Polsky Accelerators

Polsky Accelerators

Application & Eligibility

The 2021 Polsky Accelerator applications are now open. For more information, please contact Lucas Peralta at Lucas.Peralta@ChicagoBooth.edu.

This year, there will be two programs available to student ventures. These two summer accelerators are differentiated by the stage of your venture.

// The BUILD ACCELERATOR will allow students to spend their summer building the key elements of their venture, and validating assumptions around their market or customers.

// The LAUNCH ACCELERATOR will allow students to spend their summer fundraising for their venture, selling, and gaining/maintaining momentum.

The following people/teams are eligible to apply to either program:

  • Full and part-time students of the University of Chicago
  • UChicago Alumni within 5 years of graduation
  • For-profit or non-profit ventures

Applications are due on March 31, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.


Apply for the BUILD Accelerator now.

View BUILD Application

Focus area:

  • Customer and market validation
  • The creation or advancement of a pilot or minimal viable product
  • Early stage venture creation education

Key resources include:

  • $6,500 non-dilutive grant
  • Weekly workshops focused on product development and market validation
  • Weekly coaching from Polsky Center staff
  • In-kind services including AWS credits, incorporation assistance, etc.

Apply if:

  • You have an idea and want to validate it
  • You are still building your pilot or MVP, or still need to build these
  • You plan to apply to one of the New Venture Challenge tracks the following academic year (optional)
  • You are not yet in the market, or are minimally in the market


Apply for the LAUNCH Accelerator now.

View LAUNCH Application

Focus area:

  • Fundraising strategy
  • Sales and marketing
  • Customer acquisition

Key resources include:

  • $10,000 SAFE investment in the startup
  • Optional educational content
  • Access to dedicated coaches with expertise in fundraising, sales, and marketing
  • Networking with VCs and other Chicago innovation partners
  • In-kind services including AWS credits, incorporation assistance, etc.
  • Assistance building pitch/fundraising decks
  • In-kind legal services

Apply if:

  • You have robust evidence of traction or product market fit
  • Your product/service is ready for seed funding
  • Your product/service is in the market and you are focused on sales or growth
  • You have completed a track of the New Venture Challenge (optional) or other startup accelerator program

The two programs ARE NOT differentiated based on the quality or potential of your business idea. They are meant to serve two different stage of teams.

Applicants are highly encouraged to apply for ONLY the accelerator program that fits the stage of their venture.

If you would like to talk to someone about which track might best fit your goals, do not hesitate to reach out to the Polsky Center.

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