“How do I get into QØ's Catapult Incubator?”
As a high school startup incubator, we do things a little differently. We don’t use the same old boring metrics for a “good application” (*cough* transcript & laundry-list of extracurriculars*cough*). Instead, we look for applicants who have the potential to become incredible entrepreneurs and problem solvers.
We look for individuals who want to immerse themselves in an entrepreneurial experience to develop the tools and mindset to solve big problems now and in the future. We look for people we want to develop and invest in to be the future game-changers, changemakers, and business disruptors.
Today we’re pulling back the veil on what it takes to get into QØ's Catapult startup incubators. We’re passing along our advice so you can submit a knock-out application.
1. Be Authentic + Captivate Us
After a long day of reviewing applications, we’re often begging for some form of entertainment! Captivating us with your application will be a welcome gift, but most importantly, be you! Don’t try to be someone you are not, and take the time to think about “why” you really want to experience Catapult (friendly advice – it should not just be to look good on your college application).
2. Share your curiosity and passion
The best part of entrepreneurship is that you can apply it across all fields – that means everything from robotics to ballet dancing to reducing food waste. You don’t need to have an extensive background in business to want to join or launch a startup! What we want is for that curiosity & passion to come through in an authentic way.
3. Flex your creativity with your short story
Your short story can literally be about anything, so don’t limit yourself. Write something that would interest any audience, show a different side of you, or keep us on the edge of our seat.
4. Avoid these video mistakes at all costs
Repeat the exact same information from your Short Essay questions. We've already read it, don't waste your opportunity to communicate new information to us.
Read a script off of the computer (guaranteed way to kill your enthusiasm). I don't know how many videos we've seen where you can tell someone is reading a text document that is open on their computer screen right below the camera... We can tell! - instead, just be you, look into the camera, and speak to us, person to person. If you want to use a note card with an outline, go for it.
Submitting a sideways or upside down video. Double check using an incognito browser or something after you've uploaded it, or have a friend check.
Reusing a video from another event or application. We can tell, if you really want to be a part of the QØ tribe you'll probably want to have something fresh, and tailored just for this occasion.
5. Show us you have what it takes to make it in the real-world
Treat your Skype interview as an opportunity to pitch yourself. First impressions are formed quickly. This means being on time, working out your technical difficulties in advance, and looking presentable all go a long way.
Want to be a Founder?
Successful venture applications typically display well-thought out answers to the following:
- Clearly identifies the problem that the venture idea is solving
- Provides an example of a developed or active prototype (needs to be more than an idea)
- Displays efforts made to gain traction
- Coherently explains how the Venture Idea is differentiated from competitors
And again, don’t have the Venture Video just repeat the same information in the written Venture Information section! We want to know more.
It's not just about the Venture, it's also about you as a Founder:
- Explain what type of leader you are and how you can best guide a team
- Illustrate your willingness to accept advice, be flexible, and stay humble
Want to be a Free Agent?
Show us you are a good team player:
- Let your application illustrate important characteristics like flexibility, hard work, and good communication
- Help us understand what you want for the future – how do you want to use this experience?
Let your personality come through!
We don’t want a cohort full of robots. We want unique individuals with unique passions who want to solve unique problems.