FYIF FAQs

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What is the First-Year Innovation Fellowship (FYIF) program?
The FYIF program is a program designed to help incoming first-year students further develop or launch ideas with meaningful impact. It provides resources, coaching, and a supportive community to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

Who is eligible to apply for the FYIF program?
Incoming first-year students at BU who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship, with a passion for problem-solving and a desire to make a positive impact, are eligible to apply for the FYIF program. Students must also be entering BU in the Fall of 2023 and should be able to commit at least 6 hours a month of their time to the program. See the events dates on the website.

Do I need to have an idea to apply?
The answer is no. In the application you are asked to describe an idea or a problem that you are discontented with in the world. Overall, we are more interested to hear about a problem in the world that you are interested in solving.

What are the goals of the FYIF program?
The FYIF program aims to help fellows develop innovation skills, foster an entrepreneurial mindset, and connect fellows with BU and Boston’s innovation and entrepreneurship resources and community. It also focuses on forming lasting relationships and providing valuable skills for long-term success.

How will the FYIF program help develop innovation skills?
The program strengthens critical and creative thinking skills, teamwork and collaboration skills, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, as well as leadership capabilities. Through idea development, either individually or in teams, fellows will enhance their innovation skills.

How does the FYIF program foster an entrepreneurial mindset?
The program encourages fellows to explore different ways to make an impact. It emphasizes approaching the program and idea development with a beginner’s mindset, seeking out different perspectives and opportunities, and recognizing the value of continuous learning and adaptation.

How will the FYIF program connect me with BU and Boston’s innovation and entrepreneurship resources?
The program provides opportunities to immerse in BU and Boston’s thriving innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems through service learning opportunities. Fellows will have access to BU faculty and staff, community changemakers, and peer networks to grow their personal connections and strengthen ties to the innovation community.

What are the expectations and commitments for fellows in the FYIF program?
Fellows are expected to engage fully in the program. The fall semester focuses on community building, understanding the problem and connecting with resources, while the spring semester emphasizes idea development. Attendance at monthly mandatory workshops, community sessions, one Build lab event, coaching sessions, submission of related deliverables, and participation in additional Innovate@BU programs as appropriate are expected. On average students are asked to commit at least 6 hours a month to the program.

What happens if I cannot attend a mandatory workshop?
If you need to miss a mandatory workshop, it is your responsibility to notify the FYIF program staff at least 24 hours in advance via email (fyif@bu.edu). You should provide a plan for following up within one week of the missed program to review content and next steps. The program has a two-strikes policy, and missing two or more mandatory meetings without taking appropriate steps may result in being asked to leave the program.

Will there be community cohort gatherings, and are they mandatory?
Yes, community cohort gatherings will take place to foster deeper connections within the cohort and the innovation and entrepreneurship community. These gatherings are fun and engaging experiences. Some community events are mandatory while some are optional.

How often will coaching meetings take place?
Fellows will be asked to complete a monthly check-in with the FYIF coach and FYIF Staff to receive one-on-one coaching and support. Fellows will also be paired with a peer mentor and will be encouraged to check in with their peer mentor once a month.

Are there any other Innovate@BU events I should attend?
Yes, Fellows are encouraged to attend one Innovate@BU event outside of the mandatory sessions and community events for the cohort. This allows for connections with other student entrepreneurs involved in other programs at the BUild Lab. After each event, fellows must complete a reflection of the BUild Lab event they attended.

What is the FYIF May Showcase, and what is expected of Fellows?
The FYIF May Showcase is a culminating showcase event open to the broader BU community. Fellows will present their work-to-date, focusing on personal growth and how their ideas have developed and changed over time. Ideas are not expected to be fully developed at this stage.

How will FYIF communications be handled?
Communications will primarily be through email, with most program emails coming from fyif@bu.edu. Students are expected to respond within 24 hours on weekdays. Calendar invites will be used for sharing monthly mandatory and optional events, and students are encouraged to check the Innovate@BU Events Calendar for other relevant events. Outside of email, you wil receive quick updates via a group me chat.

What are the FYIF program materials and resources provided?
All program materials, including cohort contact information, schedules, workshop materials, and individual/team work folders to track progress, will be accessible in a shared Google Folder and on a notion page.

What is the work that we have to complete in FYIF?
Every month, there will be deliverables you have to complete that will prepare you for your cumulative pitch at the end of the program. Each deliverable you will be asked to complete will follow a hands-on approach where you will be asked to apply your learnings from the workshops to your ideas.

How does the FYIF Seed Grant work?
All participants are eligible for a $500 seed grant as they demonstrate progress on their idea throughout the year. To apply for the funds, students must submit a detailed budget outlining how the money will be spent on their idea. The budget request needs to be approved by the Program Director.

Can the seed grant be used beyond the first year at BU?
Yes, FYIF funding does not need to be spent during the first year at BU but must be requested by the end of the calendar year of the completion year.. The funds remain available to students through the 2024 calendar year and will be only available to current BU students.

How can I make the most of my participation in the FYIF program?
To make the most of the FYIF program, it is recommended to engage fully, attend all of the events, and complete all of the deliverables. It is also recommended to really commit to the program and the process you will embark on. Make sure to show up for coaching meetings and be there for your other fellows!