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. 

A collaboration with Stuart School of Business, the Startup Accelerator is a tailored program to equip students with the necessary tools and support to jump-start their ventures. 

Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and alumni are invited to apply. To join the program, applicants must meet all the following requirements: 

  1. Teams must be composed of at least three co-founders
  2. At least two co-founders must be able to enroll as students in the Startup Accelerator course for academic credit
  3. Undergraduate students and graduate students can enroll in the accelerator, co-listed as BUS 595-01 or IPRO 497-401, for credit. The course will take place on Fridays from 1:40–4:30 p.m. All team members will be able to participate

The Kaplan Institute will be launching its Startup Accelerator Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program course in spring 2024 in collaboration with Stuart School of Business.  

The final deadline to submit your application for spring 2024 is December 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. The application form can be found online

Startups who are accepted into the program will: 

  • Receive ongoing feedback and advice from a dedicated coach 
  • Participate in regular live sessions with an advisory board featuring members who have decades of entrepreneurship, investment, and venture capital experience 
  • Have access to the Idea Shop and to dedicated workspaces at Kaplan Institute and MHUB, as well as an opportunity to work with app development experts to prototype and build their products 
  • Learn how to create financial projections to predict their company’s performance 
  • Practice their pitch and will have an opportunity to 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 

Application Requirements 

[Example Application

Submit a one-to-two-page summary that includes: 

  • 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 must fulfill your role for the company 
  • Value Proposition: What problem are you solving and for whom? Define your customer, the problem that 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 (i.e. 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 (i.e. key performance indicator)? Share your results, including your conversion rate if possible (what percentage of the people you asked showed willingness to purchase) 
  • Advisory Board: If you are admitted, you will recruit industry professionals to participate on your advisory board in three meetings throughout the course of the semester. We expect you to have at least three names of prospective, willing participants. Please share their names and their respective LinkedIn profiles. 
  • 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? 
  • Additional Comments: If you have any questions or comments, please share them.

Submission Process 

The final deadline to submit your application for the spring 2024 semester is December 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. The application form can be found online.  


If you have any questions, please contact the Kaplan Institute at kiinfo@kaplan.iit.edu. We are happy to provide guidance with any portion of the application. Good luck! 

  • An Opportunity for Personal Growth: This experience will help you understand what gets you excited to get up in the morning and how to rally a team to build something you care about. 
  • Put Your Knowledge into Practice: The skill set that you’ll gain from this experience will help you gain professional job skills, regardless of whether you choose to pursue entrepreneurship. 
  • You’ll gain access to a network of professionals who are aligned with your interests.