Get Seeded is a milestone grant program designed to help all University of Utah students get their ideas off the ground. A milestone is a goal or accomplishment that tracks your progress as you grow your business idea. Get Seeded is looking for short-term measurable milestones (e.g., prototyping, marketing, developing your app) that can be achieved in 30-90 days.
Get Seeded has two types of milestone grants that students can apply for to encourage them to test and grow their business ideas. The first is a microgrant for funding asks of up to $500, and the second is the regular grant for funding asks from $501 to $1,500. Please review the guide below for more information on eligibility guidelines and application evaluation criteria.
Microgrant ($1-$500) Application Stages
- Stage 1: Complete the microgrant application online.
- All University of Utah students are welcome to apply. Students can and are encouraged to apply multiple times. However, they cannot apply for a microgrant and a regular grant in the same month for the same business.
- Stage 2: Pitch and feedback session
- Select teams will present a 3-minute pitch on Zoom in a private meeting with student and staff judges. After the pitch student leaders will lead a Q&A and feedback session. If teams have been awarded a grant previously, they will have a 4-minute pitch, but must also provide an update from their milestone from the previous award.
- Stage 3: Microgrant Awards
- Teams will be notified by email if they were selected to receive a microgrant award
Regular Grant ($501-$1,500) Application Stages
- Stage 1: Complete the regular grant application online
- All University of Utah students are welcome to apply. Students can apply multiple times.
- Stage 2: Pitch and feedback session
- Select teams will present a 3-minute pitch on zoom to a panel of judges. After the pitch student leaders will lead a Q&A and feedback session. If teams have been awarded a grant previously, they will have a 4-minute pitch, but must also provide an update from their milestone from the previous award.
- Stage 3: Final pitch event
- Select teams from the pre-pitch selection session present at the final pitch event. Teams will pitch their idea and milestone funding request to a public online audience of peers and community members. The audience will then decide who gets funded by voting for their favorite ideas. Multiple teams can be funded at the same final pitch event.
All applications will be reviewed on their ability to describe the problem/solution that their idea addresses. Teams applying for the regular grant will also be reviewed on their market analysis and competitor research. Teams that have been previously funded will also be reviewed on the progress they have made since getting their last milestone funded.
Teams must have at least one student currently enrolled at the University of Utah.
Please view the Lassonde events calendar for upcoming grant application deadlines for the Get Seeded program and details about final pitch events for the regular grants. The calendar has a filter function that allows you to focus on the Get Seeded events. Grants deadlines are scheduled throughout the year, and deadlines are typically added to the events calendar the month before each semester begins. Each grant round also features private review rounds. Teams will be contacted directly with details about the private events.
Get Seeded is a student milestone seed program. The student must take the lead in the submission and must play a major role in formulating the business. This is a monthly student seed grant pitch event and is based on the work of students. Get Seeded does not award ventures that are not formed and managed by students. International students on a visa are not eligible to receive funding through Get Seeded.
Participating teams must be composed of at least one University of Utah student and meet all the following criteria*:
- The founding student must be registered for a minimum of nine (9) credit hours during the semester they are participating. The credit hours must be taken as a matriculated, admitted, and degree-seeking student.
- A representative from your team must participate in each stage of Get Seeded (application, pre-pitch, and final pitch)
- There are no restrictions regarding other team members; however, we suggest building a balanced team with a strong combination of finance, marketing, engineering, and technology skills.
- The funds awarded must be used to advance the business idea.
- For existing companies:
- If the company has been registered in any state longer than 24 months, a brief history of the company is required in the application.
- The cumulative revenue, debt, grant, or third party-financing for the company has not exceeded $100,000.
The top teams receiving votes at the public pitch event will receive their funding ask (between $501-$1,500 maximum). The funds awarded must be used to advance the business idea. International students who are on a visa are not eligible to receive grants from the get seeded program. Funding can take several weeks to be dispersed.
NOTE: Rules and exceptions are up to the discretion of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and its representatives. Submission content must be appropriate for the student, judge, sponsor, and volunteer audience. Inappropriate content will result in disqualification. Direct any questions about eligibility to the Get Seeded team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are the evaluation criteria the student panel will use to review the ideas submitted and determine who gets awarded. Each application selected to pitch receives feedback on the criteria from the student panel during the application process. In addition, each team will receive pitch coaching from the Get Seeded student team.
