Student Entrepreneurship Fund

Apply to the Student Entrepreneurship Fund

Apply to the Student Entrepreneurship Fund

The SEF Opens August 1. Apply for up to $1000 for your project.


Are you an undergraduate or graduate student looking for financial support in manufacturing or developing costs, scaling your market, building a website, or funding access to other resources needed to move your new innovations forward? Consider applying to the Student Entrepreneurship Fund (SEF) with CWRU Entrepreneurship.

This application is open to undergraduate and graduate students from Case Western Reserve University. The SEF supports the following:

  • Individual and team-based extracurricular and personal ventures
  • Businesses (including non-profits) earning or with projected revenue
  • Entrepreneurial projects

Course-related ventures or projects are eligible if the intent is to further or launch the idea into a business, OR it has already been launched as a business.

To be considered for funding from the SEF, the applicant(s) must be full-time CWRU undergraduate students (at least 12 credit hours) or full-time CWRU graduate students (at least 9 credit hours or one credit hour of thesis).

Previous awardees of the Student Entrepreneurship Fund and Student Project Fund, through Sears think[box], are encouraged to apply.

It is preferred that you are operating a business with revenue growth (generating sales from a product or service), but not required.

The application will close either at 5:00 PM on September 15, 2023 or when the fund runs out.

Applications are reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. We are unable to provide advance notice of the fund’s depletion, so we recommend submitting applications promptly.

To receive an award, the scope of the proposed business model must be able to report realistic and achievable deliverables before the reporting deadlines detailed on this page.

The maximum amount of funding available per project is $1,000 to cover costs such as:

  • manufacturing or developing costs,

  • market scaling initiatives,

  • expanding or updating product/services,

  • market research,

  • concept testing/development

  • initiating sales cost,

  • web design or redesign,

  • professional legal services,

  • and other related expenses.

Funds may be used to pay for external support in these areas that cannot be performed at think[box].

Please note that funding will NOT be awarded to support any of the following:

  • food, drinks, or entertainment,

  • stipends or salaries,

  • conferences, seminars, and competitions

  • expenses that do not appear on an approved budget.

Applications to the Student Entrepreneurship Fund are reviewed and approved by a committe of staff members from CWRU Entrepreneurship and Sears think[box], as are interim and final reports for approved projects. The committee also determines the amounts awarded. Members of the review committee are:

  • Tiffany McNamara, Sr. Director of Sears think[box]

  • Bob Sopko, Director of CWRU Entrepreneurship

  • Brittain Elswick, Program Manager for CWRU Entrepreneurship

  • Jimmy Salgado-Juarez, Program Manager for Sears think[box]

  • Mindy Baierl, Sr. Director of CWRU Entrepreneurship

The review committee for the Student Entrepreneurship Fund considers all proposals and notifies applicants by email as to the status of their application(s). Proposals are considered based on the following criteria:

  • SMART Goals: Have you or your team selected goals for your venture that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound)?

  • Feasibility: Can you or your team realistically reach the goals you set out given your existing skill set(s)?

  • Monetary Feasibility: Is the requested funding appropriate for your venture goals?

  • While not mandatory, during this round of funding, there is an increased emphasis on revenue generation. We are looking for businesses who have generated revenue or will generate first sales within the project timeframe (2023-2024 academic year). Preference will be given to those who demonstrate revenue growth.

Receiving a financial award from the Student Entrepreneurship Fund at CWRU Entrepreneurship provides a valuable learning and life-skills opportunity to develop and experience a number of critical professional practices. These include venture planning and management, budget ownership and management, fiscal responsibility and professional reporting.

If you are awarded funds, you are fully responsible for their use and management. You are expected to keep accurate financial records and a summary of transactions, and must scan receipts to include in your project’s final report. Please be aware that monetary awards of $600 or more are taxable and, if you receive an award higher than this amount, you will be issued a Form 1099 at the end of the calendar year. Please consult a tax professional if you have questions.

If you've received financial support from the fund, you are required to attend 3 meetings (a minimum combination of group programming and one-on-one advising) AND must submit a final report by the date enumerated in the Student Entrepreneurship Fund Agreement.

  • In place of an interim report, students are required to attend a minimum of 3 CWRU Entrepreneurship programs and/or advising opportunities.

    • [Dates TBD] Fall or Spring Skills Lab Series

      • Skills Lab Series are a recurring offerings in fall and spring semesters to provide students with hands on experience in building "Value Proposition", "Market Analysis", and "Financial" skills.

    • [Dates TBD] Fall or Spring Skills Lab One-Off

      • Skills Lab One-Off's are single workshops to provide hands on experience in select topics ranging from Ideation sessions to Legal Support to SWOT analysis and more!

    • [Dates TBD] Pitch Events hosted by partner organizations

    • Student Advising Sessions with CWRU Entrepreneurship staff


Additionally, students awarded funding are required to create 2 posts on LinkedIn regarding their progress/business updates. (Required to tag both: CWRU LaunchNET, CWRU Entrepreneurship and Burton D. Morgan Foundation).

  • You must submit a final report by May 1, 2024. The final report must include:

    • A description of the completed project cycle with successes and failures (no need to be ashamed here!)

    • Photos, drawings, and/or renderings of accomplishments

    • Results from any competition(s) or presentations

    • A completed Expense Report, following the Expense Report Instructions, of venture purchases to date - See Quick Links

    • Scans of all receipts indicated on the spreadsheet

If you are selected to receive support from the Student Entrepreneurship Fund, you will be required to sign an agreement indicating acceptance of the terms outlined for the SEF before you receive the award.

At that point, you will receive payment of 100% of the total award value, with the understanding that you are required to complete the requirements of funding in addition to the final report. When the final report is due, you will be contacted to arrange the return of unspent or undocumented funds to CWRU Entrepreneurship.

To advance our commitment to equity and inclusion within innovation and entrepreneurship, we are prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our grant process. We are committing at least 50% of these funds to broaden the participation of traditionally underrepresented, underestimated, and emerging groups such as women, Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and Indigenous people from all backgrounds.

Please contact with any questions regarding the Student Entrepreneurship Fund.