If you're like most college students we know, you'll be headed for a few weeks of downtime now that the academic year is winding up. But what are you going to do over the summer if you don't have your internship at Google or Goldman already lined up? Here's one idea: enter the Lean Investments Summer 2012 App Challenge. It's a startup contest with a difference: instead of being judged on Powerpoint slides or a business plan, you're being asked to actually build something over the summer: a web or mobile app that's really useful (yup, it's a wide as that).
The challenge is being run by Lean Investments, the seed VC fund that's the vehicle of Tim Jackson, one of Europe's leading tech entrepreneurs, investors and commentators. And the prize is a package of cash investment, office space, mentoring and funding introductions.
There's one more twist to the story: what if you have a great idea but you don't write software, or if you're a genius developer but you don't have an idea? No problem. The guys at Lean allow you to register your interest, and they'll matchmake to help you team up with someone who has the skills you don't have.
The only drawback? Once you get drawn in, you may not get much of a tan this summer. But if you're planning to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, maybe you'll have time to go to the beach later on in life...
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.