WHO CAN APPLY?
- Undergraduate and graduate students in degree-bearing programs at MIT or any of our partner universities in Hong Kong (CityU, CUHK, EdUHK, HKBU, HKU, HKUST, LU, PolyU)
- Undergraduate students must be in their third year of study (junior year) or above.
- We evaluate all applicants as individuals.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS?
For MIT Students
- Applications open: October 5, 2020
- Applications close: end of Fall semester 2020
- Info-session 1: October 6, 2020 via ZOOM @ 7PM EDT
- Info-session 2: October 8, 2020 via ZOOM @ 7PM EDT
- Interviews: On a rolling basis via ZOOM
- Acceptance notifications: On a rolling basis. Accepted students must confirm their attendance within 48h.
- Cohort Finalized: End of December 2020
- Orientation for January 2021 Cohort: End of December 2020
For Hong Kong Students
- Application deadline: TBD
- Info-session 1: October 13, 2020 via Zoom @ 5PM HKT
- Info-session 2: October 16, 2020 via Zoom @ 3PM HKT – SIGN UP
- Interviews: TBD via ZOOM
- Acceptance notifications: TBD. Accepted students must confirm their attendance within 48h.
- Cohort Finalized: TBD
- Orientation for January 2021 Cohort: TBD
WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS INVOLVE?
The application process has two parts:
- A one-minute Youtube video where you tell us your name, major, university you attend, what you enjoy in your academic studies (especially around making and entrepreneurship), and why you are interested in joining this program. YOU MUST UPLOAD THIS VIDEO TO YOUTUBE BEFORE YOU START FILLING OUT THE APPLICATION. Please make sure the Youtube video is not listed as Private; you can list it as Unlisted if you would like to exclude it from search engines.
- The online application (15 – 30 minutes to fill out). (We highly recommend that you save your responses in another file in case you run into technical difficulties).
WILL THERE BE AN INTERVIEW PROCESS?
Yes. Selected applicants will be contacted via email to arrange an interview. The interview will last roughly 10 minutes. It is designed to ensure you have the right skillset to join the program, and to provide you with the chance to ask questions and get any further information regarding the program.
WHAT ARE THE SELECTION CRITERIA FOR SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS?
Students who feel they get the most out of the experience are usually strong in one of the skills needed for hardware entrepreneurship (such as entrepreneurship skills, business and finance skills, design skills, or hardware, software and system engineering skills). They are:
- Open-minded to new fields and expertise.
- Strong team players who work well collaboratively under pressure and within short time frames.
- Respectful towards those from different cultures, backgrounds, experiences, races, age groups, and fields of study.
- Driven to solve real-world problems that will have a positive impact on the world.
- Willing to put in the time, effort, and hard work to get the job done, no matter the obstacles.
HOW MANY PARTICIPANTS WILL BE SELECTED FOR THIS PROGRAM?
Following the interviews, we select 10-15 MIT and 10-15 Hong Kong students to participate in the program.
IF I AM ACCEPTED, HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO DECIDE?
Within 48 hours of receiving your acceptance letter. Startup bootcamps at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node have always been significantly oversubscribed, with many more qualified candidates than we have room for. We understand that students need to formalize plans as quickly as possible, so your decision allows us to move quickly to draw candidates from the waitlist in the event you are no longer available.
DO I NEED TO BE AN ENGINEER TO PARTICIPATE?
No. Diversity is key in a founding team for a startup. Skills needed for a new hardware venture to succeed spans user experience and design, engineering, business skills. We had very successful participants from humanities backgrounds, and we strive to build a diverse cohort – not just with engineers.
DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO SPEAK CANTONESE/ MANDARIN?
No. The program will be conducted in English. When we visit China, we will be accompanied by locals who are fluent in English. Students who speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin will find that helpful, but it is not a requirement.
DO I NEED AN IDEA TO APPLY?
No, you don’t need to be already working on an idea to apply. The application form will ask you of a problem you want to solve.
DO I NEED A TEAM TO APPLY?
No, this program is geared towards individual applicants. You will form teams at the start of the program.
IS THERE AN APPLICATION FEE?
There is no fee to apply to the program. However, once accepted into the program, you must submit a deposit to secure your place in the following format:
- For MIT students: you must purchase your airline fare to Hong Kong, which will be reimbursed prior to your trip.
- For HK students: a cash deposit of 1000HKD which will be reimbursed to you after completing the program.
CAN I WORK ON A PRE-EXISTING IDEA OR PROJECT?
