General

What is Catapult?

Catapult believes every student, idea, and startup has the possibility to do great things. We develop the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs by running a startup incubator for high school students. Over the course of 3 months, we provide participants with an unprecedented, immersive entrepreneurial experience. Students gather for three four-day intensives, each time in an entrepreneurial-focused city. Between sessions, the ventures are refined and iterated on with the guidance of advisors. The incubator culminates in a Demo Day where founders pitch to judges in the hopes of gaining valuable feedback, new mentors, and prospective seed-level investments.

Program

When and where is the program?

In all Incubators, Catapult students gather for three four-day intensives. For Catapult’s 2017 Summer each intensive will meet in a different entrepreneurial-focused city: Chicago, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, and New York City.

 

2017 SUMMER

Session 1 - Chicago

high school entrepreneurship program chicago
  • June 17 - June 20

Session 2 - Silicon Valley

high school entrepreneurship program san francisco
  • July 8 - July 11

Session 3 - New York City

high school entrepreneurship program new york city
  • July 29 - August 2

The Summer 2017 Incubator dates are:

Weekend 1: June 17-20 (Saturday afternoon – Tuesday afternoon), Chicago
Weekend 2: July 8-11 (Saturday afternoon – Tuesday afternoon), Silicon Valley
Weekend 3: July 29-August 2 (Saturday afternoon – Wednesday afternoon), New York City

What is the difference between a Founder and a Free Agent?

Founders are students with an already developed, tested, and/or implemented business venture. Free Agents are students who do not have a venture idea in mind, but are interested in becoming entrepreneurs and working on a startup.

How are Founders and Free Agents paired?

Successful startups are only possible with a great team. Founders and Free Agents will not be paired until the first weekend session – after all students have had the opportunity to get to know each other, and Founders have ‘pitched’ their ideas to the Free Agents at their respective locations. The skills, background, and interests of all students are then taken into account before teams are matched manually by Catapult staff.

What is the all-inclusive cost to attend Catapult?

The all-inclusive program fee is $4,900.

Breakdown of Program Fee:

$3,000 – Tuition
$1,900 – Room+Board+Local Transportation*

Travel expenses to the program city are the responsibility of participants. Once you land at the airport, Catapult will coordinate and facilitate all logistics.

*Students are responsible for purchasing one off-site team meal every Saturday night of the program (three total).

Needs-based tuition scholarships are available; students interested in applying for financial aid will be prompted for further information once they begin the Catapult application process. This year, available scholarships will range from $400 – $2,250.

Additionally, a select amount of $1,000 merit-based Tuition Awards are available to Founders and Free Agents each year. To see more details please click here.

Please note that a non-refundable $400 deposit is necessary for accepted students to enroll in the cohort. This amount will apply to the all-inclusive program fee.

Note: In the case that you are awarded a scholarship, you will be asked to upload your family’s 2015 personal (1040 Form) tax returns as well as business tax returns if applicable.

What is the time commitment?

Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a side project. Full commitment for the 3 months is mandatory. We ask students to set aside a minimum of 15-20 hours a week for the 2017 Summer cohort.

Do I have to attend weekend sessions?

Yes, students will be expected to attend all three weekend sessions. For our 2017 Summer cohort, the weekend sessions will be in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.

Do all members of a venture team have to attend Catapult?

Yes, we require all students of a venture team to attend. The in-person weekend sessions involve a high level of group work, ideating, and team development activities.

I have a team already. Do I need to accept additional Free Agents?

It depends! One of the most valuable parts of Catapult for Founders is access to amazing Free Agents. While Founders can apply to Catapult with their existing venture team –  if that existing team has less than six members, then you will be required to accept additional Free Agents. That way, you’ll have the resources you need throughout the Incubator to take your idea to the next level.

Does Catapult take equity?

No, Catapult does not take equity from ventures that participate in our Incubator program.

Do Founders have to give equity to Free Agents?

Free Agents brought onto the team are supporting the venture in a strictly voluntary capacity and only for the duration of the program. At the conclusion of the program, students can determine amongst themselves whether or not to continue to work together. There is no obligation or expectation that they do so, or that Founders give equity to Free Agents – however, we have legal counsel that can support teams if they wish to do so.

How long of a commitment does a Free Agent have to their team?

Full commitment for the 3 months is mandatory for all team members, including Free Agents. We ask students to set aside approximately 15-20 hours weekly for the 2017 Summer cohort.

After the program, Free Agents are not obligated to remain engaged with their venture team. However, we do see many teams continue to work together. This relationship can be determined by the team towards the end of the program, subject to the interest of the group.

