Written Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should be no more than 10 single-spaced pages (11-point Calibri font with 1-inch margins). An additional 5 pages of product of system design detail may be included. In the proposal, please include the elements described below. With the exception of the hard, one-page limit on the executive summary, all other page limits are suggestions. Teams may reallocate space in their proposal to fit their needs subject to the 10-page maximum (including the executive summary page). We suggest that you seek feedback from your alumni mentor as you structure your proposal.

  • Executive Summary (1 page and no more): In a brief summary, what is your proposed product or service and how does it fill a currently unmet need?
  • Proposal Body (approximately 6 to 7 pages): What is your venture? What problem does it solve? How does it fill a hole left by competing products, services, or ideas? Who is your ideal customer and how does your product fill their need? What is your approach and why does it matter? What can you say about the potential size of the market? If it is a for-profit business, how do you estimate your long-term expected costs and profits? If it is a social venture, how do you estimate your long-term expected costs and revenues, and how will you measure benefits? How do you plan to implement your project? 
  • Budget Justification (approximately 1 to 2 pages): What is a reasonable budget for the work you propose to complete? How do you plan to use the fellowship funds to support your team’s project? If you plan to purchase supplies or equipment, do your best to itemize the costs. If you have other sources of support, explain how these will complement the Carleton funding. Please note that we understand that summer work is often a critical part of financing a Carleton education. We want everyone to be free to participate in entrepreneurship programming at Carleton, and so we understand that students working on their startup may need to pay themselves for that time. Thus, stipends for your time are acceptable uses of the funding.
  • Team Bios (approximately 1 page): Who are the members of your team and how do their experiences and skills position the team for success?

We presume that you will not be both working on the start-up and otherwise employed by Carleton during the summer. If you did plan to take a job at Carleton in addition to receiving fellowship money, please contact Nathan Grawe to discuss this.

Fellowship funds may be considered taxable income. Consult your tax professional.

Resource for Social Entrepreneurship Proposals