Oxypreneurship is expanding and lengthening this year’s January Term (J-Term) due to the success of last year’s pilot program. The upcoming J-Term, which will take place Jan. 7-18, will give more students a chance to explore entrepreneurship in-depth over winter break.
Oxypreneurship member Maddie Caldemeyer (senior) describes the program as an entrepreneurial boot camp where students can learn entrepreneurial skills not traditionally taught in the classroom. The core goals of the program include introducing students to the basics of entrepreneurship, developing computational skills, fostering group project collaboration and connecting students to the Los Angeles entrepreneurial network, according to Oxypreneurship co-adviser Sanjeev Khagram.
Caldemeyer said that this year’s program will be noticeably different from its predecessor pilot program. The projects and topics covered will be expanded to fill the program’s extended timeframe.
Oxypreneurship co-adviser Sherry Simpson-Dean hopes to see an increase in student participation with the expansion of the program.
“We are not capping [J-Term] but we are hoping for about 30 students, which would be fantastic because we would double our numbers [from last year],” Simpson-Dean said. “Any increase is really showing that the program is taking off.”
J-Term is still in the experimental stage, but Khagram believes that these changes will better accommodate the goals of the program. Last year’s pilot program was four days long and consisted of 12 students from various majors, which he said exemplifies the diversity of the entrepreneurial community.
“What we were excited about was that our principles that we framed the first program around—the pilot program last year—really worked, and what students wanted was more of it, and that is what we are trying to do this year,” Khagram said.
Simpson-Dean pointed to Oxypreneurship co-coordinator Alex Urry (junior) as someone who greatly benefited from J-Term.
“I found that, after J–Term, I had a lot more confidence moving forward to start my own business and that is why this last semester I have been working on a company with a friend of mine,” Urry said. “I don’t think I would have been able to do that without J-term.”
Last year, J-Term involved a group project in which students developed their own businesses at the end of the week. One group’s business pitch from last year’s program, a laundry delivery called OxyClean, became a full-fledged campus business.
This time, students will start developing a business plan for a sustainable business model at the start of J-Term and pitch their ideas on the last day. The team with the best pitch will receive $500 to implement their idea, according to Caldemeyer. It is her hope that more students will want to follow through with developing their businesses after the end of J-Term.
Other opportunities offered during J-Term include classes taught by professors and students, sales competitions and excursions to local start-ups. The schedule tentatively includes visits to Google Venice, General Assembly, The Hub L.A., Good Worldwide and Idealab, among others, according to Caldemeyer.
J-Term will likely count as a pre-requisite for an independent study course taught by Khagram in the spring, Caldemeyer said, although the Academic Planning Committee has yet to approve this change. The fee to participate in J-Term is $500, but Caldemeyer said students can apply to the Career Development Center to cover some of the cost.
Applications for the program are available on the Oxypreneurship website Oct. 30 and are due midnight Nov. 16. Admission decisions will be sent out by Nov. 19. An information session for interested students will be held 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Johnson Hall Innovation Lab.