Oct 5, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Since 2013, Michael Baum's Founder.org has been granting $100,000 to college students with brilliant ideas and supporting them as they complete their degrees -- and follow their entrepreneurial passions.

The "Anti-Thiel Fellowship" arose in direct response to PayPal's founder Peter Thiel and his $100,000 scholarship program to young entrepreneurs -- on the condition that they drop out of school.

Founder.org has blossomed. According to FastCompany, 2013 saw over 300 applications. and 2014, saw 1,000 applications, with ten winning startups each year. From there, the scheme has gone from strength to strength. Such is the quality and quantity of applications it now receives, it hands out funding to 50 startups a year.

Once teams are accepted, Founder.org works with them and assigns them mentors who meet with them regularly. They learn about product development, human resources, project management, and systems operations.

The teams meet in person every three months, and some continue to meet long after their 12-month accelerator program ends.

Baum says he respects everything Thiel has done to support young entrepreneurs, but he takes a different approach to staying in school.

He said, “I suspect that most of these companies will be 8- to 10- to 12-year endeavors. Why not stay in school, finish your degree, and use the environment of the university to bootstrap your company? Universities have gotten a lot smarter about opening up resources to student entrepreneurs."

Learn more about studying entrepreneurship. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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