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Campus Venture Initiative

The Campus Venture Initiative (CVI) supports student entrepreneurs seeking to operate on campus with a variety of key resources to grow their ventures. 

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Colgate is supportive of students starting and operating new ventures on campus. The Campus Venture Initiative supports student entrepreneurs with a variety of key resources to grow their ventures. To access these resources, teams must be approved by the CVI committee.

Resources include:  

  • A certificate from the University to operate and market on campus;
  • Access to an exclusive, high-trafficked location in the Coop to sell goods and market services;
  • Access to a ‘Gate Card machine to process payments;
  • Access to resources through TIA.
We look forward to reading your application and working with you.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I submit my application?
The Director and Alumni Executive Director of Thought Into Action will review your application to make sure it’s complete and ready for presentation to the review committee. If more information is needed, the Director will work with you to make necessary changes.

Once the initial application is approved, you will be scheduled to interview with the review committee. The committee meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m.
Who is on the Review Committee?
The committee is made up of the Director and Alumni Executive Director of TIA, the Vice-President for Finance and Administration, the Associate Vice-President for Community Affairs, the Director of Purchasing, and the Assistant Controller and Risk Manager.
What should I expect in the interview?
You should be prepared to “pitch” your business idea to the panel. This presentation should take no longer than 5 minutes and should be as concise and direct as possible. Any handouts or other materials must be emailed to the Director of TIA (tia@colgate.edu) prior to the interview. He/she will make copies to distribute to the committee. 

After your initial presentation, the committee will ask questions to learn more about your venture and determine its viability on campus. 

The interview will last approximately 20-30 minutes. A decision will not be made on the spot; rather the TIA Director will notify you of the decision within a few days. If you have been given suggestions or requests for more information, you will need to follow up before a decision will be made.
How should I dress for the interview?
Dress should be “business casual” – not too casual, but you don’t need to wear a suit and tie or dress and heels. Remember, you want to project a professional image.
Can  you provide examples of ventures that likely won't be approved?
While our goal is to make operating a student business as easy as possible at Colgate, there may be circumstances that might interfere with implementing your idea. Some examples include:

1) Ventures that interfere with contracts that outside vendors have with the university.
2) Ventures that pose a risk to the university.
3) Ventures that conflict with existing university policies.
4) Ventures that are franchise businesses. These types of ventures will not be approved, unless the founder(s) of the original franchise are Colgate students or alumni.

These circumstances are usually rare and would be discussed in more detail in the interview. 
Will I need insurance to operate my business?
Some ventures may be required to purchase a minimum insurance liability policy. The amount of coverage will be dependent on the nature of the venture. Proof of insurance will be required before the venture is approved and resources are made available. Some examples of ventures that will need insurance are those that are food-related, require the use of a vehicle, or any activity that the committee determines to be high risk.
Will there be a place on campus where I can sell my goods or services?
TIA has a space in the Coop that you can reserve while operating on campus. Use of the space will be coordinated by TIA. You will need to contact the Director of TIA to reserve the space.
How can I process payments?
Once you are accepted, you will receive access to a ’Gate Card terminal for processing payments that you can reserve through TIA when operating on campus. You will need a business checking account in order for the Accounting Department to transfer the money to you. There are also options such as Square and Venmo to accept credit card payments. You will need to set this up yourself. You will be expected to collect sales tax as a business in accordance with the applicable laws for you business.
Will I receive anything to show that I am an approved business?
If you are approved, you will receive a certificate of operation that indicates you are an approved business with contact information on who to reach out to if any issues should arrive.
What is Colgate's role in this?
If you are approved and become a Colgate-sanctioned business, recognize that you are still an independently operated business and Colgate does not profit or benefit in any way from the proceeds. As such, you will be held to the same standards as an outside vendor. Additionally, being approved as a student-run business does not exclude the University from allowing or actively seeking competition from other sources. Finally, the University reserves the right to terminate recognition at any time upon written notice without necessity of demonstrating cause.
Who should I contact for more information if needed?
You may contact the Mary Galvez, Director of TIA at mgalvez@colgate.edu or 315-228-7279.