Take Your Venture From Idea to Market
Getting your startup venture up and running is a significant first step for any budding entrepreneur, but the work is far from over once you’ve got an idea and a team to help create it. Taking your startup from idea to market requires a different set of skills, and the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship has the program to help ease that transition.
Our Startup Accelerator is a Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program course track that supports students who are interested in launching a startup. A collaboration with Stuart School of Business, the Startup Accelerator connects student-led teams with experts from inside and outside of Illinois Institute of Technology, including our staff, Illinois Tech professors, industry professionals, and investors.
Applications for the Startup Accelerator open in the fall.
In order to join the course, students must meet all of the following requirements
- Teams must be composed of at least three team members
- At least two team members, one of which is the team lead (CEO), must be able to enroll as a student in the Startup Accelerator course for academic credit; the course takes place on Fridays from 9 a.m.–noon (all team members will be able to participate in the accelerator)
The Kaplan Institute will be launching our Startup Accelerator Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program course this spring, in collaboration with the Stuart School of Business.
- The final deadline to submit your application for spring 2023 has passed. We will be accepting applications for spring 2024 sometime next fall.
Student teams who are accepted into the program will:
- Receive ongoing feedback and advice from a dedicated entrepreneurship coach
- Participate in regular live sessions with faculty and mentors who have decades of entrepreneurship, investment, and venture capital experience
- Have access to the Idea Shop, MHUB, and app development experts to prototype and build their products
- Learn how to create financial projections to predict their company’s performance
- Practice and eventually present their completed pitch deck to a panel of judges at Kaplan Pitch Tank to compete for a prize pool of up to $50,000
- Teams must be composed of at least three members
- At least two team members, one of which is the team lead (CEO), must be able to enroll as a student in the Startup Accelerator course for academic credit; the course takes place on Fridays from 9:00 a.m.–noon (all team members will be able to participate)
Submit a one-to-two-page summary:
- Your company name
- Your company website if you have one
- TEAM: Your team members, titles, emails, and Illinois Tech A-numbers, as well as why starting this company is important to you and what relevant skills you have to fulfill your role for the company
- VALUE PROPOSITION: What problem you are solving and for whom? Define your customer, the problem you are solving for them, and how you’re solving the problem
- COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Describe your top three competitors, and what competitive advantage your solution has over them
- EXPERIMENT: What evidence do you have that someone or a company is willing to pay for your solution (how badly do people want it)? This section should describe three components of your experiment:
- Prototype: the physical or digital manifestation of your solution, what value it delivers to the customer, and the experiment that you used to test your customer’s willingness to pay for your solution
- Customer Engagement Plan: Describe how you identified your customers, how you reached out to them, and how many customers you were able to engage with
- Market Size: Discuss your target market size, and how you calculated it
- Results/KPI: How did you measure your customer’s willingness to purchase your solution (key performance indicator)? Share your results, including your conversion rate if possible (what percentage of the people you asked showed willingness to purchase)
- SUPPORT NEEDED: In what ways are you looking for help or support to continue growing your startup? How can the accelerator be most beneficial to you?
Applications are now closed.
If you have any questions, please contact the Kaplan Institute (email@example.com). We are happy to provide guidance with any portion of the application. Good luck!
- Ongoing feedback and advice from a dedicated entrepreneurship coach
- Regular, live sessions with faculty and mentors
- Access to the Idea Shop, mHUB, and app development experts to prototype and build products
- Practice and a chance to pitch their startups to a panel of experts for a chance at prizes worth more than $50,000