How long is the program?

The Catapult Incubator runs from Jun 17 – Aug 2nd, a total of 6.5 weeks. Some of that time is virtual, meaning you will be working with your team remotely. There is an additional 2 weeks of prep work before the first session.

  • Kickoff: June 17-20, Chicago
  • Phase 1: June 21-July 7, working virtually with your team
  • Phase 2: July 8-11, Silicon Valley<
  • Phase 3: July 12-28, working virtually with your team
  • Demo Day (think Shark Tank): July 29-August 2, New York City<

Admissions

Who is eligible for Catapult?

Catapult is open to any high school student who is currently in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. Depending on circumstances, gap year students may be eligible as well. We welcome both U.S. and international applicants.

What qualities is the admissions committee looking for in a Catapult candidate?

We look for students who are driven, team-oriented, resourceful, and entrepreneurial in some capacity. Students will have the option of applying as either a Founder or Free Agent. The criteria differs based on the type of application, as there are unique qualifications to both participant options.

Founder

FOUNDER

  • Has taken initiative in developing a venture idea; this could take the form of product testing, development, customer interviews, or actual implementation of the idea
  • Has a sustainable revenue and/or funding model
  • Has a vision that can be replicated and scaled
  • Our founders are positive, motivated, adaptable risk takers willing to learn and take feedback from their team, advisors, and customers to improve their venture

FREE AGENT

  • Does not have an established venture idea, but is looking to gain hands-on startup experience
  • Ready to join an established Founder’s venture team and contribute meaningfully from Day 1
  • Has a strong interest in gaining hands-on experience in entrepreneurship, innovation, and business

How do I apply to Catapult?

Catapult is currently accepting applications to our Summer 2017 cohort. To apply to Catapult:

Request access and unlock the Catapult application at catapultideas.com/apply
Create your FluidReview account and submit your short essays & videos
Schedule and conduct your Skype interview within 1 week of submitting your application

Thanks to our rolling admissions process, you will be notified of your status the Monday following your Skype interview.

If you have any questions, feel free to email admissions [at] catapultideas.com.

How are students selected?

There is a two-stage selection process: written application and virtual interview. Catapult is looking for smart, driven, team-oriented, resourceful, and entrepreneurial-spirited individuals. Most importantly, we are looking for dedicated students; Catapult is an intensive program that requires a 5 hour weekly commitment outside of the in-person weekend sessions.

How many students will be selected?

Catapult focuses on accepting students who are a strong fit for the Incubator framework. For this reason, each cohort may be of varying size.

Are there scholarships available?

Needs-based tuition scholarships are available; students interested in applying for financial aid will be prompted for further information once they begin the Catapult application process. This year, available scholarships will range from $400 – $2,250.

Note: In the case that you are awarded a scholarship, you will be asked to upload your family’s 2015 personal (1040 Form) tax returns as well as business tax returns if applicable.

Additionally, a select amount of $1,000 merit-based Tuition Awards are available to Founders and Free Agents each year. To see more details please click here.

Scholarships for Transportation, Room, Board, and Local Transportation are not available. For those who are not receive scholarships, we are available to talk through some different possibilities in raising funds in your local communities.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

The scholarship application process is explained in the Individual Information of the application. Students are asked for basic family financial information such as income, assets, and number of children. We encourage all students to discuss with their parents prior to submitting the numbers.

Is there a team discount and/or team scholarship?

No. Tuition is paid per individuals, and scholarships are awarded on an individual need-based level.

When are the application deadlines?

Due to our rolling admissions process, applications are reviewed every Friday until the cohort is filled. We strongly recommend applying as soon as possible to ensure spots are still available in the cohort. In the event that the cohort fills up prior to a deadline, all applications will be closed down.

Summer 2017 Incubator:
Early Application Deadline: Monday, December 5th at 11:59pm PST
Regular Application Deadline: Monday, February 27th at 11:59pm PST
Final Application Deadline*: Monday, April 24th at 11:59pm PST
*if space in the cohort is available

If I apply as a Founder, can I bring in team members from my own network / venture?

Yes, Founders may be able to bring on additional Team Members to their venture application. However, all Team Members must individually apply to Catapult by cohort deadlines and meet admissions standards. Due to rolling admissions, in the case that the cohort fills up prior to a deadline, Catapult will not be able to guarantee a spot for Team Members.

As a note, only one applicant needs to apply as Venture Idea (Single Founder / Team Lead). The rest of the team should apply as Venture Idea (Team Member) and list the same venture name down.

