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How to start a startup at Brown

Student Groups

Brown Entrepreneurial Program (EP) -

Student-run entrepreneurial initiative on campus. Runs a Student Startup of the Month competition - apply here (https://brownep.typeform.com/to/ka75vI).

Innovation Dojo -

Workshop series that introduces underclassmen to entrepreneurship resources.

Brown Data Science -

The Brown Data Science undergraduate club creates and supports opportunities related to Data Science for the undergraduate community. Hosts workshops and the annual Datathon.

Brown Women in Business -

Student-run pre-business professional group on campus.

Fintech at Brown

Developing a Brown-based educational fintech community.

Humanity-Centered Robotics Initiative -

Dedicated to the advancement of robotics as a means to benefit human society economically and socially.


STEAM is a student-led effort to ignite communications between disparate fields in academia, business, and thought.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Brown -

Non-profit organization aimed at supporting and empowering female engineers while making the field of engineering more desirable to women.

Design@Brown (D@B) -

If you're interested in design education, D@B is a student group aimed at connecting both students and faculty to the design resources and opportunities that exist at Brown through office hours, workshops, and events.

Women in Computer Science (WiCS) -

Provides female undergraduate computer science students with social, mentoring, and outreach programs.


RISD entrepreneurship club that runs the UpStart accelerator supporting students through funding, programming, and mentorship

Accelerators and Incubators


Providence-based accelerator (http://www.betaspring.com/) that invests in B2B and B2C companies that are moving fast up a revenue-fueled growth curve. Companies receive $100K-250K in non-dilutive cash, a science-driven process to accelerate growth, and the human resources to get it done.

Breakthrough Lab (B-Lab) -

Brown's 8-week accelerator program for high-impact ventures. Students receive a stipend, entrepreneurial programming and workspace from June - July.

MassChallenge Rhode Island

Up to $100,000 in cash prizes. Four months of free office space in the heart of the Innovation and Design district at the CIC Providence.

Venture Mentoring Service of RI -

Modeled off the MIT Venture Mentoring Service program - mentors work with RI entrepreneurs at any stage.

Venture Cafe Providence -

Supporting innovation in the community through public programs and spaces. Holds weekly venture cafe events on Thursdays.

Hackathons and Competitions


Brown's largest hackathon - takes place in late January each year (register by mid-January) and open to all experience levels (undergraduates and graduate students).

Brown Hack Health

Hackathon focused on health and medical technology, takes place in mid-September.

Brown Datathon

Brown's hackathon focused on data science and ML solutions. There's a learner track for a workshop based experience as well as a competitor track to hack and compete for top prizes.

RI Business Plan Competition

Locally sponsored RI business plan competition for early stage companies.

University Resources

Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship

Nexus for entrepreneurial education - provides a working space and home for entrepreneurial resources on campus.

Founder Friday

Nelson Center's series of talks featuring prominent Brown alumni founders.

Startup Forum

Entrepreneurship discussion forum.

Women's Empowerment Conference (We@Brown)

Conference featuring leading women in entrepreneurship and tech roles.

Synapse -

Paid visit to NYC, SF, or LA to visit startups and alumni founders for 20 Brown or RISD student designers/engineers.

Brown Peer Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (PEIRS)

Founders providing mentorship to students working on a new venture.

EIR Program

Alumni providing mentorship to students working on a new venture.

Social Innovation Fellowship -

2-year program (open to first and second year undergraduates) that provides 15-20 students with up to $4,000 to grow a social venture over the summer, supported by a year of skills training, coursework, and a community of social entrepreneurs on campus offering mentorship.

Hazeltine Grants

Hazeltine Grants are designed to encourage more engineering students to design and build technology related projects and to support students already doing such projects. Successful applicants will receive between $1000 and $1500 to help them pay for project expenses.

Notable Courses


Master's program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship.

ENGN 1010: The Entrepreneurial Process: Innovation in Practice

IAPA 1803E: Social Entrepreneurship

ENGN 0110: Lean Launchpad

CSCI 1900: csciStartup

Must apply with a team.



University-focused venture fund investing up to $2M in emerging startups launching from the university scene around the US.


General Catalyst's pre-seed investing branch - student team building a large network of student founders.

Dorm Room Fund

First Round Capital's pre-seed investing branch - providing up to $20k to student startups.

Brown Explore Grants

(up to $250) - Explore grants are designed to fund a team's early discovery work -- so that they can better find and validate an unmet need. Meet with Nelson Center to help strategize. Ventures at any stage are welcome.

Brown Expand Grants

(up to $2500) - To help teams that are ready to start developing, building an MVP and testing.

Brown Venture Launch Fund

If you have a strong idea, Venture Launch Fund offers 3 levels of progressively increasing funding using a gated award system. At the first level, funding and support is used to test assumptions or prove hypotheses embedded within venture plans. The second and third stages of funding help bring products and services to market and assist ventures in achieving scale and impact.

Brown Angel Group

Hosts monthly calls where 3 ventures pitch to alumni angel investors.

Waterman Ventures

Brown University fund of AVG - LPs are all Brown alumni.

Van Wickle Ventures

Student-run venture fund that invests across all stages in Brown and RISD-affiliated companies.

Brown Venture Prize

Enables ventures to accelerate and scale their solutions with funding and mentorship.

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