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, School of Business, Washburn Technical Institute, and all other disciplines, graduate and undergraduate.

SBAF is supported by funding primarily from our alumni, who believe strongly in supporting our students and their entrepreneurial initiatives. There are no fees for funding, and SBAF takes no equity in student companies.

Application Process

Business Team(s)
Students can apply themselves or as part of a business team within these guidelines:

  • One founder must have a WU affiliation by being enrolled or previously enrolled in a Washburn graduate or undergraduate program.
  • The founder must have a significant stake in the company.
  • Founding teams can be all sizes, but typically there are 2-3 founders.
  • Companies can enter the program at various stages of development.

Initial Application and Business Plan
Student companies that are interested in pursuing funding from the SBAF program apply for funding by submitting a registration form and business plan. The business plan must explain how the requested funds will be used. Examples may include product development (e.g. prototyping), marketing (e.g. web development), legal needs (e.g. intellectual property issues), and human resources (staffing), etc. It is recommended that applicants share in their business plan the key milestones that will be accomplished with the use of funds. Registration forms are available online or in the School of Business office in Henderson building, room HC114.

Deadline: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 5 p.m. Please email both 1) registration form and 2) business plan to Lisa Hecker in the School of Business.

All applications are reviewed thoroughly by a pre-screening committee. Proposals are screened on a standard set of categories to decide which companies will receive an interview and undergo the due diligence investigation. After the initial review, companies receiving the highest scores will be notified and proceed to the interview/presentation stage.

Due Diligence
If a company passes the screening stage, the committee will evaluate proposals based on the business plan. The due diligence team is comprised of business professionals, advisors, alumni and academics that have experience and/or knowledge within a particular industry. The group will first review the business plan and second conduct an interactive process with the student(s) via a presentation to fully understand the plan and how the plan will be executed.

Presentations will be made to the SBAF committee and additional panel members as deemed necessary such as alumni, financial experts, business professionals, academics and entrepreneurs. Students/companies will have 10-15 minutes to present and 10-15 minutes to answer questions from the committee. Dates for the presentations for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

Friday, April 28 from 2-4pm, Henderson building

The committee will notify applicants within 2-3 weeks after the final presentation is made on their final investment decision. All successful applicants will include a signed agreement between Washburn University School of Business and the student company. Funding amounts vary considerably depending on the situation, and the process for the distribution of funds will be made available after the agreement is in place.

Post Funding Involvement and Requirements
Closing a deal is only the beginning of the SBAF program experience. Newly funded companies will have access to a network of contacts and experienced professionals who can provide valuable guidance for the growth and success of their company. As a partner, the SBAF program provides other support in any way possible. This support comes in the form of board representation, mentoring, community networks and industry experience.

It is expected that students who receive funding will report the use and management of the funds to the committee over the next two years (or as long as the company is viable). Each student company that receives funding will be allocated a mentor to aid in the disbursement and management of the funds and to advise their business. Successful student applications are required to meet with their assigned mentor once per month during the first year and report to the committee at the end of the first year of operations.

If you have questions or would like more information about the SBAF program, contact Rick LeJuerrne at 785-670-1306; He is located in Henderson Resource Learning Center, room 310E.