The Propel Program

Launched in 2018, the Propel program provides networking, mentorship, and immersive learning experiences that promote diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Full-time, women students can apply for the program, which is made possible by generous donors. Ideas can be for profit or nonprofit, hardware or software, commercial products, or artistic endeavors—anything that requires bringing a new idea to fruition.

Pictured above, Propellers visit the Goldman Sachs office in New York City on a 2018 field trip.


The Propel program includes:


Up to $1,000 to spend on an entrepreneurial project.


One-on-one mentorship with accomplished professionals.


Invitations to networking events throughout the year.


An annual showcase at which select participants present their projects.

Field Trips

A trip to New York City to meet women business leaders.



40% of US businesses are owned by women. However, less than 10% of venture-backed companies have a woman founder and only 2.8% of venture capital went to all-woman founding teams. The Garage is committed to supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs. In 2018, The Garage launched the Propel program to support women students. In  2020, The Garage launched Activate to promote diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship for Black Northwestern students. 


Thank you to the following generous donors for their commitment to supporting the Propel program and student entrepreneurs at Northwestern: 

  • Steve KSM ’92 and Katherine Elms
  • Whitney de Hosson Marriott WCAS ’86 and Michael Marriott
  • Natalie and Jonathan Silverstein
  • Andrew WCAS ’91 and Heather Zuckerman


Recap: Pathways for Women in Venture Capital

Program Highlight: Propel Huddles

Recap: Natasha Ramanujam ‘15 + Propel

Polina Marinova Pompliano, Founder of The Profile, Shares Her Entrepreneurial Journey with Propel

DNA Testing at Home // Northwestern Magazine

Students Develop At-Home DNA Test with Privacy in Mind

Virtual Propel Showcase 2020

Propel 2020 Kickoff

Propel + NYC 2019

Propel Showcase: The Wrap Up

Green is the New Black: Two Northwestern Students Hope to Clean Up the Fashion Industry

Propel Program Elevates Young Female Entrepreneurs

Lux, a Remedy to the Pains of Waking Up

Big 10 Features Propel

New Program Empowers the Next Generation of Female Entrepreneurs

Steve and Katherine Elms Establish Program Promoting Diversity in Entrepreneurship


(open to full-time, degree seeking Northwestern students only)
Fall 2021: Applications will open in September 2021

To learn more, schedule Office Hours with Propel Program manager, Lilia Kogan here.