Program Rewarding Innovation in STEM Entrepreneurship (PRISE)

Program Summary 

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women seeks to imagine and influence the future by supporting undergraduate students interested in STEM innovation, discovery, and creativity through PRISE.

PRISE was launched in 2019 with an endowment gift made by alumna Susan Friedman Klarreich, PhD, GRS '63, '74. Sue was a lifelong champion for empowering women in STEM fields and supported this program with the view that it could help uncover the next Marie Curie.

Since its launch, 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-aligned students with support to pursue entrepreneurship during their undergraduate years. Through this program you will:

  • Learn about processes of entrepreneurship and innovation in teams within a cohort model
  • Design a STEM-based 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. At the beginning of the program, PRISE students are enrolled in an intensive period of learning and development. In the subsequent school year, students will work as a team to develop a STEM-based solution to a problem they have recognized, and 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:

  • $1,000 stipend
  • 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. This program is designed for students who are new to entrepreneurship, so students will explain in more depth their problem solving process and why they are interested. Top applicants will be brought in for an interview with program administrators and advisors.

Applications will close September 16, 2023.

Requirements and Eligibility 

  • Identify as a woman-aligned person
  • Be an undergraduate student at CWRU
  • Be an individual or a team with an interest entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Commit to completing the PRISE curriculum and assigned tasks, such as attending workshops, monthly meetings with your coach and mentor, etc. (around ten hours a month)
  • Commit to completing the aligned evaluation, such as surveys or impact interviews

Time Commitment

Students will need to commit around ten hours a month to PRISE. This time includes individual work time, team meetings, and cohort workshops. 

Apply to be part of PRISE