Ballard Spahr has launched a new program designed to guide student entrepreneurs through the legal challenges that come with starting a business.

The program, Ballard Academy for Student Entrepreneurs (BASE), will help local university undergraduate and graduate students with startup ventures. Ballard Spahr attorneys will advise BASE clients on corporate governance and structure, draft and negotiate contracts, and counsel on a variety of additional business matters.

“Young businesses face legal challenges that sap valuable time and resources. And these challenges are more daunting for student entrepreneurs with little experience and income,” said Gregory L. Seltzer, a Business and Finance partner overseeing the program. “BASE will give the student clients the support and guidance they need for their businesses to flourish.”

In addition, BASE will offer clients classes on legal issues likely to affect startups, including intellectual property, financing, tax, and employment law. Clients also will be matched with business mentors from outside Ballard Spahr, who will share business perspectives and advice. Finally, BASE will prepare its participants for meetings with investors.

The inaugural BASE class clients were selected from a pool of local university applicants. The class consists of: From:Earth, a delivery service for organic and natural hygiene products; OnCast Media, a venture capital and finance support company for African startups; Grüm, an app-based on-demand haircut service; LiveAlpha, a company facilitating investor loans to international students; and a social commerce mobile app and website for college students founded by Andrew Nakkache, Brandon Bahr, and Michael Paszkiewicz.

“BASE also promotes local economic development by offering resources to our region’s young innovators,” said Mr. Seltzer. “By encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to build and grow ventures in Philadelphia, BASE boosts the local business community and helps make our city a more attractive place for innovators to collaborate.”

BASE clients are selected after an application process, as class space is limited. The next enrollment period for BASE will open on September 1.

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