Once upon a time, my sister decided to take an entrepreneurship class at her university. One day, a prominent venture capitalist from the Silicon Valley area named Tim Draper decided to give a talk at my sister’s university. He spoke about many things, but what stood out was draper university.
Draper University is an entrepreneurship school located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Each class is made up of students ranging in age from 18-28 who come from all over the world. This year’s class was no exception to the rule.
The application process for Draper University is simple, but getting admissions to Draper University is by no means easy. First, an applicant must write a short essay about a business idea they have. The applicant must also write a second short essay if they wish to apply for one of the scholarships offered by Draper University. The second short essay details why the applicant believes they deserve the scholarship for which they applied. The Draper University admissions team will read your admissions essay. The admissions team will then set up a short skype interview with you if they like your business idea. You are granted admission to Draper University only if the admissions team likes your essay and your follow up interview goes well. But you are not done yet.
When I was accepted into Draper University it was a surreal moment for me. I had applied on a whim. However, I had still put my full effort into my application because I knew it would be a huge opportunity for me if I was accepted.
Once accepted, all the students were required to read two books. First, we had to read The Startup Game by William Draper. This is a good read for anyone looking to dive into Silicon Valley because it gives the reader insight into the way Silicon Valley works. The second book we were required to read was called Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku. This book delves into the future of technology and how it will affect the world economy over the next one hundred years.
Once you arrive at Draper University, you are greeted by Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIRs). The EIRs are the part of the Draper University staff which the students will deal with the most. The EIRs live on the campus, and they are made up of students from previous Draper University classes.
While at Draper Univerity, each student is assigned a mentor. These mentors have a diverse set of skills. Based on the kind of person you are as well as your business idea, each student is paired with a mentor. Each mentor has several students under them, and they not only find time for all of their mentees but other students as well. In that respect, the mentors are great because they are more than happy to make time for students who were not assigned them as a mentor.
Draper University boasts itself for being the most Diverse Entrepreneurship program in all of Silicon Valley. In my class alone, students came from the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Italy, Chile, Slovenia, France, Scotland, Japan, Estonia, Brazil, Germany, Kenya, Sudan, and even more places. Draper University was a melting pot of cultures and ideas from all around the world, and I was privileged to be working alongside such individuals.
The days at Draper University were quite busy. Weekends included. We had many speakers each day with breaks for lunch and dinner, as well as activities on weekends and optional skills workshops some nights. Our speakers consisted of entrepreneurs from the silicon valley area and the topics on which they spoke varied. We had speakers talk about the future, networking, speakers generally talking about their experiences as an entrepreneur, and everything in between.
While the days at Draper University were busy, we still had time to leave campus. Just a five to ten minute walk away from the campus was the Caltrain station. The direct train would take us to San Francisco in under an hour. The staff was considerate enough to plan scheduled events around big events such as Pride and evening fireworks on the fourth of July, so that students could attend if they wished. There were even a few off-campus activities planned where the staff had chartered a bus to take all the students to the destination.
On weekends, the schedule was less rigorous, but we still had planned activities. Instead of having speakers on weekends, we had activities such as a hackathon, a cold calling event, and few other activities. Becuase weekends were more relaxed, students had more time to mingle, relax, and work on their businesses or business ideas.
One of the last days was the Draper University Pitch Day. This was what the whole program had been leading up to. The students all pitched their businesses to a panel of investors. Each student, either individually or in a group, had a few short minutes to go up on stage in front of investors and their fellow students to pitch their businesses. Students who already had their businesses running prior to Draper University could possibly receive funding, while students with less developed ideas, which they had come up with during their time at Draper Univerity, would more likely receive some business connections with investors who could potentially invest in their business in the future.
There are numerous reasons why Draper University was so beneficial to me. Firstly, it gave me an opening into Silicon Valley. Prior to attending Draper University, I would not have known where to start if I wanted to get into Silicon Valley. Along with my first point, the program gave me so many new contacts. Thanks to Draper University, I have contacts around to people around silicon valley including, but not limited to, investors, entrepreneurs who came to speak to us at Draper University, and everyone who made Draper University possible. Also, Draper University has made me many new friends, and at the same time given me a global network thanks to their globally diverse student body. It is also thanks to Draper University that I met my co-founder, started my own startup, and have the connections to keep it moving forward.
Draper University is perfect for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur. It is also beneficial to entrepreneurs with early stage startups who are looking to network in Silicon Valley or just bounce off ideas with like-minded individuals. Draper University is a place where people can go to get an opening into Silicon Valley, make new friends from all over the world, work with like-minded individuals, and still have a good time.