Student Seed Innovation Grants
What is a Student Seed Innovation Grant?
Student Seed Innovation Grants (SSIG) are donor funded grants of $3,000.00 - $8,000.00 that empower students to investigate burning questions and solve real world problems. Any student at Colorado College may apply to receive an SSIG.
By providing a resource for student exploration and creative inquiry, SSIG help fulfill Creativity & Innovation at CC’s mission to “empower students with the tools and creative confidence to be changemakers.” The use of the word changemaker intentionally strays from “entrepreneur” to recognize that innovation happens not only in the business and tech worlds, but culturally, socially, and personally as well.
When selecting SSIG recipients, the most important element that the committee will be looking for is a burning curiosity/desire/passion a student has for exploring a question, seeking a solution, and/or solving a problem. Applicants do not need to know exactly how a solution will unfold when submitting an application, but they will need to demonstrate an authentic desire and drive to have a positive impact in solving a problem and a willingness to explore a question through various stages of development and execution.
Through this program, Creativity & Innovation seeks to be an idea accelerator by providing resources for students to be creative problem-solvers, to embrace ambiguity, and to iterate their way forward.
Who Should Apply for a Student Seed Innovation Grant?
If you are a currently enrolled CC student who is passionate about exploring a problem/idea and iterating solutions, you should consider applying.
Do Proposed Projects Need to be Business Ideas?
Proposed SSIG projects do not need to be framed as businesses.
SSIG Guidelines and Student Eligibility
Individual students may apply for grants up to $6,000.00. Student teams of two or more may apply for grants of up to $8,000.00.
SSIG grant projects must be designed to complete within 12-months.
Grant funds cannot be used for:
- Patent applications
- To rent office space
- To hire professional services to implement and/or complete the project.
- Grants are designed to facilitate student exploration and inquiry into a specific a project/idea vs. funding an outside organization to uncover insights.
- You may use grant funds to pay a professional to teach you a specific skill or to assist you in completing a design element. It is imperative that the applicant be involved in each step of the project’s process.
Students may receive only one SSIG per academic year.
All enrolled Colorado College students in good standing are eligible to apply. Seniors may apply if the proposed project will commence and complete within the 12 months after their graduation.
Students may not receive more than one SSIG in a calendar year.
The Role of Mentors in the Program
All SSIG recipients must have a mentor who will help guide them through the project ideation and implementation process. Mentors will serve as support and feedback as SSIG recipients move projects forward. Mentors must not be tasked with setting meetings or initiating requests for updates on the project. The SSIG recipient will be the lead in making sure that their chosen mentor is kept up-to-date on progress. Consistent meetings (at least once a month) should be scheduled by the recipient to update their mentor on the project and ask relevant questions/request feedback.
SSIG applicants should choose a mentor who is good at helping them think through problems and road blocks. Ideally mentors will have some expertise/relevant experience in what the applicant is investigating. What one student needs will not necessarily be what another student needs so it is hard to get specific on exactly what role the mentor will play other than they need to be willing to show up and engage regularly.
As the SSIG program grows, Creativity & Innovation at CC will not have the bandwidth to mentor all who receive grants which is why it’s important to have a defined support structure in place (mentor).
Mentors can include: CC faculty and/or staff members, community members (local or not) with relevant expertise.
Mentors must agree to participate prior to grant application submission and will be required to sign a mentor agreement prior the student receiving the grant award.
Letters of Recommendation
SSIG applicants will need to submit two letters of recommendation with their grant application. One letter of recommendation must be from the applicant’s mentor. The second letter of recommendation must be from a CC faculty member. The faculty recommendation can be, but does not have to be, from your CC advisor. Similarly, if the applicant asks their faculty advisor to be their mentor for the project, we request a second recommendation from a different faculty member be submitted with the application.
SSIG Submission Process
Student Seed Innovation Grant submissions are due the final Wednesday of blocks 1, 3, 5 and 7. SSIG grant recipients are notified by end of the second week of blocks 2, 4, 6 and 8.
