WMU program fast-tracks student ideas to business launch

Contact: Deanne Puca

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students from all majors who have a business idea and are looking to develop and launch a new company though an accelerated process are encouraged to apply by midnight Sunday, Sept. 27, to Starting Gate, Western Michigan University's entrepreneurship incubator for students.

The accelerator is open to all WMU sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students through a competitive application process where students must demonstrate a promising idea for a product or service, which can be launched within a short period of time. Companies participate in a six-month program that concludes with Demo Day, a presentation for potential investors. Students have access to programming and mentors and also have the potential to earn startup funding.

Conducted virtually for the 2020-21 academic year, the mentor-based accelerator offers an array of resources and just the right amount of structure for highly motivated and creative students.

Student entrepreneurs:

  • Participate in regular update nights to help define the scope of their companies, adjust business models and plans, and gain feedback.
  • Interact with several key mentors, including faculty members, successful entrepreneurs from the local community, investors and experts in areas of interest such as commercial law, venture capital and others.
  • Have access to the full complement of resources available through WMU, such as the Small Business Development Center, WMU Business Connection, Haworth College of Business experts and WMU faculty expertise from across campus.
  • Develop a robust network of contacts and connections within the local business community to aid in the success of their ventures.

About Starting Gate

Starting Gate is a student business accelerator that gives students resources to develop their startup companies. Located in downtown Kalamazoo and operated by the Haworth College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in partnership with the Western Michigan University Office of Community Outreach, the accelerator is open to all WMU students through a competitive application process during which students must demonstrate a promising idea for a product or service that can be launched within a short period. The first companies enrolled in Starting Gate in summer 2013.

Watch Starting Gate's video

Student entrepreneurs receive awards for innovation, May 13, 2020

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