by Elizabeth Savin ’25
The Garage’s pre-accelerator program, Jumpstart, is currently in full swing. Ten teams participate in a variety of workshops, connect with mentors, and support each other as they build their startups. Running for 10 weeks, Jumpstart awards each team with $10,000 of non-dilutive funds. At the end of the program, The Garage hosts Demo Day, an event where teams compete for an additional prize pool of $10,000.
Recently, The Garage sat down with Founder and CEO of Squair One, Zoe Lewis. This summer Zoe is working to grow Squair One, a company dedicated to increasing equity in higher education for lower-income students.
“The college application process is confusing and there is no easy explanation for lower-income students,” shared Zoe. She “spent hours online trying to figure it out,” but after hitting submit, she “didn’t need the information anymore. We want to make the application process less painstaking for other lower-income and first-generation students.”
In order to share her knowledge, Zoe created Squair One. Squair One begins working with students in 7th grade, assisting them with passion building. “Covid-19 changed the scope of the application process. Colleges are no longer looking at test scores, everything centers around personality-based essays and activities. If students don’t start building their passions early, they start the application process behind.” In 9th through 12th grade, Squair One pairs students with a personal mentor and essay editor to help prepare them for the college application process. “The goal is to eliminate some of the barriers that keep lower-income students from hitting submit on applications to elite universities.”
During their time in Jumpstart, the team is working to create a curriculum for students and mentors, foster connections with local schools, and be ready to launch a pilot in the upcoming school year. The team’s curriculum includes instruction and activities for mentees and mentors, with mentees being future applicants and mentors being lower-income students at elite universities.
Elizabeth Savin ’25 is a Manufacturing and Design Engineering major from Wilmette, IL. She is a student aide at The Garage and was part of the Winter 2022 Propel cohort. She is excited to begin her own venture while learning more about entrepreneurship.