Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to the most common questions here

  • About SVIP

  • How is the SVIP funded?

    SVIP is fully funded by the participating tech companies. Our aim is to encourage and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

  • Can I come at a different time of year?

    No. SVIP has one intake in September of each year.

  • Do you offer a summer internship?

    No. SVIP is a one year program. We’ve found that it takes good couple of months for SVIPers to learn the ropes and really be useful to their tech companies, short term internships just don’t work so well.

  • How does the SVIP teach entrepreneurship?

    The bulk of the SVIPer's day-to-day experience is in the trenches working in rapidly growing companies, learning about commercial coding and how people within these companies think about business. Augmenting the day-to-day experience are monthly 'Meet the Entrepreneur' and 'Hackathon' events. 'Meet the Entrepreneur' is an opportunity to meet and learn the personal stories behind the careers of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists - think 'Inside the Actor's Studio' for entrepreneurs. The Hackathons are a sequential set of themed workshops which aim to take the SVIPers through the company formation process from idea to revenue.

  • Arrival to Silicon Valley

  • Will I get paid?

    Yes! SVIPers receive a salary of $60,000 for the year. You’ll be working a full time job as part of the engineering team at your company.

  • How much time will the SVIP take up outside of working hours?

    In addition to your role as a full time member of an engineering team, SVIPers commit to one weekend a month for the 'Meet the Entrepeneur' and 'Hackathon' programs. On top of this, SVIPers are expected to work on their business ideas between the Hackathons in their spare time. There are also occasional 'formal' events such as the Xmas party, Summer party, Business Review Panel and Pitch Night, where attendance is expected. This is not a one-year paid holiday in California!

  • Where will I live?

    SVIP provides accommodation for your first month in the program. This allows everyone to find their feet and get to know each other. Many SVIPers end up living together for the rest of the year, largely depending on where their companies are based. Beyond the first month, you will be responsible for your own living situation.

  • Where are the SVIP companies located?

    Some of our companies are based in Silicon Valley ‘proper’; that’s the general area south of San Francisco around Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Mountain View. However more and more startups are springing up in the city of San Francisco itself.

  • What happens if I drop out of the program?

    We really hope this does not happen! However, in the exceptional case that it does, the SVIPer is responsible for reimbursing SVIP for the 'hard costs' sunk into the candidate for visa processing, flights, accommodation, etc. which adds up to $6,000.

  • What happens at the end of the program?

    Formally, at the end of the SVIP, your J-1 visa status will lapse and you will need to return to your home country. In practice, many SVIPers join their companies full time and those companies apply for visa for them to stay in the US or work remotely from their home country. The SVIP itself sometimes makes available 'Entrepreneur in Residence' opportunities to SVIpers to work further on their business ideas or other opportunities.

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