77 IdeaLab

About 77 IdeaLab

Build and launch a company in one semester! In 77 IdeaLab, you’ll solve a problem worth solving, meet with mentors, and have opportunities to fund your business. We’ll support you the entire way so you can grow your business for life after graduation!

In this program, you will:

  • Receive intensive and accelerated entrepreneurial training in a cohort model
  • Funding in the form of $1000 grant for each team
  • Leverage over $200,000 of funding from regional and national student pitch competitions
  • Meet and work with other student entrepreneurs
  • Learn how to pitch to customers and investors
  • Network with entrepreneurs and mentors in the startup ecosystem


How it Works

How does 77 IdeaLab work?

All you need is a passion for a problem that is worth solving. If you have an idea to solve that problem, that’s a great start. We’ll help develop the idea and business around the problem through one-on-one mentoring, workshops, and a $1,000 grant. This program is open to any student at GVSU. Applications are due by December 18th at 11:59 pm. Interviews will be completed throughout December and students accepted into 77 IdeaLab will be announced on January 24th.

How can I attend 77 IdeaLab?

Our registration form is coming out soon!

77 IdeaLab Timeline


Application Due Date December 18th at 11:59pm


Notifications go out to students January 24th


Getting the most out of 77 IdeaLab Week of February 1st 

Introduce the students to one another, set expectations, and give students a framework to use for creating a single metric to measure throughout the program


Problem Interviews and Customer Discovery Week of February 7th

Show students how to conduct a problem interview and how to find customers in their potential markets.


Wheel of Life Week of February 14th 

To help build some trust in the group, have students set goals in the "spokes" of life and share with the group. This session is meant for more personal development for the students.


Alumni Night Week of February 21st

Bring in alumni from CEI to share experiences and stories. Give time for alumni and teams to discuss what each other are working on.


Networking Basics and Idea Pitching 101 Week of February 28th

Demonstrate to students the best practices to network, especially within the entrepreneurial community. Create elevator pitches with students so they can tell anyone about what they are working on in a concise manner.



Spring Break March 6th - 13th 


Branding and Design Basics Week of March 14th

The look and feel of an idea can help students feel like their business is becoming real. It can also help with customer development as the business will look more put together. We'll bring in a guest speaker to talk about branding and design!


Mentor Madness Week of March 21st

Students will meet with 20 or so mentors from the entrepreneurial community. These mentors will meet with students in 10-minute meetings to create intentional serendipity and give feedback to students for their ideas.


Feedback Debrief Week of March 28th

At this point in the program, students may feel overwhelmed with customer feedback and feedback from mentor madness. We'll work through the feedback as a group. This way students can help each other process feedback together.



Investor Pitching - Part 1 & 2 Week of April 4th

Part 1 will consist of teaching students what's included in an investor pitch, and tips for public presentations. Our hope is that students can put together a framework of a pitch.

Part 2 will consist of students walking through a rough pitch deck and working together to improve decks.


Financial Modeling - Part 1 & 2 Week of April 11th

Part 1 will consist of working with students to figure out how revenue is coming into their business. We'll help them with basic costs as well.

Part 2 will consist of putting it all together. We can rely on some Techstars material for putting together the spreadsheets.


Life After 77 IdeaLab and Wrap-Up Week of April 18th

We can show resources and programs that students can connect with to help them after they have left 77 IdeaLab. Also, celebrate a great semester with them!



How do I register?

Sign up now at the top of this page, fill out our google form and your response will be recorded.

How much does it cost to participate in 77 IdeaLab?

Nothing. Actually, we pay you $1,000 as a grant to be a part of the program.

What is the application process?

Students that are interested in applying need to apply by December 18th at 11:59 p.m.

Who is eligible for the program?

Any student at GVSU is eligible to be part 77 IdeaLab.

Can I meet with someone to talk about the program?

Absolutely. Feel free to email Tom Coke, our entrepreneur-in-residence, at [email protected], to find a time to meet. Tom also has office hours in the CEI office in the Seidman building (Room 1127) on Tuesdays at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm and on Wednesdays at  9:00 - 3:00 pm. Please email me or come in during those times to connect with me.

Do I need to have an idea?

Not necessarily. It can be helpful, however, as long as you're passionate enough about a significant problem in the world, we'll make it work! Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems.

Is there additional funding other than the $1,000?

We will help you find competitions to pitch at so you can win additional funding for your business. Our program doesn't have more grant opportunities, but we will connect you to those that do as much as we can!

How much time should I expect to put into this?

The more time you can give to this, the better. However, classes should still be your priority. Our expectation is that you attend weekly workshops on Wednesday nights, meet bi-weekly with our entrepreneur-in-residence, and work on your business at least a little bit outside of 77 IdeaLab time.

How many team members can I have? Do I need to have a team?

We recommend everyone applying with a team of 2-3 people. In certain situations, solo entrepreneurs will be accepted into the program. The largest team size we will accept is 4 people.

Is there a certain type of company you are looking for?

Nope! We're just looking for passionate, dedicated, and hard-working student entrepreneurs. Our goal is to allow students to launch successful new businesses out of 77 IdeaLab!


Tom Coke

Thomas Coke

Phone: (616) 331-7582

Email: [email protected]

Office Hours (Seidman - Rm#1127):

Tuesday: 9 am - 3 pm

Wednesday: 9 am - 3 pm


Page last modified February 9, 2022