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Student Skills Development Programs

What do you get?

An opportunity to tackle industry-relevant social issues

Career-building and workplace skills training

Mentorship from industry experts and community partners

A stipend for your work in the program


About the Program

Paid to Innovate is designed to guide students through the process of exploring social issues they are passionate about and coming up with innovative solutions. It is also open to students who are intrigued by entrepreneurship and want to make the world a better place. Students can apply as a team lead with their own idea, or as a team member to work with others.


What to Expect

Workshops that cover key tools and methods for design thinking, ecosystem mapping, and business fundamentals

Fireside Chats and industry expert networking events with seasoned social entrepreneurs

Social events to inspire and support students through their entrepreneurial journeys

A better understanding of social issues, and a pathway through entrepreneurship to build innovative solutions

At your own pace

Develop transferable skills like leadership, communications, and technical skills through a self-paced learning pathway. Participating students will gain access to the Professional Skills Development Zone which counts as an academic credit.

What's in it for you?

A paid learning opportunity

Access to SVZ coworking space

Access to mentors, experts, and entrepreneurs to help build your idea

A chance to build a socially impactful startup!

About the Program

The SVZ is hosting a mini business case challenge for students where they will get to work on real world challenges startups are experiencing. This information will be valuable as the startups are looking to build and improve their business strategy. A brief explanation of the tools is below.

What to Expect

Startups incubated with the SVZ will pitch their business model to students, any current challenges they are experiencing. 

A speed meeting will be set up where students will have time to go around to all the ventures and ask clarifying questions.

Students in a team formation will execute a foundational business analysis through the lens of a SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, and Porters 5 forces.

The student team will put the results of their analysis together in a presentation and present it to the startup founder and their team. 

Students will have access to SVZ events such as fireside chats, social events and Caffeinated Innovators.

Students will gain a better understanding of the business analysis tools and consulting practices for startups.

Program Timeline

Week 1 Startup business challenge pitches and speed matching event. The students job is to listen carefully, ask questions, and decide where you will apply your skills.
Weeks 2-6     Students will work as a team to research and  analyze the business challenges using common analysis frameworks (SWOT, Porters, PESTLE).
Week 7 Students will package their findings in a presentation to the startup teams so that they can use the information and apply it to their challenge.

What's in it for you?

A paid learning opportunity with socially impactful startups

Access to SVZ coworking space

Build your teamwork and leadership skills

Gain valuable mentorship from startup leaders