Grant submissions include:
- Written proposal materials submitted for internal review
- Grant Application (via Summit)
- Letters of Recommendation
- Applicant’s Official Transcript
- Question/answer session between applicant and grant committee (if necessary)
Grant submissions are reviewed and awarded by the SSIG Grant Committee which is comprised of Creativity & Innovation at CC staff, members of the Creativity & Innovation steering committee, and select CC staff members.
Informational sessions will be provided three times a year by Creativity & Innovation at CC to educate students on SSIG submission requirements and process.
Submission Step 1: Written Proposal Materials
Written grant proposals will be due the last Wednesday of block 1, 3, 5 and 7. To be considered, written submissions must include the following:
- An essay or overview of 500 – 1,000 words (not more than 1,500) that:
- Defines the problem or idea that the applicant proposed to explore/solve
- The steps the student will take to complete the proposed project
- Estimated timeline from initiation to completion
- Estimated budget of how the grant money will be spent
- Two letters of recommendation that support the student’s ability and desire to take on the proposed project:
- One from a CC faculty member
- One from the student’s mentor
- Official transcript
Other requirements depending on project scope:
- If working with humans, student must contact CC IRB for approval and include the approval document.
- If working with vertebrate animals, student must receive approval from IACAU for the project and include the approval document.
- If travelling internationally, student must consult with Center for Global Education & Field Study and provide documentation of meeting, including authorization to travel to specified destination.
Submissions will only be considered if all required materials listed above are submitted.
Project proposals should clearly define the student’s guiding question/objective, demonstrate the student’s unique passion for solving the problem, and demonstrate the student’s qualifications for answering the question.
Applicants may be asked to participate in a question/answer session with members of the grant committee to further understand the project’s objective/approach prior to a decision being made.
SSIG Award Notification
The students chosen to receive an SSIG will be notified by end of the second week of the block following submission.
Students not chosen to receive an SSIG will be given feedback from the committee on how to improve their application and may resubmit for an SSIG in the next submission cycle.
Prior to Receiving Grant Funds
Prior to receiving grant funds, recipients will:
- Sign a contract stating that they will thank the donor funding the SSIG grants by writing a hand-written thank you note.
- This will be delivered by C&I at CC to the donor on behalf of the recipient.
- They will repay up to 50% of the total grant amount (total amount due will be at the discretion of the SSIG committee) if they abandon the project prior to completion.
- Project scope may change, but abandonment of the project completely will result in repayment.
- Receive and electronically sign a commitment agreement between the grant recipient and mentor.
- Receive approval from Residential Life that ensures the recipient is in good standing with the college
- This approval is part of the financial process and does not require action on part of the recipient or mentor.
SSIG Reporting Requirements
- SSIG will be paid in two parts. The initial half of the total grant amount will be deposited into the student’s CC account within two weeks of the grant award.
- To receive the second half of the total grant amount, students will be required to submit a progress report on their project midway/not later than 6-months after the initial money is received. The progress report should include:
- Recap of the project idea/objective
- Actions taken to date to fulfill the project idea/objectives
- Initial learning/insights based on the action taken to date
- Can include shift of idea/objective focus based on learnings to date
- If idea/objective has changed, a thorough explanation of how the project will move forward to completion
- Budget (estimated) of how the initial grant amount has been spent
- Confirmation from student mentor that the progress report is accurate
- Once the progress report is submitted and reviewed by the SSIG committee, the remainder of the grant money will be deposited into the student’s account.
- Upon completion of their project, not more than 12-months post award, grant recipients will be required to submit the following:
- A reflection essay or presentation that highlights what was learned and how they were changed by the project.
- A final budget, including receipts for expenditures over $50, that itemizes how the grant money was spent
Presenting Your Findings
- A certain number of grant recipients will be invited to attend, present and participate in a Q&A session about their project at the annual SSIG reception. This reception will coincide with the annual Creativity & Innovation at CC steering committee meeting and/or the annual Venture Grant showcase.
- Students who have graduated and are invited to present will be required to attend. Travel, if needed, will be arranged with Creativity & Innovation at CC.
Please contact Kara Carroll (email@example.com) with questions or for more information. To apply for a Student Seed Innovation Grant, please visit SUMMIT on the CC website and search Student Seed Innovation Grant Application.