No, you don’t need your own business idea to join the Programme. The Foundation’s relationship with its corporate partners enables us to source projects with significant commercial potential. We welcome members of the Programme who want to bring their own business ideas but they must prove that these projects are demand driven.
During the summer bootcamp graduates tend to form their own teams naturally based on who they work best with, we try to satisfy our graduates preferences as best we can. Ultimately our experience has shown us that a team needs to be diverse and well balanced. The Foundation takes final responsibility for team selection. Although the vast majority of our graduates apply as individuals we welcome and do not break up team applications.
The Foundation does not have its own residential premises. It does though have a relationship with a Newport landlord that provides student accommodation for the local university and can introduce members of the Programme.
Applicants to the programme all need to submit their CV and details via the website’s Apply page. On the basis of the information provided we will take a decision whether or not to invite a candidate in for an interview. Before submitting their formal applications prospective Programme members are encouraged to call us for an informal chat or to visit the Foundation. Typically it takes 1 month from the date of the submission of an application to being informed of the result, but it often faster.
The investment fund is separate from the Foundation’s charitable activities. On graduation teams have the opportunity to pitch their business plan to the fund. Almost all teams have accepted this option and in exchange for an equity investment of £250,000 the team is gifted 25% of the equity in the company. The seed fund is an optional investment and we encourage our teams to shop around.
These vary according to the role each individual performs within a team. Because teams develop software based solutions three of the four positions in a team require a good level of technical coding ability. For applicants that apply for a coding position, who have yet to attain the required level of technical proficiency, the Foundation operates an intensive 6 week ‘Boot-camp’ programme. In addition we recruit graduates from a business discipline to work alongside software developers. The Programme provides graduates with entrepreneurship training. Therefore it encourages the equally important human qualities required in a successful entrepreneur such as self-confidence, communication skills, empathy, recognition of the shared strength of team work and the capacity for persistence in the face of adversity.
The ‘Boot-camp’ is a 6 week software development training programme. It provides an opportunity for graduates to boost their technical skills to the point where they have acquired a level of coding skill necessary to join the Programme. To secure a place on the ‘Boot-camp’ you need to demonstrate an aptitude and passion for coding. The ‘Boot-camp’ takes place in Newport, usually in August. The Foundation does not charge a fee for attendance on the ‘Boot-camp’. It also provides free accommodation for the period of the ‘Boot-camp’. Participants are expected to pay their own day to day living expenses.
The Programme has an excellent record of success. A very small number of teams have failed to graduate the programme. Experience of the Programme is seen as an asset by employers and in every case so far people leaving the Foundation have moved into full-time employment almost immediately. Creating a start up company provides an opportunity to fast track your career. Graduates will have to take on a large range of responsibilities that will cover the entirety of running a business. Being in a start up company requires our graduates to become designers, marketers, sales people, developers, product managers, human resource managers etc.
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