Startup Lab is a unique entrepreneurship program. Unlike incubators and accelerators that support business founders, a startup studio separates the idea-generation phase from the phase in which a team tests and develops the idea. In February, EPITA Startup Lab selects about 30 fourth-year students to create a real-world project over the next 12 months. During that time, the students’ goal is to build a startup that can support them financially – first as interns, during their final internship – and then full-time after they graduate from EPITA.
EPITA trains the computer scientists and software engineers of the future – only our students are allowed to participate in the Startup Lab program; they join the program during their fourth year with us, using it to complete their final project for their engineering degrees.
For 12 months, the students work in teams to generate ideas and begin developing a minimum viable product or service, while simultaneously researching market demand.
A specialized team of instructors supports the Startup Lab students, through presentations about market opportunities and examples of successful startups in other countries, or emerging technologies that are underused. Once a team has selected a topic, they receive a weekly coaching session to help them create their product, do market research, found their company and solicit funding for it.
Alongside this 12-month development project, students meet weekly with a successful tech entrepreneur who shares his or her experience and challenges related to a specific startup launch topic such as product development, digital marketing, client acquisition, hiring, fundraising, etc.
When students join Startup Lab, it’s a guarantee that they be involved in founding startup that has a real-world impact: creating value and jobs.