• Audience in conference room watching student presentation

    Thinking outside the box

    Students introduce their promising ideas for a product or service during Demo Day, a presentation for potential investors.

  • Sustainable clothing company founder receives scholarship

    Entrepreneurship student Siera Gunnett, founder of SheMakings,receives the 2022 Brian Patrick Thomas Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

  • Five student winners smiling in conference room.

    Building business networks

    Starting Gate provides resources to student entrepreneurs and connects them to experts in the community who can move their businesses forward. Starting Gate will soon welcome its 100th student business.

What is Starting Gate?

Starting Gate is a student business accelerator program that gives students rich and valuable resources to develop their startup companies. Operated by the Small Business Development Center, within the Haworth College of Business, the accelerator is open to all WMU students through a competitive application process in which students must demonstrate a promising idea for a product or service, which can be launched within a short period of time. Starting Gate provides a fast track to business launch.

Companies completing the accelerator program, for the 2022-2023 academic year, are eligible to apply for $10,000 in company funding.

Applications are closed for this school year. Congratulations to our 2022-23 Cohort!

Resources and benefits

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, adjusting business models and plans and gaining feedback.
  • Students participating in the program will be able to request independent study of up to three credits for their work in Starting Gate.
  • 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, including the Michigan Small Business Development Center and 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.