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Haas School of Business Grants Seed Money to MBA Student Entrepreneurs

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This post has been republished in its entirety from its original source,

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business awarded the first round of grants in a new program that intends to inspire MBA student entrepreneurs to grow early stage startups.

The Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program (BHEP) awarded these first ten grants in December 2015, and the next round will be bestowed in April 2016.

“We’re off to a great start with these ideas that attack pain points in industries ranging from agriculture to healthcare,” BHEP Director Rhonda Shrader said in a statement. “Our student teams are so excited to begin testing their concepts, and this fund is generating a fresh level of enthusiasm among our student entrepreneurs.”

One concept that earned funding from the BHEP is Clima, which was initiated by MBA student Saharnaz Safari (MBA ’16). During a road trip from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay region, Safari was struck by the drought-ravaged landscape. She and her travel mate, an aerospace engineer, began to brainstorm about how drone technology might be used to help farmers in their plight to keep crops going amidst the drought. Thus spawned Clima.

Safari and her colleague imagine a fleet of drones that could create rain and snow that would provide the moisture the land needs to rejuvenate. While these drones would be costly, at about $20,000 apiece, Safari and her partner will use the grant to procure a smaller model that can be used to develop the concept and raise capital for the larger effort.

“The fund has been very important in helping us build a minimum viable product,” Safari said in a statement. “It also paves the path to receive additional funding.”

Other grant recipients will use their funding to develop an app that helps diabetics make healthy food choices, while another group is creating an app to provide assistance for citizens of impoverished communities in India.