About Us – For Students
Frequently asked questions:
Would I be a good fit?
We’re looking to find a few key “personas” to put on every team. If you identify as one or more of these and want to put your skills to the test, you’re a good fit!
Hackers: Engineering, manufacturing, software development, computer science students
Hipsters: Graphic and communication design, industrial design, UX/UI students
Hustlers: Business development and strategy, marketing, sales students
Handlers: Exceptional organization and communication skills to be project managers
Hybrid: Those with varied interests and a broad background of skills
Why should I do this?
You should participate if you have a desire to build a startup or to someday innovate for a company. You should become a part of The Branch for the real-world experience you'll gain. You will learn how to collaborate, communicate, think critically and be creative at no cost to you. Join the brightest minds from across the region, as you gain direct access to a massive professional network and projects that will enhance your resume.
What's a 'skills accelerator'?
In the startup world, an 'accelerator' gives a growing company the money, mentorship and time needed to get them to that next level of financial stability through sales and/or securing investment capital.
The Branch's 'skills accelerator' gives high-potential college students the training, connections and experience needed to develop the skills necessary for the careers of tomorrow. We teach collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking through the exercise of entrepreneurship.
What would I work on?
We form multi-disciplinary teams of students and have them work on corporate innovation challenges.
Students with startup ideas can let us know on their application and we will follow up with them separately.
How old should I be to participate?
You may apply for The Branch as long as you are a student, of any age, at a college or university in central Wisconsin. High school students have participated in The Branch in previous sessions, so high school juniors and seniors are encouraged to apply. And The Branch Academy has been held twice during the summer, allowing high school students to participate exclusively.
What if I'm not a student?
Sorry, we can only accept currently-enrolled students from our partner colleges and universities right now.
But if you're a talented person interested in The Branch, perhaps there's a good opportunity for you as a mentor.
When and Where Is The Branch?
Classes meet at various locations around central Wisconsin. The program begins with a Saturday kickoff event and then meets one weeknight evening for nine weeks before wrapping up with a Demo Day.
How Much Work Should I Expect?
Aside from the in-person meetings, you should plan on at least 4 to 6 hours of extra work per week. Think of this like a nine week 'extra-curricular internship.'
When Are Applications Due?
We are accepting students for the Fall 2023 sessions! With limited space, this is a pretty competitive program and selection process.