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How to start a startup at Illinois

Student Groups


The UIUC entrepreneurship community focused on supporting the next generation of founders. Hosts events such as ( , and offers micro-grants for students.


A growth and innovation strategy consulting firm. Student consultants create high-impact and entrepreneurial solutions for clients that range from early-stage ventures to innovation-driving groups within companies.

Accelerators and Incubators

iVenture Accelerator

Enables student-led startups to create economic and social value by supporting student entrepreneurs with knowledge, funding, and access to University of Illinois resources and alumni.

Illinois Deep Tech Accelerator

This accelerator doubles as a course - TE 498. Open to all students, the accelerator will mentor teams in the process of deep tech commercialization. Projects will typically originate from university or government-funded research but can come from viable deep tech anywhere within the academic ecosystem.

Hackathons and Competitions


Illinois' premier open source collegiate hackathon.

Cozad New Venture Challenge

A campus-wide competition that provides mentoring through the phases of venture creation. Requires workshops on idea validation, pitching skills, and customer development. Compete for over $250K of funding.

University Resources

Innovation LLC

Incoming freshmen can apply to live in this University Housing community that introduces students to the campus innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Residents will have access to The Garage - an innovation workspace.

Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC)

The entrepreneurship hub on campus - look here for the most updated courses, competitions, and event offerings. Also hosts entrepreneurship advising hours.

Grainger IDEA Lab

An innovation and design space on campus that includes innovator design rooms, presentation space, and a 3D printing lab.

The Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop

Each year, the Technology Entrepreneur Center and The Grainger College of Engineering send a select group of students to Silicon Valley during winter break for a week-long technology entrepreneurship workshop that includes visits to startups and leading technology companies. Apply by the end of September.

SocialFuse -

A pitching and networking event where up to 20 teams are invited to pitch their ideas to UofI and UChicago students. A great place to go to look for new team members.

Illinois I-Corps

Receive mentoring and up to $2k of seed funding to cover travel and prototyping costs. The program lasts 6 weeks and takes 4 cohorts a year (2 per semester).

Intellectual Property Clinic -

To help with getting a patent - includes a Patent Track and a Trademark Track.

Notable Courses

TE 230

Design Thinking/Need-Finding.

TE 250

From Idea to Enterprise.

TE 333

Creativity, Innovation, Vision.

TE 398 F

From Bootstraps to Venture Capital: Funding Your Startup.

TE 398 IED

Innovation & Engineering Design.

TE 450

Startup Law: Incorporation, Funding, Contracts, & Intellectual Property.

TE 461

Technology Entrepreneurship.

TE 466

High-Tech Venture Marketing.

CS 498rk

Art and Science of Web Programming.



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

Illinois Ventures

Invests in seed-stage opportunities developed at the University of Illinois System.

Illinois Innovation Prize

The Illinois Innovation Prize (IIP) for $20,000 is awarded annually to a creative and passionate student working towards innovative solutions that could have a positive societal impact.

Dr. Paul Magelli Innovation Prize

A $10,000 investment in a company launched by participants in the Cozad New Venture Challenge each year.

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