How to Apply to LaunchX

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Concentrated african american woman doing paperwork, sitting in modern office on conference.

LaunchX is a program designed to help young entrepreneurs start their own companies. The main goal of LaunchX is to create successful companies and develop entrepreneurs. This means helping participants learn how to spot opportunities, build and test prototypes to meet customer needs and pitch their ideas effectively.

The program involves several key steps, ending with market validation. Participants work in teams, promoting a cooperative and respectful environment to bring out the best in each other. They also do market research and create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is a basic version of their product that they can test in the market.

Near the end of the program, the teams launch their product or service into the market. They must make at least $250 in sales or pre-sales before Demo Day. This experience teaches them about the business side of running a startup, rounding out their entrepreneurial education at LaunchX.

Who Can Join LaunchX?

LaunchX is for students between the ages of 15 and 18 who are currently attending high school. LaunchX also maintains a selective acceptance rate of approximately 30%, allowing us to provide an exceptional experience for all participants.

unidentified student using laptop

Choosing the Right LaunchX Programs

Become part of a global community of brilliant minds shaping the future of business! LaunchX presents four summer programs, offering a unique opportunity to connect with mentors and industry experts eager to help you develop.

  • Online Entrepreneurship 

The Online Entrepreneurship Summer Program at LaunchX is an intensive 5-week program that invites high school students globally to immerse themselves in the entrepreneurial process. The program is structured to guide students through the complete lifecycle of starting and launching a product. Participants, referred to as “Launchies”, collaborate in diverse teams designed to blend different skills and perspectives, enhancing the potential for successful ventures.

The schedule for the program is meticulously planned to ensure a comprehensive learning and development experience. It begins with foundational topics such as defining success, problem-solving, and pitching ideas. As the weeks progress, students learn more complex aspects including customer discovery, financial feasibility, and strategic marketing. Notable highlights in the schedule include:

1. Foundation and Pitching: Early days focus on building a strong understanding of entrepreneurial basics and preparing students to present their ideas convincingly.

2. Customer and Market Validation: Participants learn to identify and understand customer needs and how to test their products in the market effectively.

3. Prototyping and MVP (Minimum Viable Product): Hands-on sessions guide students in creating functional prototypes and developing MVPs to test in real-world scenarios.

4. Business Operations and Scaling: Topics such as legal considerations, financial modeling, and pricing strategies equip students with the skills needed to manage and grow a business.

5. Culmination and Presentation: The program culminates in a Demo Day, where teams present their products and business plans, incorporating feedback and learning from earlier phases.

There are also interactive and recreational activities, such as art parties and silent discos, to create a balanced and enjoyable learning environment. Adding events such as yoga sessions and community activities enhances the experience by promoting well-being and building a sense of community among the participants.

This online program prepares students for the future and it empowers them to create it, providing a platform to transform ideas into reality through practical experience and global collaboration.

  • Online Innovation 

The Online Summer Innovation Program at LaunchX offers high school students a unique opportunity to act as consultants, tackling real business challenges. Throughout this immersive program, participants from around the world collaborate to understand and develop solutions for issues faced by actual companies. This hands-on experience is designed to practice problem-solving skills and to apply the students’ entrepreneurial abilities in a practical environment.

Launchies are strategically grouped using a teaming formula that maximizes the complementarity of their skill sets, setting the stage for successful collaboration and innovation. The program is structured over a series of weeks, each focusing on different aspects of the innovation and business development process.

Here’s a brief overview of the daily activities and schedule based on the program’s sample schedule:

1. Foundation and Pitching: The program kicks off with foundational training in defining success and effective pitching. Students also engage in problem-solving workshops tailored to entrepreneurial ventures.

2. Market and Customer Analysis: Days are dedicated to customer discovery processes, assessing financial feasibility, and developing strategic approaches to market needs.

3. Product Development and Testing: This phase includes proof of concept development, communication strategies, MVP (Minimum Viable Product) creation, and market testing.

