Frequently Asked Questions
BlueLaunch runs each summer, from mid-May to early August. Class 2 launches May 17, 2023, and runs through August 4, 2023.
BlueLaunch will be hosted off-campus in a local Houston innovation space, and founders will have access to the space for the duration of the program. There are some virtual program components, but these are not substitutes for in-person components.
BlueLaunch is a 12-week, full-time program. While the program does not have 40 hours of scheduled programming, founders are expected to spend the remainder of their time working on their businesses.
Accepted participants are expected to engage full-time; however, you may participate on a part-time basis if you have at least one other team member who is dedicated to participating full-time. Participating full-time founders should have decision-making power within the business. BlueLaunch includes mentoring, curriculum and exposure to Houston’s best resources. Throughout the summer, founders are expected to meet a number of program requirements, including but not limited to:
- Attending and actively engaging in training sessions, workshops, events, mentoring, and weekly accountability meetings
- Setting and reporting key performance metrics
- Conducting customer interviews
- Building brand identity, website, and marketing materials
- Developing a clear, concise, compelling pitch, and pitch video
- Pitching at organized events
- Entrepreneurial training
- Access to resources and mentors including legal, financial, and marketing
- Experience real-time, immersive application and receive immediate feedback
- A cohort of like-minded peers from Rice University and University of Houston, and access to the universities' accelerator alumni network
- Grow an invaluable professional network
BlueLaunch offers office hours with subject matter experts (including legal and others), heavily discounted or free access to software and services, and access to coworking space.
We are looking for product-oriented and/or service-oriented small businesses that are looking to level up their ventures.
Eligible small businesses can include 1 - 5 founders, and at least one founder must be affiliated with Rice University. This includes currently enrolled students (in good academic standing), faculty, staff across all schools and all disciplines, as well as recent alumni.
At least one team member must commit to participating in the program full-time. Solo founders may apply. Additional participating team members can include non-Rice affiliates, so long as at least one team member within the small business is affiliated with Rice University.
BlueLaunch is industry-agnostic: ventures across all industries are invited to apply.
No. While helpful, an already established product or service, you should have a ready-to-execute idea, and be able to demonstrate the skills and expertise to carry the idea to fruition during the program.
Additionally, incorporation status is not a qualifying criterion for this program. However, incorporated applicants are not excluded from consideration.
BlueLaunch is free—in fact, we pay you for your full engagement in the program! Team members participating full-time in the program are eligible to receive a stipend. Neither BlueLaunch nor Rice University takes any equity: the ownership and decisions are yours.
Applications are open February 20 – March 13 at 11:59 pm CT. Applications close at 12:00 am CT on March 14. You can apply here. Be sure to review the instructions prior to applying as there is no option to save and finish later.
Once you have completed the application, you will receive a confirmation email and a copy of your application. If your application reveals a potential fit for BlueLaunch, your team will be invited to interview. Accepted teams will be notified on or around April 3, 2023.
Accepted founders are expected to participate full-time; however, you may participate on a part-time basis if you have at least two team members who are dedicated to participating in BlueLaunch full-time. Because BlueLaunch is a rigorous, fast-paced program, participating full-time founders must have decision-making power.
BlueLaunch is open to ventures with 1 – 5 founders (members), and at least one founder must be a Rice University affiliate (student, faculty, staff, or recent alumni). Rice University students must be currently enrolled and in good academic standing.
Additionally, at least one founder must commit to participating in the program full-time. Solo founders may apply.
Your team can include non-Rice affiliates, as long as your team has at least one Rice affiliate.
Yes! International students are eligible. If accepted, you would need to work through OISS to secure proper authorization to participate and receive the stipend. If your startup is accepted into the program, it is your responsibility to start the authorization process ASAP to ensure participation on Launch Day.
Let’s schedule a time to chat about your options so we can make a proper recommendation on the program best suited for you.