How To Work With Us
We welcome all students who are interested in exploring creating a business.
Students who are interested in becoming an Olympus PROBE project should fill out the Business Concept Template [.doc] and send it to Kit Needham firstname.lastname@example.org We recommend that you read the Frequently Asked Questions before completing the template.
Frequently Asked Questions For Students
Who is eligible?
Why do I need to complete the Business Concept Template?
Any guidelines or hints for completing the Business Concept Template?
Since we are only looking for your high level thoughts, your completed template should be no more than two pages. Try to answer all the questions but if you don’t know how to answer some of them, that’s okay. That is what we help you with. The important thing to remember is that all of the key questions have to be addressed for your business to be successful.
Hint: This is not Silicon Valley so generally the ‘we’ll build it and worry about how we’ll make money later’ model doesn’t work well here. Further, if the revenue is to come from ads, you’ll need to have a fantastic plan (and usually lots of money) for capturing enormous numbers of ‘eyeballs’ before advertisers will pay you enough to make a living. So you should have a ‘Plan B’ for generating alternative sources of revenue.
What about alumni?
Can I add non-CMU students to my team?
Does my business idea have to involve technology?
How do I get started?
What are the requirements for becoming a PROBE (Problem Oriented Business Exploration) Project?
There are two requirements for being accepted as a full PROBE:
1. Develop a feasible business model. While we often see great technology and innovations, usually a lot more work needs to be done to develop a viable business model.
2. Convince us that you are serious about creating this business. If you are going to use our limited time and resources, we want to make sure that you are really passionate about creating your business. You can convince us by following up on the ‘homework’, reaching some milestones and communicating regularly.
What is the difference between a PROBE and a PROBE- in- Process (PiP)?
APiP is the first stage of working with Olympus until we are sure both requirements are met. Just like a PROBE, you’ll get advice, introductions, and can work in the Olympus space while other PROBE team members are present. However, you can’t be the first to arrive or the last to leave because you won’t get keys and a security code until you become a full PROBE.
In addition to keys and a security code so they can be at Olympus 24/7, PROBEs also are listed on our website and are given greater opportunities for public exposure such as press and TV interviews, and presenting at Olympus Show & Tells. PROBEs also get invited to special meetings and events where attendance is limited. Lastly, only PROBEs are eligible to apply for Spark Grant Funds.
Does Olympus take any equity or own any of my business?
Nope. We only ask two things of the students that we help:1) Whenever possible and where appropriate, give public recognition that Olympus helped you with your business. Examples of recognition: putting our logo on your presentations and/or listing us as an advisor. And when talking to others and being interviewed by the press, tell them that we helped you. The reason this is important to us is because when we are trying to raise money to fund our operation, it helps when potential donors hear from people like you that we’ve made a difference.
2) Remember us when you are rich and famous! Truly. We hope (and frankly expect) you to express your appreciation with a generous financial contribution to help keep Olympus going so we can help other students in the future.
Does Olympus provide any funding?
Does CMU claim the right to own any of my intellectual property?
If the answer is ‘NO’ to both of these questions, CMU does not claim the right to innovations/inventions developed by its students.
- Has there been any federal funding of the research that led to the invention?
(This generally applies to a PhD student or post doc conducting research in a faculty lab which is funded by federal grants).
- Has there been ‘substantial use’ of university resources (i.e. >~$10,000)?