4. Sales and Financial Planning: Participants learn to pitch their ideas persuasively, close sales, and understand financial models crucial for startup success.

5. Legal and Operational Considerations: A focus on legal considerations and gaining traction in the market prepares participants for the practical aspects of running a business.

6. Preparation for Final Presentation: The lead-up to Demo Day involves refining product/market fit plans, and financial projections, and practicing negotiation skills.

7. Demo Day: The culmination of the program where teams present their solutions and business plans to a panel, simulating a real-world entrepreneurial pitch environment.

Students will also enjoy recreational events, such as art parties, a silent disco, and a pickleball tournament, providing a well-rounded and enjoyable learning experience. These activities break up the intensity of the learning schedule while at the same time promoting networking and teamwork among the participants.

a group of students talking each other in the library

  • Ann Arbor Entrepreneurship (In Person)

LaunchX’s Ann Arbor Summer Entrepreneurship Program, hosted at the University of Michigan in the thriving high-tech hub of Ann Arbor, offers high school students an unparalleled opportunity into the world of startups. This four-week program provides practical experience in starting a real company, supported by a community of global peers and industry experts.

Launchies are matched into teams based on a unique formula that complements their skills, setting the stage for collaborative and successful entrepreneurial ventures. The program emphasizes a structured approach to entrepreneurship, which includes identification, ideation, iteration, and implementation.

Here’s a brief overview of the day-to-day activities based on the program’s sample schedule:

1. Foundation and Strategy: The program starts with foundational concepts like defining success and problem-solving techniques, coupled with initial pitch sessions. Participants also engage in a self-guided campus tour, fostering a connection with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

2. Customer Discovery and Financial Feasibility: This phase focuses on understanding customer needs and exploring financial feasibility, essential steps in validating business ideas.

3. Product Development: Students work on proof of concept, communication strategies, and assessing product-market fit, ensuring their product aligns with customer demands.

4. Marketing and Sales: Key activities include creating marketing materials, understanding the marketing funnel, A/B testing, and strategies for closing sales.

5. Legal and Financial Planning: Legal considerations and traction strategies are discussed to prepare students for the real-world challenges of running a business.

6. Pitch Refinement and Demo Day Preparation: As the program nears its end, participants refine their pitches, engage in negotiation simulations, and finalize their financial models in preparation for Demo Day.

7. Demo Day: The culmination of the program where teams showcase their startups, presenting their business plans and sales achievements to a panel of industry experts.

Additional activities such as art parties, silent discos, and recreational events like a pickleball tournament. These activities serve as a breather from the intensive entrepreneurial schedule and help in building a cohesive community among participants.

Group Of Multicultural First-Year Students Walking Near University Building Outside.

  • Bay Area Entrepreneurship

Bay Area Summer Entrepreneurship Program, based at UC Berkeley, is a unique four-week opportunity to get into the world of startups in the heart of Silicon Valley. Known for its business-centric environment and history of alumni founding numerous companies, UC Berkeley provides an ideal setting for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn and innovate.

In this program, Launchies are immersed in a fast-paced, hands-on experience that guides them through the full cycle of starting a company. The program structure facilitates a dynamic learning process, covering key entrepreneurial stages from identification to implementation.

Here’s a brief overview of the daily activities and schedule:

1. Foundation and Ideation: The program kicks off with foundational concepts including defining success, problem-solving, and pitching ideas. Participants also tour the campus, getting a feel for its rich history and entrepreneurial spirit.

2. Customer Discovery and Strategy: These days focus on understanding customer needs, assessing financial feasibility, and developing strategic approaches to market entry.

3. Product Development and Testing: During this phase, students work on their proof of concept, refine their communication strategies, and test the product-market fit.

4. Marketing and Sales Execution: Students learn to craft marketing materials, understand the marketing funnel, and execute sales strategies.

5. Legal Frameworks and Financial Planning: Important legal considerations and financial models are discussed to prepare participants for the practical aspects of running a startup.

