Which students would benefit most from the Next Step Fellowship?

The Next Step Fellowship is designed to assist the student with researching their idea for a new, or enhancement of an existing product, service or non-profit, which could serve as the basis for a new business venture or entrepreneurial initiative. Fellowship resources support them as they research their concept, in order to determine its commercial/market viability. When completed the student to complete a full business abstract and is ready to solicit funding.

What is included in the Next Step Fellowship?

The Next Step Fellowship provides student entrepreneurs with resources in three vital areas for business creation - Student Stipend, Technical Support, and Research Capital.

Student Stipend

  • Ability to receive $7.25 per hour, for (non-class related) time spent on the concept and business venture development, for up to 10-hours per week.


  • Five hours of personalized consulting time with the JCEL/HCBI team - assistance with business abstract, marketing research and locating additional funding sources
  • Personal introduction to and interaction with an entrepreneurial mentor
  • Connection with professional service providers in accounting, law, banking and insurance

Research Capital

  • Up to $500 to support business/product concept research expenses (purchases, long distance, copies, mileage reimbursement, service providers, etc.)

What is the Application Process?

1. Students submit a business abstract electronically to the JCEL Executive Director.

Business Abstract (2-3 pages) should address the following questions:

  • Student Entrepreneur(s) Information - name, class year, academic advisers, email, phone and address
  • Describe something that does not exist that you plan to create or an opportunity to improve an existing product or service or identify a social entrepreneurship project.
  • Who would purchase your product or service or need your effort?
  • What makes your proposed product or service better, faster and/or cheaper than your competition (if any exist)?
  • As a student entrepreneur, describe your experience and motivation as it relates to your business or social entrepreneurship idea.
  • Develop an "Action/Work Plan" detailing how many hours you would spend per week researching your business idea/concept. List step-by-step actions to be taken and an estimate of how many hours it will take to complete each step. Action/Work Plan should be an addendum to the abstract.

Note: Students requiring assistance in developing their Business Abstract are encouraged to contact the JCEL staff.

2. JCEL Staff will review proposal, meet with student entrepreneur and provide staff comments with recommended action to JCEL Seed Capital Committee.

3. JCEL Seed Capital Committee will review staff comments with recommended action and make final decision.