Starting Gate student meeting with a mentor.


The Starting Gate accelerator program is a two-semester program (fall and spring) with a mission to help Western Michigan University students achieve success in their business endeavors. Starting and developing a new business is hard work and takes a significant amount of time.

The application deadline for the 2024-25 academic year is September 22, 2024.


Students will be required to participate in programs designed to increase their chances for success:

  • At least one owner of the business must be enrolled at WMU. At the time of application, they must be sophomore-level or above. 
  • Weekly attendance commitments for meetings with mentors and others.
  • Attending entrepreneurial speaker events, training and workshops. The bulk of the events occur on Mondays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in 2150 Schneider Hall (Dean's Conference Room) at Haworth College of Business. Please see the schedule of events here.
  •  All student participants must be in good academic standing prior to admittance to, and while participating in, the business accelerator program.

Please consider the time commitment before submitting your application. Both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to participate. Students must demonstrate adequate progress in order to retain their membership in the program. 

Application instructions

Before beginning the application, please gather all materials listed below and review the complete application.

  • Names and information about team members.
  • Social network addresses for startup, if available.
  • Names and information about mentors, if available. It is strongly recommended that at least one mentor be a WMU faculty member.
  • Minimum 140-character description of the startup.
  • Description of the business model, including how the business creates and delivers value, earns profits and generates income.
  • Target audience and customer demographics.
  • Any major accomplishments.
  • A business pitch or a product demonstration video, if available.
  • Any goals.
  • Starting Gate student meeting with a mentor.