6. Final Pitch Preparation and Demo Day: The final stretch involves refining pitches, conducting negotiations, and preparing for Demo Day, where participants present their startups to a panel of industry experts.

Events such as art parties, silent discos, and a pickleball tournament are woven into the schedule, providing a balanced and engaging experience. These recreational and social activities serve as a break from the intense schedule and encourage networking and team bonding.

Two college students are walking in campus and talking.

How to Apply to LaunchX Programs

Applying to LaunchX programs provides high school students with a unique chance to immerse themselves in entrepreneurship through an organized summer program. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to apply to LaunchX, detailing the application process and providing tips to enhance your chances of getting accepted.

Applying early to LaunchX is highly recommended as it comes with several advantages. Early applicants can secure their spots before the program reaches capacity, enjoy a reduced application fee, and benefit from being compared with a smaller group of applicants, which can increase their chances of acceptance. Those who apply early will also receive their admission decisions sooner, giving them more time to plan.

Application Components

The application to LaunchX programs consists of several components:

  • General Information: This section requires basic contact information, your connection to LaunchX, and your specific interests in the summer program.
  • Transcript: Applicants need to submit an unofficial high school transcript to provide academic background.
  • Activities Involvement: Here, you should detail any entrepreneurial endeavors, leadership in clubs, or fundraising activities you’ve been involved in.
  • Video/Presentation: This is your chance to personally connect with the admissions team, showcasing your personality and enthusiasm.
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset: Demonstrate your problem-solving capabilities and how you approach challenges.
  • Teaming Questions: Responses in this section help the admissions team place you in a team that complements your skills and goals.
  • Recommender Invitation (Optional): You can invite someone to recommend you, adding credibility to your application.
  • Innovator Portfolio: If you have a portfolio of projects or innovations, this section allows you to display your previous work.
  • Application Fee Waiver: For those who qualify, LaunchX offers a waiver of the application fee to ensure no barriers to entry based on financial need.

To increase your LaunchX acceptance rate chance, it’s advisable to apply early because you can take advantage of the benefits such as reduced fees and quicker decision times! 

Make sure to fill out every part of your application carefully and completely to convey a clear picture of your capabilities. Another tip is to really showcase what sets you apart as a candidate in sections like the video presentation and entrepreneurial mindset.

the A grade written on paper

Comparison of LaunchX Programs

Online Entrepreneurship
Format: Online
Duration: 5 weeks from June 17 to July 19, 2024
Availability: 250 spots
Focus: Start a business
Ideal For: High school students anywhere in the world looking to start a business from scratch.
Additional: Financial aid is available.
Online Innovation
Format: Online
Duration: 3 weeks from July 22 to August 9, 2024
Availability: 100 spots
Focus: Solve an existing business problem
Ideal For: Students who want a shorter program that focuses on innovating solutions for existing business challenges.
Additional: Financial aid is available.
Bay Area Entrepreneurship
Format: In-person in Bay Area, California
Duration: 4 weeks from July 7 to August 3, 2024
Availability: 80 spots
Focus: Start a business
Ideal For: Students near or able to travel to the Bay Area looking for an immersive in-person experience in entrepreneurship.
Additional: Financial aid is available.
Ann Arbor Entrepreneurship
Format: In-person in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Duration: 4 weeks from June 30 to July 27, 2024
Availability: 80 spots
Focus: Start a business
Ideal For: Those who prefer an in-person experience and can attend the program in Michigan.
Additional: Financial aid is available.

A woman smiling at the camera in front of her laptop.

Summer Program Tuition Costs

Tuition fees for the LaunchX summer programs include all the essentials for participating in the program. For the on-site programs, the tuition also covers airport shuttle services, accommodation, and meals throughout the duration of the program. It’s important to note that tuition does not include travel expenses to and from the program location.

Here are the costs for each program:

  • Online Innovation Summer Program: $4,750
  • Online Entrepreneurship Summer Program: $6,500
  • Ann Arbor Entrepreneurship Summer Program: $9,970
  • Bay Area Entrepreneurship Summer Program: $9,970

When Are Applications Due for LaunchX?