- Does the student describe the idea and the problem that it solves clearly?
- Does this milestone help develop the idea into a viable business?
- Is this the right amount of funding for the student to complete the milestone?
- Has the student or team completed the previously funded milestone? (only for teams who have received funding in the past)
Customer Validation (Get Seeded Grant Only, $501-$1,500)
- Has the student or team identified a target market?
- Has the student or team identified customers for their idea?
- Has the student or team performed validation to ensure that there is interest in the idea?
Competitive Research (Get Seeded Grant Only, $501-$1500)
- Has the student or team conducted competitive analysis?
The top teams receiving votes at the public pitch event will receive their funding ask (up to the $1,500 maximum). The funds awarded must be used to advance the business idea. Funding can take several weeks to be dispersed.
We are unable to fund the following:
- The purchase, rent and renovation of office/business space
- Equipment that is not the core of the business (e.g., cell phones, laptops, etc.)
- Cost of inventory not directly related to marketing or prototyping
Tax & Financial Aid Implications
Payment for winning a competition or being a top performer is not a scholarship or fellowship; instead, it is a prize or award and is given without stipulation as to how it must be used. Prizes of this nature may be taxable to the recipient, but are not considered wages even if the student is employed by the university. If certain dollar thresholds are satisfied, the university will report the prize or award to the IRS and the student on IRS Form 1099-Misc, Miscellaneous Income, or on IRS Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s US Source Income Subject to Withholding. Tax Services will work with the student to make appropriate tax withholdings and may require the student to complete a W-9 Form.
Tax Implications for International Students
International students are advised to meet with Tax Services to determine their tax status for income and or scholarship awards: fbs.admin.utah.edu/tax-services/appointment-with-tax-specialist/. A tax specialist can help you fill out the applicable form(s) so you are taxed appropriately, if at all. The base requirements to be eligible for any tax treaties are: F-1 visa holders (international students attending an academic program or English language program at a US college or university) and have a social security number or taxpayer identification number. If a tax treaty is in place, Tax Services will have the student complete U.S. Form 8233, Exemption from Withholding on Compensation for Independent Personal Services of a nonresident alien individual. The tax implications are different for J-1 visa holders (exchange visitor program); otherwise, you may need to complete the IRS Form 1042-S: irs.gov/uac/About-Form-1042S. Once again, please meet with a tax specialist and they will help you determine which form applies to your visa status.
Financial Aid Implications for Students
In addition, payments made by the university to students must also be considered for financial aid implications, as they comprise financial assistance given by the university to the student (NASFAA Monograph 24, Appendix D). For University of Utah students, the Lassonde Institute will report your prize as a miscellaneous award in the central scholarship system. The miscellaneous award is a placeholder for financial aid purposes only, not a means for disbursement. You should also contact the Financial Aid Office by either email (email@example.com) or by calling 801-581-6211, and speak with a financial aid counselor to understand the implications that accepting this award may have on your financial aid.
The University of Utah may award a prize to a student not currently attending the University of Utah. In this case, it is the student’s responsibility to report the receipt of the prize to their institution, as the Department of Education considers this to be an outside resource, and must be counted as financial assistance. We encourage students to speak with a Financial Aid counselor at their institution if they have any questions or concerns regarding the acceptance of this prize or award. Each participant must indicate that they have read and understand this information on the Award Distribution Form.
Part II Certification of Citizenship Found on W9 (see below)
This MUST be reviewed prior to signing. If you are unable to certify after review please contact Alicia Vess at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your award will be distributed differently if you cannot certify.
As a participant, you are responsible to protect any information concerning your business that you share with advisors, team members and fellow participants of the competition. The Lassonde Institute takes no responsibility for unwanted disclosure in these instances. Contestants should be careful about disclosing information concerning proprietary concepts. Competitors concerned about the protection of intellectual property may contact the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute Company Launch program (lassonde.utah.edu/launch) or the Hours with Experts program (lassonde.utah.edu/experthours) to connect with resources available.