Can I apply as both a Founder and Free Agent?

Yes! If you’d like to apply as a Free Agent, but also have a viable business idea – we encourage you to apply as a Founder. Even if it ends up being at too early of a stage for Catapult, the admissions committee will provide valuable feedback on how you can continue to grow your venture. There is an option in the Founder application to indicate interest in being considered as a Free Agent if the Venture idea is not accepted.

How many individuals should be on each venture team?

Each venture team should be the equivalent of a start-up’s c-suite— the primary drivers and decision-makers within your company. Therefore, we recommend teams of no less than 5, and ideally six, individuals. While we can make exceptions in limited circumstances, the decision to admit any more / less than this will be at the discretion of the admissions committee.

Parent

Can I participate in the weekend sessions?

While the majority of Catapult programming is student-only, we do have Parent Workshops which we would love to have you as a participant. Please see our Parent section to learn more.

Does Catapult provide lodging for my son/daughter?

Yes. Catapult has orchestrated and arranged all housing requirements during your students stay. Catapult’s program fee is all-inclusive, including Room and Board needs and requirements. Students are required to stay on-site with other students throughout the duration of the event.

What is the all-inclusive cost to attend Catapult?

The all-inclusive program fee is $4,900.

Breakdown of Program Fee:

$3,000 – Tuition
$1,900 – Room+Board+Local Transportation*

Travel expenses to the program city are the responsibility of participants. Once you land at the airport, Catapult will coordinate and facilitate all logistics.

*Students are responsible for purchasing one off-site team meal every Saturday night of the program (three total).

Needs-based tuition scholarships are available; students interested in applying for financial aid will be prompted for further information once they begin the Catapult application process. This year, available scholarships will range from $400 – $2,250.

Additionally, a select amount of $1,000 merit-based Tuition Awards are available to Founders and Free Agents each year. To see more details please click here.

Please note that a non-refundable $400 deposit is necessary for accepted students to enroll in the cohort. This amount will apply to the all-inclusive program fee.

Note: In the case that you are awarded a scholarship, you will be asked to upload your family’s 2015 personal (1040 Form) tax returns as well as business tax returns if applicable.

Does Catapult cover transportation to the city that Catapult is held?

No, all participants will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to the respective city in which their Catapult program is hosted. Once your student lands at the airport, Catapult will coordinate and facilitate all details.

Advisor

Who is eligible to be an advisor?

We welcome young professionals from all educational and academic backgrounds. Although the majority of our advisors come from consulting, tech, and entrepreneurial backgrounds, the most important thing to Catapult is dedication and passion for working with young entrepreneurs.

How many advisors will be selected?

We will select 1-2 advisors per team at each location.

What exactly does an advisor do?

Advisors work side-by-side with their teams throughout the course of the incubator. During the three weekend sessions, advisors help students with both business strategy and team development. Between the weekend sessions, advisors participate in weekly Skype / phone calls with teams and help guide the progress of the team.

Can I choose which team I want to advise?

Advisors do have the opportunity to provide feedback on which teams they work with  – and although we cannot guarantee you will get your first choice, we will try our best to match you with a top that fits your professional background and personal interests.

What is the time commitment of an advisor?

During the twelve week Incubator, advisors participate in 3 weekend sessions for two days (Saturday and Sunday). Advisors also spend an additional 4-6 hours a month outside of the weekend sessions on calls and email exchanges with the team.

What are the benefits of being an advisor?

The first benefit is meeting other like-minded young professionals; advisors will be part of a cohort of 10 fellow grad students and working professionals.

Second, it is a way to have a tangible impact on a youth venture, as advisors are very involved in their respective ventures from beginning to end.

Finally, it is a good springboard for entry into the startup world!

How do I apply to be an advisor?

Applications are by invitation only. If you have not received an invitation and feel like you would have a strong application, please email advisor [at] catapultideas.com with your request.

Partner

Who are your partners?

We have a diverse set of partners, ranging from corporations and venture capital firms to consulting firms and universities.

What do partners do?

Our partners are those who help us in one of three areas: financial support, in-kind support, and human capital.

How does a financial partner support Catapult?

Our financial supporters provide us with funds to run our programs. The funding goes towards costs such as programming, scholarships, and Demo Day awards.

How does an in-kind partner support Catapult?

Our in-kind supporters aid Catapult primarily with food, office supplies, transportation, and lodging.

How does a human capital partner support Catapult?

Our human capital partners are an invaluable part of Catapult. They serve as advisors, guest lecturers, specialists, and Demo Day judges.