The Syracuse Technology Garden is home to the Student Sandbox business incubator.
By: Hikari Matsuo
For its fifth consecutive year, the Student Sandbox incubator at the Syracuse Technology Garden will host over a dozen new student startups, providing them with the connections and resources necessary to become successful. Many teams applied with a wide variety of ideas, ranging from products to services but only a handful became selected for the 12-week program.
The Student Sandbox is equipped with 5 large project rooms and a cubicle for each team. Internet and phone service is also provided, allowing the teams to work in an office-like setting without paying the price for one. The teams are not provided with any internal funding but many are usually recipients of a University award, such as an RvD Idea Award or are personally funded.
Sandbox director John Liddy explains that the program will follow a “rigorous schedule and curriculum to provide these entrepreneurs with the proper technical and social skills.”
The program begins with an introduction to the practical knowledge areas behind the foundations of a business. Subject matter experts and various entrepreneurs will be brought in to speak at panels to discuss entity formation as well as the particular branding of a new company. Workshops will also be held for tips on customer acquisition. Tuesdays and Thursdays will then be reserved for team meetings with mentors and staff to discuss team progress throughout the program.
The staff at the Student Sandbox found that with limited funding and skills, startups often are unable to reproduce or create the ideas they have. As a direct result, coding classes will also be provided to teams who may need it. This summer, the Sandbox will be welcoming two engineering exchange students from Thailand as interns to provide assistance in coding classes as well as other work throughout the program.
Two pitch sessions will be scheduled to provide feedback for the teams as they prepare for Demo Day in mid-August. The Sandbox program culminates with Demo Day, where each team will have five minutes to pitch to the audience for a $1,000 prize. Following the final pitch session will be a tradeshow to showcase the various products and services each team has been working on for the past 12 weeks.
In contrast from a quiet fall and spring, the Student Sandbox will be busy for the entire summer through both team and product development.
“The Sandbox is the people, program, and the place, in that order,” notes Liddy. With all three contributing factors, the summer holds new opportunities for several innovative teams.
Teams participating include:
- 196 Abroad
- Costa Efficient Cookware
- Home Grown
- Ninja Gate Studios
- R.I.S.E. Leadership