Program Rewarding Innovation in STEM Entrepreneurship (PRISE)

Program Summary 

The Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable (WISER) seeks to imagine and influence the future by supporting undergraduate students interested in STEM innovation, discovery, and creativity through PRISE.

PRISE has been developed in collaboration with partners from CWRU LaunchNET, Sears think[box], and the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women to address the underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurial ventures. According to the Association for Women in Science’s Revolutionizing the STEM Entrepreneurship Ecosystem report, “less than 4% of venture capital is awarded to women.”

PRISE provides women students with support to pursue entrepreneurship during their undergraduate years. Through this program you will:

  • Learn about processes of entrepreneurship and innovation

  • Design a solution (service, process, system, or product) to a problem and introduce it into the marketplace

  • Participate in workshops to learn how to be successful in an entrepreneurial venture

  • Take part in on-going coaching with industry professionals

Detailed Description 

PRISE supports student entrepreneurs in building their startup from an idea to a flourishing business or nonprofit. Over the summer term, PRISE students are enrolled in an intensive period of learning and development. In the subsequent school year, students will receive ongoing support through the university’s entrepreneurship and innovation design ecosystem.

Our goals are to:

  • Increase the number of female founders in STEM entrepreneurship and innovation

  • Provide training and support to women who are STEM entrepreneurs

  • Promote inclusive and equitable pipelines for women pursuing STEM entrepreneurship and innovation

As a PRISE student, you will receive benefits like:

  • $3,000 in startup funding

  • Participation in entrepreneurship and innovation programming, such as:

    • Sessions focused on topics like group dynamics, client relations, market research, business model canvas, and value proposition

    • Networking opportunities with peer entrepreneurs and experienced innovators at Sears think[box]

    • Workshops addressing issues pertaining to women in entrepreneurship

  • Individualized coaching

    • Personalized coaching by industry professionals on topics like refining entrepreneurial concepts, defining a market, drafting a business plan, and creating a strategy for fundraising

    • Individualized coaching for pitch competitions

  • Access to entrepreneurial consulting and incubator spaces at CWRU LaunchNET and Sears think[box]

Application Process

Students are required to complete an application demonstrating their interest in entrepreneurship and innovation as well as their idea for the program. Top applicants will be brought in for an interview with program administrators and advisors to discuss their idea.

Applications will be open January 1, 2020 through February 29, 2020.

Requirements and Eligibility 

  • Identify as a woman

  • Be an undergraduate student at CWRU

  • Be an individual or a team with an idea for a service, process, system, or product in STEM entrepreneurship and innovation

  • Commit to completing the PRISE curriculum and assigned tasks, such as attending workshops, monthly meetings with your coach and mentor, etc.

  • Commit to completing the aligned evaluation, such as surveys or impact interviews

Time Commitment

PRISE includes three phases: Foundation, Growth, and Launch.

Foundation occurs over two weeks from May 18 to 29, 2020. This phase is focused on intensive learning and idea development. Each week, PRISE students are expected to spend 30 hours in related programming, one-on-one coaching, and business development, with an additional five hours of flexible professional development (such as corporate site-visits, hearing from guest speakers at think[box], etc.).

Growth occurs from September 2020 to April 2021 and requires ongoing commitment to learning. Each month, PRISE students are expected to spend at least five hours per month meeting with mentors and coaches, and attending workshops, cohort meetups, and networking events.

Launch occurs from May 2021 for as long as desired by the student. The amount of support during this phase is self-directed by participants as the formal structure of the program gives way to a more adaptable model.

Program Model

Triangular diagram of the PRISE Program.