Our Programs


The Garage operates 10 impactful programs focused on startup incubation, student development, and offering funding opportunities. All programs at The Garage are designed to allow students to explore entrepreneurship and gain a community.

Programs at The Garage at open to all full-time, degree seeking Northwestern students (undergraduate, graduate, or PhD) from any school, with the exception of the Little Joe Ventures Fellowship.

GETTING STARTED + INCUBATION PROGRAMS

A space to turn ideas into reality through a supportive community and incubation programs.

Tinker

The Tinker program is an entry-level, self-paced annual program for students who want to explore entrepreneurship.

  • Access to The Garage, M-F, 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Slack access + email newsletters
  • Step-by-step educational emails
  • Tinker-only events + Startup Matchmaking

Residency

The Residency program is a quarterly startup incubation program with exclusive perks and work spaces.

  • 24/7 access to The Garage
  • Dedicated desk + mentor
  • Weekly Family Dinners
  • Garage hoodie

Jumpstart

Jumpstart accelerates student startups by giving them resources and coaching over the summer.

  • $10K in funding (+ prize money)
  • 10-week programming + pitch coaching
  • Dedicated desk + mentor
  • 24/7 access to The Garage

COHORT PROGRAMS

Unparalleled opportunities to grow and develop as founders, leaders, and innovators.

Propel

Propel is a quarterly program for women students with an entrepreneurial project.

  • $1,000
  • Dedicated mentor
  • Weekly check-ins for feedback and guidance
  • Identity based program with all women speakers and mentors

Activate

Activate is a quarterly program for Black students with an entrepreneurial project.

  • $1,000
  • Dedicated mentor
  • Weekly check-ins for feedback and guidance
  • Identity based program with all Black speakers and mentors

X-Factor

X-Factor helps Northwestern student founders develop heightened self-awareness so they can become better leaders.

  • Hogan Assessment + debrief
  • Access to The Garage, M-F, 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Leadership programming
  • Individualized assessments

Little Joe Ventures Fellowship

This highly competitive program offers financial awards, mentors, and transformational experiences.

  • $5,000
  • 24/7 access to The Garage
  • Trip to LA + spring break trip
  • Hands-on mentoring and guidance

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

Funding, support, and experiences for startups ready for growth.

The Opportunity Fund

SES-eligible current Residents or Tinkerers who identify can apply for up to $1,000.

  • Up to $1,000
  • Access to The Garage, M-F, 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Peer mentorship

VentureCat

VentureCat is Northwestern’s annual student startup competition.

  • 4-week pitch prep program
  • $300,000 in prize money
  • 5 industry tracks

NUseeds

The Northwestern investment fund supports the launch of NU ventures.

  • Investments up to $100,000
  • 1-3 companies per year
  • Vetted by an external committee