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Frequently asked questions

 

Is the program really free of costs?

Yes, we don't charge anything for the 3-month online program. During the offline program, we will cover all the basic costs of the stay here in Switzerland. Additionally, participants of the offline program get access to small funds needed for a prototype for example. Together with the support of our partners, we cover the participants’ costs throughout their participation in the program. This includes travel,- accommodation,- living and support for startup related expenses.

Can I participate in only one of the two programs?

You don't need to register to the offline program to join the session of the online program. When the spots are limited, we will give the priority for applicant to the program. 

 

At what stage is my startup supposed to be?

You must have a working MVP (minimum viable product). From an MVP we expect that it fulfills the basic functions of your solution and can be shown to and used by customers.

If you have no startup at the MVP stage running yet, please apply with your startup idea. You can state your idea in the application and present the idea during your 3min pitch video. 

Can I join the program without an idea?

No, we expect every applicant to have a startup idea. You can apply with just an idea but should then have realized this idea into a working MVP.

Can I join the program without a team?

Yes, you can join the online program as a “Solo Founder” but we encourage you to find a Co-founder during the online program. Only Startups with at least two team members will be considered for the offline program in Switzerland.

Who is running the Fellowship Program?

The Fellowship Program is run by START Global and its partners. In close collaboration with our main partners such as the University of St. Gallen we aim to make the Fellowship Program a truly amazing and valuable experience for you.

Who is the Fellowship Program backed and supported by?

Please check out our partner page. There you can see our main partners from the last iteration. This list is not concluding for this iteration of the program since we are constantly onboarding new partners.

Why is the Offline program taking place in Switzerland?

The program is run by students and professionals from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. The offline program will allow you to network with our partners on a much more personal level which will enable you to better emerge yourself in the European ecosystem.

Can I participate in the offline program even though I am not studying at a partner university?

Unfortunately, for legal and visa purposes you have to be enrolled at one of our partner universities. However, we are open minded for new partnerships and we are currently working on a  potential solution for 2024. 

How do I apply?

You can apply via the application form on the application site. The application is demanding, therefore we encourage you to take enough time for the application.

 

Can we continue our studies in parallel to the online program?

Yes, it is possible to continue your studies during the online program. If you do the road to MVP you need to invest a certain amount of time to achieve the level expected. However the program will demand at 5 hours per week of active participation in December and January.  

How do you deal with having participants in different time zones?

We do have the different time zones across Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Switzerland in mind. The program will mainly take place in the morning for our participants in latin america. 

How many participants are accepted into the online program?

For the founders' session, there is no limit to the number of places, it is open to all those who wish to join. However, places in the Road to MVP and for the pitching & feedback session are limited to a certain number of start-ups. You must register and receive a confirmation to have access. 

How many hours a week does the online program take up?

During the online program (December and January) we plan with at 5 hours of content per week to prepare the offline program.

For the road to MVP, the participant should have time to advance on the creation of their MVP in 6 week to then be able to join the rest of the selection process. 

what is the Road to MVP?

The Road to MVP is a special program that give the ability to the people not having an MVP to create one and then take part into the selection. 

We strongly believe that you can build a solid MVP in 3 months it is why we are also giving the opportunity to some start up less advanced. However, the number of spots are limited and we will do a selection of the best one.

What do we need to give to apply?

The application will required you to film a 3 minutes pitch video, your grate transcript and a confirmation of enrolment in your university. 

For the road to MVP, we will ask additionally ask for a motivational letter and a reflection paper. 

Please not that for the pitching video we will stop the video after 3 min. 

How many applicants are selected for the offline program?

We will select 35 participants from the most promissing startups.

 

Will I stay in Switzerland for the whole six months of the offline program?

Yes, you will live in Switzerland for the duration of the offline program.

Do I need a visa?

Depending on your nationality, a visa may be required to enter Switzerland from abroad. We are in contact with the local authorities to smoothen the visa application. Together with the university of St. Gallen we will be able to streamline the visa application process.

When will we arrive to and depart from Switzerland for the offline program?

You will arrive in St. Gallen, Switzerland via the airport of Zürich towards the beginning of January 2022, a few days prior to the start of the program. The program will end in May 2022 shortly after which you will fly back home.

Where will I live?

All START Fellowship participants that are selected to come to the offline program in St. Gallen will be offered common accommodation in the city of St. Gallen, where they will live close to our facilities and the other Fellows.

What do I need to bring?

A list of crucial belongings to bring with will be sent to the chosen applicants prior to their trip to Switzerland.

Do locals speak English?

While German is prominent in the city of St. Gallen, English is a commonly spoken language by locals. Students and program-related members all work and communicate in English.

How much pocket money do I need?

While START Fellowship and its partners will cover all living costs, such as dining expenses, you will need to have some pocket money for any additional expenses you may have. Anything outside the program, for example if you want to go shopping, will be at your own expense. You can find more information about average prices in St. Gallen here: https://costof.live/cost-of-living/in/st-gallen.

Can I choose my mentor?

START Fellowship will offer a pool of mentors with various expertise, allowing Fellows to benefit from a large-ranged, high-quality input. We will give you the chance to speak to multiple mentors, after which a reasonable matching process will take place. Each Fellow will be closely in touch with a mentor throughout the program and will meet with them at regular intervals. We will together make sure each participant is matched with the most fitting mentor. However, Fellows will not be restricted to one mentor alone through the duration of the program.

What if I don't get along with my mentor?

Updates on the effectiveness of your collaboration with a mentor and your compatibility will be taken into consideration and adjustments will be made if necessary. We wish to assure that you have access to a mentor who you can achieve the best possible results with.

Can I continue uni while I am in Switzerland?

You will be able to do 8 ECTs in total. 4 mandatory in the program and then you will be able to choose another 4 ECTs. However, you should know that the program is designed for you to be a full-time founder and not for you to go to university. The program takes priority over the university. 

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