The i-lab’s approach differs from that of other University entrepreneurship centers in its breadth, operating model, and governance. First, it accepts any student from any Harvard School with any idea, fostering cross-disciplinary, cross-university collaboration. The i-lab resources support student ventures spanning social and cultural entrepreneurship, health and sciences, technology, and consumer fields. Second, it is student-centered and faculty-enabled, with programming supplied by Schools across Harvard to help students take their ideas as far as they can go. Third, the i-lab serves as a new model for University collaboration as it is co-governed by each of the Deans of Harvard and the Provost.
The i-lab’s pedagogical approach was developed by Harvard faculty and is organized across the following four areas, which mirror the programming areas developed by the i-lab.
For students, the i-lab provides foundational learning as the educational entry point for exploring entrepreneurship and innovation. This includes the faculty-led Harvard courses focused on innovation and entrepreneurship taught in the i-lab classroom, and includes a repository of skill-based workshop and seminar videos, presentation materials, and guides.
For students who have identified a project or venture they want to pursue, we offer a number of practical resources that help students further inform, improve, and advance their ideas. For Harvard students, these resources include 75 evening workshops and seminars hosted by the i-lab, one-on-one office hours with over 25 Experts-in-Residence, and 4 partner law firms. Additionally, we work with Community Partner organizations to offer resources to both Harvard students and members of the public including: office hours, workshops, and counseling sessions.
For Harvard students and teams wanting to test and refine their ideas and ventures, i-lab programming includes a number of resources that place students in less structured environments in order to ‘learn by doing’. This programming includes our Challenge competitions, week-long trips to vibrant startup ecosystems including Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston, Weekend hackathons, Scrambles, and Coding Bootcamps, and a Startup Career fair.
For Harvard student-led teams whose ventures have progressed to a more advanced stage, the i-lab offers a Venture Incubation Program (VIP) during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of each calendar year. Teams who participate in the VIP are eligible for additional resources, including dedicated workspace, guided mentoring, private workshops, and a number community building events.