The Garage’s Pre-Accelerator program, Jumpstart (formerly known as Wildfire), aims to develop students as both leaders and founders by introducing new ways of thinking and problem solving.
The Jumpstart Pre-Accelerator program (formerly known as Wildfire) at The Garage seeks to accelerate early-stage 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.
Like all programs at The Garage, Jumpstart welcomes all ideas: for-profit, nonprofit, arts-based, technology, or anything that students wish to see come to life through innovation and hard work.
Jumpstart is comprised of three vital pillars: development of the entrepreneurial toolkit, learning to sell yourself and your idea via pitch practice, and gaining an entrepreneurial mindset. Through thoughtful content workshops, team building activities, and one-on-one guidance, students learn the ABC’s of entrepreneurship, master the art of storytelling, and develop important soft skills like resiliency and the ability to have difficult conversations. Student teams are also offered a stipend to sustain their ventures through the summer.
After Jumpstart wraps, student teams pitch their ventures at Demo Day, where a prize pool of $10,000 is up for grabs.
2022 Student Teams
BearRoom – We elevate the traditional tabletop experience by creating a space for people to play their favorite board games by transforming their phone into a controller and a tablet, laptop, or TV into the board.
JupiterDX – Building a platform for patients with chronic illnesses to share data with loved ones, care providers, and researchers.
The Late Knight – Delicious, cheap, late-night food delivery service for college towns – starting with Northwestern!
Overture Games – Developing video games for music students that they play with their instrument.
Renota – Building software to help math students receive more high-quality feedback on their work while saving teachers time in the process.
Squair One – Increasing equity in higher education through one on one mentoring sessions by and for lower income students.
SteadyScrib – Designing a pen to increase ability and independence for people with Parkinson’s Disease, specifically counteracting the most writing-inhibitive Parkinson’s symptoms.
Wudv – Second-hand fashion marketplace of blank price tags.
Yitzy – Platform that helps young adults connect better through social journaling.
In order to apply, a team must include at least two members. The lead team member must be a full-time student (undergraduate or graduate, at any Northwestern school) during the duration of the program. Priority is given to students that will still be enrolled in the following academic year. Teams can include members from other universities as long as all participating team members commit to the 10 weeks of the program.
At least two members of the team, with at least one of those members being a co-founder, are expected be dedicated to participate in Jumpstart on a full time basis during the summer. Participants are expected to participate in lieu of other employment, an internship, travel, etc. and dedicate 40 hours per week, per team member, to the program.