Our Programs

The Garage operates programs for students interested in working on their entrepreneurial and passion projects outside the classroom alongside like minded students in our 11,000 square foot space. The Garage programs are open to all full-time degree seeking Northwestern students – undergraduate, graduate, or PhD – from any school. We welcome a range of projects and ideas from hardware to software, for profit and nonprofit, arts, music, and more.

The Tinker Program

The Tinker program is an opportunity for Northwestern students to explore The Garage, and our resources, at their own pace.

The Tinker program is for current Northwestern students who are working on an innovation project. Most Tinkerers are in the ideation phase and are working towards Residency. The Tinker program application is open all year, with students admitted on an ongoing basis.

The Residency Program

For the truly committed student entrepreneurs looking to grow their ideas while giving back to The Garage community.

The Garage Residency Program is an opportunity for student teams, both undergraduate and graduate, to be core members of The Garage’s entrepreneurial community. Resident teams use The Garage as their office and receive special privileges like 24/7 access, a weekly Family Dinner and priority for Office Hours with mentors and staff.


Our community of like-minded students, faculty, staff, and alumni work together and form valuable networks.


Resident teams are assigned a dedicated mentor in their industry, to help them on their entrepreneurial journey.


Students can receive access prototyping equipment, Office Hours with visiting experts, and funding opportunities.

Jumpstart Pre-Accelerator

The Garage’s Pre-Accelerator program, Jumpstart, aims to develop student founders by introducing new ways of thinking and problem solving. 

10 teams. 10 weeks. $10k.

Jumpstart seeks to accelerate student teams by giving them additional resources and coaching over a period of 10 weeks. We aim to help them to reach problem solution fit, and prepare them for the next phase of their ventures whether it’s customer acquisition, growth, fundraising, or applying to accelerators. Jumpstart culminates with Demo Day, where students will present their proposal and gain feedback from established judges. This is a program designed to help early-stage ventures learn, grow, and overcome obstacles preventing the launch of their ventures.

Cohort Programs

Image of residents visiting in San Francisco

Little Joe Ventures Fellowship

Made possible by a gift from alumnus Tony Owen ’97, ’03 MBA and Monique Owen, this program is designed to arm students with the skills they need to be successful in their ventures and in life and to provide a support network of like-minded entrepreneurial thinkers.

Learn more about LJV

The Propel Program

Launched in 2018, the Propel program provides networking, mentorship, and immersive learning experiences that promote diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship across Northwestern. Full-time, female students can apply for the program, which is made possible by generous donors.

Learn more about Propel

The X-Factor Program

The X-Factor program helps student founders become the creators and leaders of tomorrow. It’s focused on assessing and enhancing students’ capacity for transformational leadership which is the specific type of leadership associated with being an innovator and disruptor.

Learn about X-Factor

The Activate Program

Activate is an 8-week immersive learning experience with the goal of making entrepreneurship more inclusive and accessible to Black Northwestern students. Activate welcomes all kinds of projects ranging from education or arts based innovations to technology development.

Learn more about Activate

The Opportunity Fund

The Opportunity Fund is for full-time, undergraduate Northwestern students that identify as lower-income and have been accepted into The Garage’s Tinker or Residency program. Qualifying students can apply for up to $1,000* in funding to cover experimental business expenses that The Garage can purchase on the student’s behalf.

Learn more about The Opportunity Fund