Dedicated Resources for Students
Some Northwestern students are eager for a taste of the entrepreneurial adventure. The University offers a variety of resources just for students, including The Garage, our hub for student entrepreneurship to NUseeds, a multi-million dollar VC fund to boost promising early-stage ventures. Explore options for student entrepreneurs.
The Garage is a cross-disciplinary space designed for all Northwestern students to explore innovation and entrepreneurship through resident and non-resident programs. Non-resident programs include workshops and courses to help get ideas forming.
Residency ProgramResident programs focus on honing ventures in a period of 3-4 months. The Garage Residency Program is an opportunity for student teams, both undergraduate and graduate, to be core members of The Garage’s entrepreneurial community. Resident teams use The Garage as their office and receive special privileges like 24/7 access, a weekly Family Dinner and priority for office hours with mentors. Ideas can be for-profit or not-for-profit, hardware or software, commercial products or artistic endeavors—anything that requires bringing a new idea to fruition. See all Student Opportunities
Space and equipmentThe Garage offers a variety of labs in addition to maker and hacker equipment. The AR/VR Lab features the Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens, and HTC Vive. All students, faculty and staff of Northwestern are welcome to visit during staffed hours. The last demo ends 15 minutes before the end of each shift. The Prototyping Lab (open to Garage Residents only) is equipped with Formlabs Form 2 3D printers, Makerbot Replicators, woodworking equipment, an electronics workbench, Carveys, a sewing machine, and vinyl cutter. Explore Garage Spaces
Find hands on training in and out of the classroom.
The INVO Practicum attracts Northwestern graduate students and post-docs with deep technical knowledge who are interested in expanding their understanding of where science meets business and law. The internship offers exposure to the technology transfer process as well as being exposed to the vast areas of innovation at Northwestern. Interns gain hands-on experience in evaluating technologies for patentability and marketability, as well as be expected to effectively communicate their findings with INVO staff. Two cohorts run per year: January to June and June to December.
N.XT Associates are Northwestern graduate students trained to evaluate commercial opportunities and create market summaries for every N.XT Fund application. N.XT Associates can expect to gain exposure to the diligence process involved in executing venture capital transactions. N.XT Associates come from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Associates are hired as needed for each round of investments. If you are interested in a N.XT Associate position, please contact INVO's Nick Maull.
Interdisciplinary NUvention courses offered through the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation are open to students from all of Northwestern's various schools. They are designed to expose students to the entire innovation and entrepreneurial life cycle and help them understand how innovations can become viable businesses in the real world.
NUVention course focus areas include: Advanced Materials, Analytics, Arts, Energy, Medical, Therapeutics, Transportation and Web + Media. See all NUvention courses.
Segal Design Institute Courses
The process of working on real projects is essential to the student experience at the Segal Design Institute. Every Segal program relies on outside clients, and classes run in fall, winter and spring quarters.
- Design Thinking and Communication (DTC): User-centered, solution-independent and feasible for freshman to complete within two months. Contact Jake Pollock.
- Advanced Projects for engineering, design and business students: Sponsor an open-ended design innovation project. Contact Kim Hoffman.
INVOForward is a Northwestern mentorship program to accelerate biomedical commercialization, such as medical devices, therapeutics, and Health IT, on both Evanston and Chicago campuses. It is designed to increase entrepreneurship by helping potential or current biomedical entrepreneurship teams focus on the customer discovery process. Through their discovery, the teams test and identify their market fit and assess the level of impact of their business proposition. INVOForward is modeled after, and will expand upon programs like the NIH I-Corps and University of Michigan’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI).
For more information, contact INVOForward.
Kellogg Medical Product Commercialization LabThis Kellogg course offers students an experiential learning opportunity to work directly in the commercialization process for innovative, pre-commercial medical product technologies. Students will be placed on four-to-five member teams based on their skills, experience and interests. Each team will function as consultants working with select Northwestern startup companies. Each company will present their technology on the first day of class, after which students will select their top three choices and will be matched by the faculty advisers on a first come basis. Once matched, students will work with their respective companies to build a complete company investor deck that will be delivered to a panel of industry and finance experts at the end of the term. The insights from this hands-on course will be most beneficial to students with an interest in entrepreneurship, product design, intellectual property, early stage financing and medical product marketing. Learn more about this experiential course.
Students can find funding for their ventures through competitions that include:
- NUseeds, a Northwestern investment fund is intended to accelerate the successful launch of innovations from NU students and finance the most promising early-stage student ventures. NUseeds writes checks in the $10,000 - $100,000 range in exchange for equity.
- VentureCat, is a Northwestern business plan competition that provides mentorship and early stage capital for student startups.
- Other business plan competitions are available, and many are listed on the Kellogg website. Funding for expenses related to travel to business plan competitions is available for current Kellogg students.
More startup essentials
The Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center, a clinical program affiliated with the Bluhm Legal Clinic provides legal services to entrepreneurs focusing on job creation and economic development in the Chicago area.
Visit their website to submit a client request, which is typically considered in June, August, and December. The Entrepreneurship Law Center charges fees for services which vary based on the time and complexity of work involved. Call (312) 503-3420 for more information.
In addition to The Garage, Northwestern students can use:
- Northwestern at 1871, a co-working center for digital startups. Located in the Merchandise Mart, this 50,000-square-foot facility has meeting or conference space available for early stage digital startups.
- MATTER, a community of healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders working together in a shared space to individually and collectively fuel the future of healthcare innovation.
- mHUB, a co-working space for hardware entrepreneurs and makers in Chicago. It is also a growing community focused on development, manufacturing and commercialization of electronic and IoT devices, and other physical products.
- Segal Prototyping and Fabrication Lab, located in the basement and sub-basement of the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, is available for student use in support of their educational project work. The lab is staffed by lab professionals and student lab leaders who are skilled in the equipment and processes necessary for the execution of project designs.
Take advantage of Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Garage. EIRs are experienced entrepreneurs who are available to members of The Garage. EIRs serve as a great resource for developing business concepts, making contacts with the market, connecting to investors, and sorting through founder and team issues.
Contact The Garage for more information.