The Holekamp Seed Fund, a $500,000 gift from Cliff Holekamp and his father Bill, will give up to twenty $1,000 grants a year to student startups.

Cliff Holekamp’s idea was to flip around the competition model, where many students apply, but only a few are awarded funding. Instead, the Fund will provide a large number of students with small checks. Holekamp would like to see these small grants stimulate an even more vibrant startup scene at WashU.

There are two stipulations: One, the students must demonstrate a serious commitment to launching their idea. And two, although it’s not a requirement, the students will be asked to consider “paying it forward” by pledging money back to the seed fund or the Olin Annual Fund. The idea behind this is to foster a robust environment of entrepreneurship on campus not just for now but for the long term.

Applicants must Washington University junior or senior undergraduate or graduate student who has completed a full semester of an Olin course or program. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, so students can apply at any time.

Learn more about the Holekamp Seed Fund on the Olin blog.