The Garage 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 every Northwestern student – undergraduate, graduate, or PhD – and from any school. We welcome a range of projects and ideas from hardware to software, for profit and nonprofit, arts, music, and more.

The Residency Program

For the truly committed 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. Ideas can be for profit or nonprofit, hardware or software, commercial products or artistic endeavors—anything that requires bringing a new idea to fruition. Resident teams are selected on a quarterly basis. To qualify for Residency, the team lead must have spent at least one quarter working on the current venture in The Tinker Program or The Residency Program. Also, any team with new leaders must spend at least a quarter in the Tinker Program.

Application dates for 2019/2020 are as follows: 

Fall: Applications open on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 9:00 AM CST. Applications will close on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 11:59 CST. 

Winter: Applications open on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM CST. Applications will close on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 11:59 CST.

Spring: Applications open on Monday, February 24, 2020 at 9:00 AM CST. Applications will close on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 11:59 CST. 

Image of Jacob Morgan working

24/7 Access

Residents get 24/7 access to The Garage, including The Makerspace, a dedicated desk, and reservable meeting rooms.


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

Family Dinner

Residents get an exclusive invite to our weekly Family Dinner, where we hear from a startup superstar and get to know each other.

The Tinker Program

A valuable part of The Garage’s core community, The Tinker Program offers access to resources for students working on their innovation projects. 

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. Students will maintain Tinker status for the remainder of the academic year. Students who wish to stay in The Tinker Program must reapply each year. 

Applications for the 2019/2020 academic year open on September 16, 2019 and close on June 6, 2020.

Tinkerers get access to The Garage during staffed hours and are encouraged to work from The Cafe or an empty classroom. Tinkerers will get invitation to at least two Family Dinners per quarter, an invitation to The Garage’s quarterly Startup Matchmaking event, and priority for Office Hours and events hosted at The Garage. Tinkerers do not get a dedicated desk. 

The Wildfire Summer Pre-Accelerator Program

The Garage’s summer pre-accelerator program, Wildfire, aims to develop student founders by introducing new ways of thinking and problem solving. 

10 teams. 10 weeks. $10k.

Wildfire 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. Wildfire 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.

Fellowship Programs

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Little Joe Ventures Fellowship

Made possible by a gift from alumnus Tony Owen ’97, ’03 MBA and Monique Owen, the fellowship 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.

The Propel Program

Launched in 2018, Propel provides networking, mentorship, and immersive learning experiences that promote diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Full-time, female students can apply for the program, which is made possible by Katherine and Steve Elms, MBA ’92, and Heather and Andrew Zuckerman, Weinberg ’91.

Questions about programs at The Garage? Please contact us at