Every year, Pipeline accepts roughly 10 entrepreneurs into our membership – entrepreneurs ready for the next step in their company’s growth and for their own improvement. We focus on the entrepreneur’s leadership and skill development – not just their company growth. Our hope is that our work with each Fellow will help build the skills and networks needed over a lifetime as an entrepreneur – and over multiple ventures.
Our entrepreneurs are typically ready for a growth stage with their company, as this is the time we can have the most impact on their skills. More importantly, our entrepreneurs are interested in becoming a contributing member to the Pipeline organization: people who advise future Pipeline members and push themselves to learn more. To meet our entrepreneurs and learn more about applying, join us at one of our upcoming events.
Please note: Since application materials will be used to screen and judge applicants, material submitted will not be held in confidence and will be shared to facilitate judging. Pipeline will not guarantee confidentiality of such application materials.
To begin your application, click here. Should you experience any technical issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.FAQ
What does a Fellowship Year in the Pipeline program entail?
As an entrepreneur in the Fellowship, you will attend various functions and events – such as our three-day modules, “Innovator of the Year,” as well as optional events beneficial to building your network. You will establish open communication with advisers working with you for the entire Fellowship year. Additionally, we organize one national network building event and engage many national advisers in our work that are available to our Fellows.
What type of networking can I expect if in the class?
Investors, experts and entrepreneurs across the country take part in Pipeline programs both locally and at our national network building events around the United States. Numerous Pipeline Fellows have enjoyed exponential success from networking with individuals within the Midwest and around the country. The Pipeline advisers also can help entrepreneurs meet the right people to make their business flourish. Networking within one’s Fellowship class can lead to tremendous business collaboration and opportunity.
What if I doubt I am the right stage in my business to be in the Pipeline program (too early/too advanced)?
Pipeline prides itself on creating opportunity for entrepreneurs – even if not selected for the current class. We go the extra miles to ensure the judging/interviewing panels are comprised of investors, experts and resource provides that allow applicants to make pivotal contacts, regardless of the outcome of the interview. We work very hard to connect each applicant to the right resource for growth, recommend investor groups if appropriate and add you to our networking event lists (for our open events). This is a no lose situation for entrepreneurs.
Are you targeting any type of industry (bio, IT, etc?)
Currently, the lion’s share of Pipeline entrepreneurs are leading technology and bioscience entrepreneurial ventures, with a wide variety of technology focus areas. Additionally, some of our entrepreneurs are leading consumer product companies. The common denominator is that each incoming Fellow is working to build the “high growth” company. Our entrepreneurs aspire to build the next generation of companies that are leading the Midwest economy. If you are unsure if your company would be deemed a high growth fit, please email our offices to inquire. Additionally, you can check out the types of companies our entrepreneurs lead by clicking here.
Do you support entrepreneurs from certain regions or the entire state?
Pipeline has expanded to a larger Midwest Region, starting in 2012. We have partnered with individuals, foundations and organizations in the Midwest who believe in our model and are actively engaged – helping the organization grow and make impact. As such, we accept applicants who hail from our partner Regional boundaries. Our Region includes the state of Kansas, the state of Nebraska, the Kansas City Metropolitan area (Kansas and Missouri sides of KC Metro), entrepreneurs in St. Louis (thanks to our recent announcement and St. Louis founders) as well as entrepreneurs with sufficient affiliation to University of Missouri-Columbia.
Are there any costs to join as a Fellow?
Currently there are no costs to apply to the program, beyond your own travel expenses to modules. Yes, we said that. No costs, we take no equity stake. Wow.
Does Pipeline take equity in a Fellow/Company?
Pipeline is convinced (after deep study) that it is critical to our value proposition to maintain our current non-profit model that focuses on entrepreneurial talent, and does not participate in contractual ways with company profits. This allows later stage entrepreneurs to seek guidance and allows us to focus on the long term potential of entrepreneurs (not short term gains).
What are the time requirements/attendance requirements?
As a Fellow in the Pipeline program you will be expected to attend the “Innovator of the Year” event as orientation into the program; attend four, three-day modules throughout the year; commit approximately five days of independent work to complete work between modules; participate in group events with peers to support class dynamic and the program; and have regular communications with your advisers.
Will I know ahead of time when the modules are scheduled?
Yes. Pipeline will have the dates of the 2015 modules set before offers to join the 2015 Fellowship are extended.
How do you select Mentors for the program?
Pipeline entrepreneurs (both Fellows and Members) cherish our network – which is full of both regional and national mentors and advisors renowned for both industry expertise and global connections. We layer our mentor resources in the following fashion:
-National Mentors: Our national mentors are not assigned in a one-on-one fashion, but rather are available as needed
to the ENTIRE Membership. Our National Mentors have expertise in a variety of fields including scale, funding, life
sciences, sales, media, etc. They are a very powerful group.
-Network Mentors: These mentors are assigned one on one to our Fellows during their year to assist them in local connections, preparing for Modules – and they often facilitate at modules. These network mentors often hail from our partner organizations, such as Wichita Technology Corp, UNeMed, ECJC and the like. Their day to day expertise is business assistance and connecting entrepreneurs to other resources in the region.
-Member Mentors (“buddies”): To facilitate cross connections with the other Pipeline Members and to keep the “family tight” we pair each new Fellow with Member teams of “buddies” who are often the most treasured resource for frank feedback and advice. This also allows our expanding Membership the opportunity to really get to know each class, cheer them on and also hold them accountable to the entire Fellowship. This is part of our Family Magic.
Is there programming after the initial Fellowship year?
Yes, and it’s growing. Because Pipeline is currently in its eighth year, we can now have a large, established network of Pipeline Members. We have a committee of Pipeline Members who help keep communication active within the classes, as well as plan functions and events just for the entire membership. Members are also encouraged to be ‘peer advisers’ for the current class and are invited to most Pipeline events. With the new announcement that we have received funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to increase our Member programming, we anticipate even more, substantial ways to assist in the Member’s growth over the coming years.
How does the application and selection process work for the Fellowship program?
Interested candidates should fill out and submit an online application found on the Apply page. Applications will be screened, and selected candidates will be invited to first round interviews with a panel of judges. The selection will be narrowed down again and candidates will be chosen for final round of interviews in front of a new panel of judges. Chosen applicants will be notified in December.
Will I have to travel for modules and other events?
Yes, you will be expected to travel in order to attend modules. Pipeline may make available trips to conferences and meetings inside, and outside, the Midwest that add value to your Fellowship.
What are Modules and where are they?
Modules are three day learning/networking events and have a tight focus on specific topics related to entrepreneurial success. Pipeline brings in the best national leaders in technology, entrepreneurial education, venture investing and company formation to work with you. We invite local experts to work side-by-side with our national network so you have a team working with you for the long term. These individuals have countless hours of experience counseling emerging and growing companies. There are four modules throughout the year located in the Midwest (and one “trip” module – this year was in Boston). They are generally held from Wednesday through Friday afternoon. You will know these dates before agreeing to participate.