No. Participants who come with preconceived ideas don’t get the full experience of the program, because their remade plans make the person less open to new input on what the market, customer, or teammates have to share with them. This program is designed to put the team before the idea — once the team is formed, then each team will collectively decide on what idea to work on.
HOW ARE TEAMS FORMED?
We run structured networking and brainstorming sessions to help the cohort form teams that are based on their interests in problems they want to solve. Each team will include 4-5 people and must include at least one MIT student and one student from a Hong Kong university. We strongly encourage teams to look at their skillsets, personal interests, and attributes to ensure they have a diverse, robust team with skills and interests that span a wide range.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON THE PRODUCTS I CAN PROTOTYPE?
No restrictions. You can build a prototype for any purpose and in any industry as long as it solves a real world problem. It is not required for the prototype to be a complete first step towards a new product – it can showcase the user experience of the new product, or show how a part of that product might work.
WHO OWNS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS TO MY PROJECT AT THE END?
Anything you create and build is yours to keep. MIT has no exclusive rights to anything created during the program.
DO TEAMS GO ON TO BUILD A REAL STARTUP BASED ON THEIR WORK AT THIS PROGRAM?
Our mission is to create entrepreneurs, not build startups. If members of a team choose to carry the project forward and continue working on it, it is entirely up to them. As an example, we had one team that ended up incorporating and continuing to work on solving a problem that they first started solving at a MEMSI session.
IF A STARTUP IS CREATED BASED ON MY WORK AT THIS PROGRAM, WILL I GET A SHARE OF THE EQUITY AND BE CONSIDERED A CO-FOUNDER?
No. Startup bootcamps at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node are educational programs with a strictly academic mission. As such, the project work completed during this program is considered a simulation. Working on a project in this program does not entitle any participant to make claims on a co-founder status, or their share of founder equity, regardless of their contribution during the program.
If your team (or part of it) decides to form a startup with your project, you should discuss who will/will not take part in the next phases, who will/will not be the co-founders, and what each person’s role, responsibility and contributions will include — founder equity conversations usually follow such ground work questions. Otherwise, just being a part of a team in this program does not entitle anyone retroactively to a share of the equity in a startup based on the team project. Your founder roles / responsibilities / equity discussions can start after the program concludes.
DO I NEED TO BRING MY OWN EQUIPMENT?
Bring your laptop and mobile device(s). We provide a range of hardware such as Arduino boards, sensors, various IoT modules and a range of tools and equipment that assemble everything.
ARE THERE PRIZES AT THE END?
Yes, the top teams will be awarded with prizes at the showcase which takes place on the last day of the program.
ARE THERE JUDGING CRITERIA?
Yes. We will share the judging criteria in the kickoff session for the program.
Travel, Accommodation & Visas
WILL ACCOMMODATION BE PROVIDED?
Yes. Accommodation is provided to all participants, including those who already live in Hong Kong. This is to ensure that the teams make the best use of their time throughout the two weeks.
WHEN DO I CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT?
We cover your hotel stay as follows:
- Earliest covered check-in date: 2 days before the program start date
- Latest covered check-out date: 1 day after the program end date
You may extend your stay on either end of this duration at the same hotel at your own expense, and if the hotel has availability to accommodate your request.
WHAT ARE THE PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS?
- For MIT students: You need a valid passport that is valid for travel for at least 6 months after your outbound flight to Hong Kong. If you are a US citizen and need to apply, please contact the passport division of the State Department. Routine service requires 4–6 weeks. For further information and application instructions, visit the State Department’s passport website. The MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node team will be partnering with MISTI China to support students through the visa process, and will provide more information upon acceptance to the program.
- For HK students: You must have a valid passport and a valid visa to enter China at least one week before the program officially begins.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THIS PROGRAM?
- Program and lodging costs are fully covered.
- Transportation cost for the Shenzhen trip is fully covered.
- For MIT students, plane fare to and from Hong Kong is fully covered.
- Students cover their own meals, local transportation, and incidental expenses.
HOW DO I MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS?
For MIT students:
- Make your own flight arrangements
- Provide us with a proof of purchase / receipt or invoice (the “deposit” to secure your place in the program)
- We reimburse you up to the reimbursement cap (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the reimbursement cap).
We work with you to make sure that your travel arrangements to and from the accommodations site are in place.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
MIT students partner with MISTI China to work with health insurance providers and make sure you are covered for the duration of your trip. In addition, MIT students are covered by International SOS for emergency assistance while traveling abroad.
For any further questions, please contact us here.