Silicon Valley Innovation Academy Enterprise

Your Summer in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Innovation Academy (SVIA) Enterprise is only offered to confirmed Stanford Summer Session undergraduate and graduate students. Confirmed high school students interested in participating can partake in SVIA Explore.

How are you going to change the world? Silicon Valley Innovation Academy (SVIA) provides you with the mindset, skill set, and network you need to invent the future.

Stanford University lies at the heart of Silicon Valley–physically and intellectually. Since its founding, the University has focused on training the next generation of innovative leaders. With a student body drawn from around the world, today’s Stanford is “a place for learning, discovery, innovation, [and] expression.” Whether you already know how you’re going to change the world, or you’re still searching for your passion, SVIA Enterprise will help you to develop the right mindset and skills needed.

The Program

SVIA Enterprise is an exclusive opportunity for 120 students to experience a team-based moonshot project while at Stanford. Across seven weeks, you’ll hone your leadership abilities in a team and your intent on exploring, prototyping, and communicating a world-changing innovation opportunity. The program supports your journey with a mix of weekly, hands-on coaching sessions and real-world deliverables. The program culminates with the SVIA Innovation EXPErience, where each team has the opportunity to present their idea.

What to Expect

Each week, you will engage in activities that will help move your team project forward. You can expect the following each week:

  • One virtual, 30-minute lesson that will leave you with tasks to complete with your group
  • A weekly Large-Group Meeting (LGM) that will function more as general discussion and drop-in “office hours” for those that can make it
  • Teamwork completed on your schedule
  • One Small-Group Meeting (SGMs) that will include your team, a SVIA coach, and potentially other teams
  • Larger SVIA activities

Program Descriptions and Schedule at a Glance

Week 1: Inventing the Future

In the opening large group meeting (LGM), you’ll learn about the nature of “world-changing ideas” and the path you’ll take across the coming weeks. Your long-range opportunities this year will focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Beyond the LGM, the first small group meetings (SGMs) will be scheduled with the coaching teams. The first deliverables need to “capture the big picture.”

Week 2: Stalking the White Horse

In the second LGM, there will be a discussion around benchmarking the future. To borrow from William Gibson, “The Future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed.” SGMs will help teams advance their project and create benchmarks for the near- to far-future. Deliverable includes comprehensive benchmarking and the infamous White Horse prototype.

Week 3: Capturing our Future User

This week’s LGM explores a user-centric mindset. A centerpiece of Stanford’s Design Thinking, how do we go from capturing today’s users to understand where they are going? SGM focuses on learning about potential opportunities. Deliverables include demographic changes, changes in perception, unexpected occurrences, incongruities, and market changes, embodied in a Future User prototype. You’ll also spend an entire Saturday in a moonshot sprint. This team-based, hands-on sprint focuses on identifying your user needs and defining user profiles.

Week 4: Go!

You have to learn to walk before you run. Now you start running. During this week’s LGM, you’ll hear from a set of leading, young innovators and investors as they describe the state of “big innovation.” SGMs as expected. Deliverable is the first Critical Experience Prototype.

Week 5: And Again!

With the learning from the moonshot sprint, this week’s LGM focuses on how you can ask, and answer, better questions through a multiplicity of prototypes. The LGM will draw on voices from around the world as we learn about “making ideas real” in other cultures and countries. SGMs as expected. Deliverable is the second Critical Prototype.

Week 6: Tame the Dark Horse

Discussing how to “take it back” will occur — communicating your vision, plan, and learning. SGMs as expected. Deliverable is the Dark Horse Prototype.

Week 7: Making it Real

Your team’s efforts culminate with the innovation showcase. Your team will present your future vision, the path you’ve started on, and how you’ll continue to deliver post Stanford.

Additional Events

Breathe It In

The Enterprise program will visit the offices of a world-leader in “inventing the future.” Transportation will be provided.

Get Out There

A special scavenger hunt will give the opportunity to get off campus and discover the sites, the secrets, and the showcases that define Silicon Valley.

Moonshot Sprint

You will spend the Saturday of Week 3 in a moonshot sprint. This team-based, hands-on sprint will focus on identifying your project’s user needs and defining user profiles as an intense and immersive day-long exercise.

Industry Panel

Get an insider’s perspective from several leading experts and Silicon Valley icons during a 90-minute panel, in which they will share stories about how Silicon Valley really works.

Round Zero Lunch

Talk with your peers in small round table discussions over lunch. Each table will also feature a different VIP guest from Silicon Valley, including several leading young innovators who are developing new ventures. They’ll describe their recent college experiences, what led them to take the leap, and how they plan to build a better world for all of us.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to SVIA, your only opportunity to do so is within the Summer Session application. SVIA is an enrichment program to supplement the courses you take as a part of Summer Session. Thus, you cannot be in SVIA unless you are also admitted to Summer Session as an undergraduate or graduate student and are taking courses.

Time Commitment

You can expect to dedicate about 50 hours throughout seven weeks on SVIA. We recommend that students in SVIA Enterprise enroll in no more than 10 units of courses.


There is a $1,375 program fee for participating in SVIA Enterprise. Please see the refund schedule below for more information.

Refund Schedule

Please refer to the table below for more information about charges and refunds based on the timeframe of when a student may drop SVIA, but still remain in Stanford Summer Session. 

Refund schedule for participants who drop SVIA, but remain in Stanford Summer Session

If you withdraw from Summer Session

  • If you withdraw from Stanford Summer Session (and thus also SVIA) by June 25 at 8:59 pm Pacific Time, you will not be charged the $1,375 SVIA fee (or will be refunded the SVIA fee if you already paid the fee on your tuition bill).
  • If you withdraw from Stanford Summer Session (and thus also SVIA) on June 25 at 9 pm or later, your SVIA fee charge will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
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