We live in a challenging time with complex social issues on one hand and radical new tools for addressing them on the other. SVA alumni have the imagination, training and skills to develop products and businesses that confront these challenges and create real change in the world. At SVA GI, we help them get started.
The SVA GroundFloor Incubator at the School of Visual Arts in New York City provides mentoring, lectures, and office space and prototyping facilities to small groups of SVA alumni to help them launch new products and businesses. Fellowships are granted to highly driven alumni with exceptional products that have a strong chance of making positive social impact with the right support.
Additionally, the GroundFloor has a founder-in-residence program that provides an existing business full access to our alumni fellowship program in order to help it grow. The founder-in-residence brings a perspective on start-up culture that deeply supports our fellows.
The GroundFloor offers two terms every year, from January to June and July to December.
Each term consists of eight two-week long learning modules in distinct design and business disciplines, followed by one six-week period for refining products, pitches and helping our fellows plan the next stage of our their new ventures.
The GroundFloor curriculum consists of eight learning modules:
1. Product Viability & Market Validation What is the product and is there an audience?
2. IP and Branding What are the innovation and identity and can they be protected?
3. User experience and design refinement How can the product be optimized?
4. Manufacturing/Software How will it get made?
5. Business Model & Management How will the business operate and scale?
6. Experiential Marketing How will the consumer get hooked?
7. Capitalization How will it be funded?
8. Pitching Sell it!
Can anyone apply?
Fellowships at the SVA GroundFloor Incubator are available only to alumni of the School of Visual Arts. Graduates of any SVA program, grad or undergrad, may apply.
How do I apply?
Scroll down to the GET INVOLVED section of this site and click BECOME A FELLOW. Fill out the email form and we will send you a preliminary application.
How much does SVA GI cost?
There is no tuition or service charge for a fellowship at the GroundFloor. However, participation comes at the cost of time and dedication. Interested alumni should be prepared to invest everything they can into their success.
Can I receive benefits or a stipend so I don’t have to work?
At this time, there is no stipend to be offered. Financial aid packages cannot be extended to cover living expenses during fellowships.
Can I receive the same health insurance coverage I received as a student?
No. Student health insurance cannot be extended to fellowships.
Does SVA own a Percentage of my venture?
No. SVA takes no stake in the intellectual property or business transactions that occur during or after a fellow's participation at the GroundFloor.
Can I use the SVA shops?
Yes. Fellows will have all the access to SVA shops and facilities that they did as students.
Will my SVA ID card still get me into the library and museums?
Yes. Fellows will be issued new ID cards that offer the same benefits as their previous student ID cards.
How do I get involved if I am not an SVA alumnus?
Fellowships at the GroundFloor are only available to SVA alumni. However, non-alumni partner with our fellows as project and business collaborators, and many of our mentors and lecturers are graduates of other institutions. If you are not an SVA alumni, but think there's a role for you here, get in touch and let's find one for you!
Fellowships at the SVA GroundFloor Incubator are available to recent graduates and alumni of the School of Visual Arts from any department in the school, graduate or undergraduate. If you believe that a project you created during or as a result of your studies at SVA has the potential to become a marketable product with positive social impact, we want to hear about it!
Each of the modules in the GroundFloor curriculum is lead by an instructor with expertise in the area of study. But some fellows and their ventures require more specific mentoring. The GroundFloor is always exploring opportunities to grow and improve the curriculum and the support network of instructors and mentors. If you are interested in conducting master classes, workshops, providing one-on-one consultation to fellows or playing any other role in the culture and output of the GroundFloor, let us know!
Our fellows succeed with the widest access to voices in design and business possible. The lecture series at the GroundFloor adds critical variety and counterpoint to the perspectives provided by our instructors. If you want to contribute your expertise and influence but have limited time, consider contributing an evening as a lecturer.
The GroundFloor depends upon generous support and partnerships across all operations. From the practical furniture and tool needs of our office to the prototyping, legal and financing needs of our fellows, we grow through our partnerships and in turn provide clear evidence of the power of our partners' products and services. Additionally, our partners get a first look at the innovative products and investment opportunities coming from our fellows. If your company would like to join the network of strategic partners contributing to new ventures in New York City, we are always open to exploring new relationships.
The SVA GroundFloor Incubator is an internally funded fellowship program at the School of Visual Arts. Your donation to SVA's Visual Arts Foundation can be ear marked for the GroundFloor and will contribute to instructor compensation, facilities, prototyping and could even endow fellows with stipends that significantly offset the cost of living, allowing them to maximize their time and dedication to their ventures and to create positive social change. Please consider a donation— any amount will make a difference.