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Startup Innovation Fund

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Startup Innovation Fund

Startup Innovation Fund provides University of Oklahoma students non-equity grants ranging from $500-$5,000 to test new or early-stage startup ideas. This guided 10-week program tests the feasibility and marketability of an idea, product or service. 

Importantly, the Innovation Fund reduces the costs of failure and offers students from all disciplines and academic backgrounds the opportunity to pursue an entrepreneurial concept. While all students are eligibile to apply to the Innovation Fund during spring funding season, applicants are strongly encouraged to have participated in Start-Hub before seeking exploratory funding.

Information for Grantees and Prospective Applicants

All Startup Innovation Fund grantees are provided:

  • Up to $5,000 for market testing or prototyping expenses.
  • Access to exclusive 24-7 workspaces and to our multimedia production lab, Hub Studios.
  • Fabrication Lab technical support and access to equipment.
  • Mentorship from OU Startup Programs staff and partnering specialists. 

Grantees must regularly attend all mandatory meetings, complete trainig courses, obtain necessary certification for Fabrication Lab equipment use and support the program through internal and external engagement.

Step 1: Application

Tell us who you are and answer three questions:

  1. "What's your idea?"
  2. "How did you come up with it?" 
  3. "Who is helping you make it a reality?"

Step 2: Interview with OU Startup Programs Lead & Admissions Panel

Select applicants will be invited to interview with our OU Startup Programs Lead and a panel of internal and external advisors to explain how the applicants plans to test their idea.

Step 3: Participant Selection

The timeline from application to selection is relatively short to ensure participants have as much time as possible to complete their customer discovery plans. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by email. 

Step 4: Required Training

Teams participate in two instruction periods and use a self-paced Canvas course titled Innovation Track. The seminars and the course are designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs develop a testing plan to: 

  1. Define the need their product or service fulfills, or the problem it solves;
  2. Precisely define who their customers are; and
  3. Create a testing or prototyping plan.

Step 5: Grant Proposal

After completing the Innovation Track courses, participants submit a proposal explaining how they plan to use a Startup Innovation Fund grant to test their ideas. 

Step 6: Testing

Participants start with 10 weeks to carry out the tests they designed for the Startup Innovation Fund grants provided in their proposals. OU Startup Programs staff provide one-on-one mentorship and support throughout the testing period. Participants may also request additional support from our Fabrication Lab and partnering specialists.

Apply to Startup Innovation Fund

We are not seeking applicants to Startup Innovation Fund at this time.

If you are interested in learning more about Startup Innvoation Fund for later enrollment or any of our other student programs, we encourage you to contact our OU Startup Programs Lead with any questions. 

How Startup Innovation Fund Can Help You