Entrepreneurs Present New-and-Improved Startups at i.Lab Incubator Demo Day
By Molly Mitchell
The 2023 i.Lab Incubator concluded with a Demo Day in which student entrepreneurs from 18 ventures across UVA presented the startups they have been building to an audience of peers, mentors, and supporters.
Hosted by the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, the i.Lab incubator provides a goal-oriented, guided-learning program for student founders of innovative ventures.
i.Lab Incubator Demo Day 2023
“Demo Day—and the larger i.Lab Incubator program—is all about actively supporting student ventures; and more importantly, supporting the students themselves as budding entrepreneurs,” said Batten Institute Executive Director Omar Garriott. He emphasized aspects of the Incubator’s programming that “ensure students know key frameworks like Effectuation and Design Thinking that originated in these halls and have spread across academia and into the startup world.”
Jason Brewster, director of venture programs, thanked the faculty, staff, speakers and many others who made this year’s incubator possible and cultivated the space for a strong community. “Probably the best thing we’ve built is our community. I think we’ve engendered a lot of lifetime friends and relationships here, and the overwhelming support of the mentors has been awesome to see.”
As members of the cohort, founders receive grant funding; access to core workshops led by Darden faculty and experts; legal support; mentorship and advisory support from experienced founders and industry experts; and eligibility to apply for the Kathryne Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
“Connecting with a community of individuals navigating similar challenges has been invaluable,” said Hoi-San Guan (Darden Class of 2024), founder of food startup Boozy Frozen Treats. “The support and camaraderie from fellow entrepreneurs have not only challenged my business assumptions but also provided unwavering belief in both me and my venture when I had doubts.”
What she learned from the i.Lab changed Guan’s approach to her business’s growth strategy. “I’ve expanded my horizons to assess the regulatory landscape of all 50 states, aiming to pinpoint the optimal launch location for my products. This wouldn’t have been possible without the incubator experience,” she said.
Learn more about this summer’s ventures here.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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