Copyright © Entrepreneurship Foundation 

Copyright © Entrepreneurship Foundation 

Copyright © Entrepreneurship Foundation 

​​​​Entrepreneurship Foundation

Student Development Projects for Local Businesses

Certificate of Appreciation

At the conclusion of the semester, the Entrepreneurship Foundation will provide a Certificate of Proficiency for each of your students.

The Entrepreneurship Foundation matches new IT projects from local startups and early-stage businesses with computer science classes seeking realistic experiences and employer contacts for their students.

​Information for Professors

Prior to the start of each semester, we receive requests from from Connecticut startups and early stage companies for new website development and computer and mobile applications.

Benefits to society and the local economy derive from launching new software products and SAAS that lean startups could not otherwise afford, and of course, new job creation--for which the students should have an inside track.

The benefits to the students are real-world experience, skills in communicating and working with clients and project managers, business references and job experience to show on their resumes.  Our assumption--since borne out by experience--was that early-stage companies are more likely to employ recent grads than are large entities with a long list of exacting requirements, not the least of which is 5 to 7 years of experience.  Indeed, some of the students who worked on recent pro bono projects were subsequently hired by their clients. 

If you are a department head and would like to participate in this program, please advise via the "Contact" tab.

Let us know ...

  1. Target date for selecting projects;
  2. Number of projects you would like.  In other schools, students work in teams, so the number of projects per classroom has usually been 4 or 5.

We will provide you with a list of project requests from local companies.  (A potential additional learning experience for students is to extend to them the opportunity to choose among a short list of projects selected by the professor. Evaluating the feasibility and commercial worth of alternative IT-based proposals is a valuable job skill.)

TEAM STRUCTURE.  If they work on projects in teams, students are forced to employ project management skills and learn how to parse a complex project into discreet parts for each student or sub-team to execute.  Effective communications skills are also necessary to succeed: not only among team members but between the students and client.

IT PROFICIENCY OF COMPANY CLIENTS ranges from 1-person startups with an idea and little IT acumen to tech-savvy serial entrepreneurs with employees and revenue.  In any event, the companies are small enough that the students are able to interface directly with the CEO or CIO to obtain timely decisions and approvals.

COMPLEXITY OF PROJECTS range from a mobile app to interactive databases on web platforms with UI.

DURATION OF PROJECTS.  Most are such that they can be completed in one semester.

​​​​​​Information for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs may register a project at
If you have any questions, please Contact us.​

Program mission.  To provide meaningful real-world, resume-enhancing experiences for students; while providing early-stage companies with access to affordable (in this case free) programming talent.

Student grade level.  Projects are typically capstone projects for Juniors, seniors or grad students.

Languages and platforms.  The students should be comfortable working with any current technology.

Confidentiality.  Students cannot sign confidentiality agreements.  The whole point for them is to be able to tell a prospective employer that they worked on a real-life project, and to describe the work they did. Of course, they would not have to reveal code or trade secrets to do so.

IP ownership.  The client company retains full rights to the IP and any coding or design performed by the students or faculty.  Please be aware that in many cases students are not permitted to sign confidentiality agreements.  The object is for them is to be able to tell a prospective employer that they worked on a real-life project, and to describe the work they did. Of course, they would not have to reveal code or trade secrets to do so.

Time frame for project completion.  Fall or Spring semester, which are typically 15 weeks: September through December or January to May.

Structure.  These are not internships. Team of 2-6 students will work on projects in teams, with guidance from instructor and you, the client.
Skill levels are high, but process will be slower than with a full-time paid development team.  You will need to be involved to answer questions, validate and test progress -- but no more or less than with any development source.

Typical process.   

  1. Prepare requirements doc, based on interviews with client
  2. Design on paper (wire frame)
  3. When approved, transfer design into code
  4. Quality assurance testing

Types of projects best suited as student projects.  In deciding whether to submit, or which project to submit, think back to your days as a student.  The students will naturally rather work on a new project than try to fix someone else’s mistakes.  Also, look for projects that a team of students could complete in one semester.  Of course, having a well-defined objective statement or even a wire-frame showing what you would like the software to do and how you envisioning it working is certainly a plus.

Student Performance.   To evaluate the pilot program, from the standpoint of the clients, we conducted a survey of the contact person at each company; generally the CEO, as to their experience with the program, overall satisfaction, and recommendations for improvement.  In March of 2015 a survey was sent to all 12 companies that participated in the two-year pilot program.  Of these 12, 8 responded; 1 could not be reached, and 3 did not respond. Highlights of the results are as follows:

There was an interesting correlation between knowledge of the client and the client’s satisfaction with the work. The explanation may be that clients who do not appreciate the difficulty and time requirements for software or web development, may have unrealistic expectations, and therefore more likely to be disappointed.  

Companies seeking local developer talent may also want to exhibit at one of our upcoming IT Job Fairs, held each Spring and Fall.