These grants provide seed funding for start-up ventures in the field of business and the environment. The goal of the funding is to support student and faculty in creating competitive commercial enterprises that market viable products, services, and projects with environmental benefits to society.
Seed stage venture grants are for student and faculty ventures from departments across Yale University. Up to two seed stage venture grants of $10,000 each will be awarded. Use of the grant proceeds is limited to one year and may cover expenses including but not limited to stipends for undergraduate and undergraduate students, equipment, analyses, data purchasing and surveying, business filing, and travel for faculty and students
The application must include:
- Qualtrics online application
- Business model canvas (see application for details)
- Excel-based budget
- CVs of team Members
Successful proposals should meet the following criteria:
- Team - At least one current Yale student must be involved in the venture
- Venture - The business concept must be commercially viable and produce environmental benefits for society
Starting in 2019, CBEY has added mentorship sessions. In October, David Sobotka and Peter Boyd will be available for in-person consultations to help teams with their business models. We strongly encourage teams to meet with at least one of them for guidance. These sessions are non-evaluative and have no bearing on the selection process. Neither David nor Peter are part of the judging panel.
- Applications open: October 7, 2019
- Applications close: Friday, November 8, 2019 at 11:59 PM
- The grant coordinators will be holding office hours at CBEY and Tsai CITY to discuss the application process. If you have specific questions that are not covered on this page or in the application itself, please feel free to sign up for these sessions. Sign-ups are currently closed and will open in October 2019.
Grant submitters will be notified within 30 business days of the application deadline whether or not they have been awarded a seed stage venture grant. These are competitive grants that will be evaluated and selected by faculty members and business practitioners. Proposals will be evaluated for the following:
- Potential for the venture to be commercially viable and contribute environmental benefits to society
- Effective use of grant proceeds to advance the venture
- Overall team composition including knowledge, skills, and abilities
The following requirements are expected of the faculty and student venture receiving seed stage venture grant funding:
- Professional Development - Team members are required to participate in either the Tsai CITY professional development workshops or one of Yale's start-up practicum courses
- Competitions - Teams who receive Sobotka Grants are encouraged to compete in the Sabin Environmental Venture Prize
- Acknowledgment - Where relevant, ventures should acknowledge support from the Sobotka Seed Stage Venture Grants
Over the years, the Sobotka Seed Stage Grant program has supported many start-up sustainable business ventures. Read the stories about past recipients and how this grant impacted the trajectory of their ideas.
1. Can my business idea be an international venture and not necessarily within the USA?
Absolutely, your venture can be anywhere globally provided it has an environmentally beneficial impact.
2. What are my chances of winning?
Every application is considered holistically and has an equal and fair opportunity to win. Historically we have received between 12-18 applications per year.
3. Does it matter where in the process I am?
4. Is the Sobotka Grant more for environmental or social businesses ventures?
Environmental impact is a requirement for the application. However, if your venture has a predominately positive social impact and a minor environmental impact, then we still encourage you to apply as we consider these applications seriously.