LaunchX offers three distinct application deadlines for prospective participant:

  • Priority Application Deadline: November 15
  • Early Application Deadline: January 7
  • Final Application Deadline: April 24

Applying as early as possible is highly encouraged, as LaunchX summer programs are popular and tend to fill up quickly. It’s possible that the application process may close before the final deadline if the program reaches capacity.

*These deadlines are for 2024 applications. For the year 2025, stay tuned in their website to stay updated!

The Benefits of Joining Summer Entrepreneurship Programs

Participating in summer entrepreneurship programs like those offered by LaunchX provides invaluable opportunities for high school students interested in business and innovation. These programs are designed to teach entrepreneurial skills and to immerse students in real-world business scenarios, helping them to start actual companies and develop products that can succeed in the market.

One of the key benefits of these programs is the comprehensive learning experience they provide. Students are taught how to identify market opportunities, create business plans, and develop marketing strategies. Moreover, they gain hands-on experience in problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership—skills essential for any successful entrepreneur.

Beyond practical business skills, these programs offer a unique platform for young entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded peers from around the world. This networking opportunity fosters collaboration and can lead to lifelong friendships and future business partnerships.

Male students holding his books while smiling at the camera.

Success Stories of LaunchX Alumni

The real impact of joining a summer entrepreneurship program is best illustrated by the success stories of its alumni. LaunchX, in particular, takes pride in the achievements of its graduates who have gone on to achieve remarkable success in various fields.

Mrigank Pawagi, a 2021 alumnus, is a testament to the program’s effectiveness. After participating in LaunchX, Mrigank co-founded EcoGo, an environmentally-focused startup that has gained international recognition. EcoGo was not only a top-6 finalist at the Youth Founders’ Summit by Smarter Me in Singapore but also won the ‘Powered By Youth’ competition in Hong Kong.

Joana Baptista, from the class of 2017, has also made significant strides as a social entrepreneur. Joana has become a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, a three-time TEDx speaker, and the founder of She., a company that now operates in over 15 countries and has received several notable endorsements.

Molly Cantillion, another notable alumna from 2019, has made her mark as a TEDx speaker and social entrepreneur. She co-founded GirlTechBoss and Techshare Project, initiatives dedicated to inspiring the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs. Her work emphasizes the empowerment of women in technology, echoing the values instilled during her time at LaunchX.

These stories highlight the skills and knowledge that students gain from LaunchX and the confidence to innovate and lead in their chosen fields. The program’s focus on real-world application and its nurturing environment help pave the way for these young entrepreneurs to achieve great things.

Final Thoughts

Applying to LaunchX offers an unparalleled opportunity for high school students passionate about entrepreneurship and the startup world. LaunchX ensures that each participant is placed in an environment where they can thrive and grow. Seize the opportunity, start your application today, and prepare for an exciting entrepreneurial adventure with LaunchX.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I have to live in the United States to participate in LaunchX?

No, there is no requirement to be located in the United States for any virtual role at LaunchX. The program welcomes students from all around the world, offering a truly international experience.

2. When are the LaunchX programs usually held?

LaunchX’s summer programs are conducted during the summer months, specifically from June to August. This schedule is to fit well with the academic calendars of most high schools.

3. What if my school does not provide official transcripts?

LaunchX accepts unofficial transcripts for the application process. The program is interested in reviewing all grades earned throughout an applicant’s high school career, regardless of whether the transcript is official or not.

4. Are there fully virtual roles available at LaunchX?

Yes, LaunchX offers fully remote roles. The headquarters team operates entirely remotely, and this extends to roles supporting the school-year activities and the virtual summer program.

5. How can I request an application fee waiver?

If the application fee presents a financial difficulty for your family, you can request a waiver directly within the application portal. LaunchX aims to make the program accessible to all students, regardless of financial background.


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