Funding & Scholarships

Funding & Scholarships

The Polsky Center provides capital to student, faculty, staff and alumni-led startup companies through capstone programs such as the Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge, the George Shultz Innovation Fund, and the Polsky Accelerator. In addition, the Polsky Center offers paid fellowships and scholarship awards for students interested in entrepreneurship and private equity who have demonstrated leadership both inside and outside of the classroom.

Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge

Offered to: Startups Led by Students and Alumni at the University of Chicago
Launched in 1996, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) is recognized as one of the top-ranked accelerator programs in the nation. Through the NVC, the Polsky Center has graduated more than 330 startup companies and created thousands of jobs for the economy. NVC startups have raised more than $1 billion in funding and achieved more than $7.5 billion in mergers and exits. Companies that have been successfully launched through the NVC include household names such as Grubhub, Braintree/Venmo, and Simple Mills. The Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize, in addition to other specialized prizes and awards, are announced at the Polsky Innovation Showcase immediately following the finals. There are five tracks of the New Venture Challenge and startup teams for more than $1 million of investment each year. Learn more here.

George Shultz Innovation Fund

Offered to: IP-Based Startups and Inventions at the University of Chicago
The George Shultz Innovation Fund is a multi-million dollar fund that invests in promising startups from an ecosystem that includes the University of ChicagoArgonne National LaboratoryFermilab, and the Marine Biological Laboratory. The Innovation Fund is a venture-philanthropy fund, supported by alumni donations. One hundred percent of its returns are invested back into the Fund, ensuring that it remains an evergreen, permanent feature of the University of Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The core mission of the Shultz Innovation Fund is to help researchers turn their innovations into ventures that advance cutting-edge technologies, generate significant financial returns, and create lasting impact for humankind. Learn more here.

Polsky Accelerator Program

Offered to: Startups Led by Students and Alumni at the University of Chicago
The Polsky Accelerator, launched in June 2012, gives student and recent alumni companies the opportunity to work intensively and solely on their businesses and social enterprises in a collaborative and dynamic environment over the summer. The Accelerator Program accepts 10-12 teams to participate through a competitive selection process. All applications will be reviewed by committee with consideration given to stage of business, strength of the team and business idea, potential for growth during the summer, and current and past affiliation with the University of Chicago and its entrepreneurship programs. These teams receive funding, dedicated working space at the Polsky Exchange on 53rd Street in Hyde Park, coaching from Polsky Center staff, mentorship from alumni entrepreneurs and Chicago-area investors, and weekly programming designed to help them overcome many of the hurdles to launching a business. By talking with consumers, investors, and mentors, building prototypes, and continually refining their business models, these start-ups make notable progress over the course of the program and in many cases move from business plan to launch. Learn more here.

Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship Program (PF3)

Offered to: All University of Chicago Students
The Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship (PF3) is a resource available to graduating University of Chicago students who are committed to growing a company after graduation. The goal of the program is to provide entrepreneurs with funding to sustain momentum on ventures. Learn more here.

C200 Reachout Scholar Award

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
In an effort to educate and develop the next generation of highly-successful business leaders, the Polsky Center and C200 have partnered to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, social impact, and the advancement of women. The partnership will span five years and consists of C200 Scholar Awards of $10,000 designed to support and create networking and mentorship opportunities for Booth students. Learn more here.

Canfield Private Equity Fellowship

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
The Canfield Private Equity Fellowship was established in 1998 by Phil Canfield, MBA ’96, managing director at GTCR, to support incoming students pursuing careers in private equity. This fellowship is awarded to students with prior investment banking or private equity experience who plan to pursue a career in private equity. The Canfield Fellowship is granted to students who have demonstrated commitment to a career in private equity, past academic achievement, and a track record of professional accomplishments. The Canfield Fellowship includes a financial award, as well as the opportunity to meet Phil Canfield. NOTE: This fellowship is only open to Chicago Booth students. Recipients will be selected based on information provided in their application to Chicago Booth.  

Herman Family Fellowship

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
The Herman Family Fellowship was established in 1995 by Karen and Michael Herman, MBA '64, to provide incoming female students with an opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial interests. In addition to joining the fellows group, this fellowship provides an opportunity to participate in annual reunions hosted by the Herman family and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. NOTE: This fellowship is only open to Chicago Booth students. Recipients will be selected based on information provided in their application to Chicago Booth.

Hyde Park Angels Venture Capital Award

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
This graduating Full-Time, Evening, or Weekend MBA Program student will be selected based on demonstrated leadership and interest in VC through the courses he or she has taken and his or her participation in VC programming. This may include participation in the VCIC competition; participation in VC internships, potentially through the Elfman Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab; volunteerism with VC conferences and events; and leadership in the student Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital student group. The student must also have met a minimum 3.5 GPA taken in the entrepreneurship sequence. NOTE: This program is only open to Chicago Booth students. Learn more here.

Khosla-Booth Private Equity Fellowship

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
The Khosla-Booth Private Equity Fellowship, sponsored by Victor, MBA '83, and Gail Khosla, provides support annually for up to two female and/or international students in the full-time MBA program with demonstrated interests or backgrounds in the private equity industry. NOTE: This fellowship is only open to Chicago Booth students. Recipients will be selected based on information provided in their application to Chicago Booth.

Madison Dearborn Partners Private Equity Award

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
The Madison Dearborn Partners Private Equity Award is a monetary award granted to a graduating student who has demonstrated leadership and interest in private equity through the courses he or she has taken and his or her participation in private equity programming. Recipients are chosen through a nomination process by entrepreneurship faculty and staff. NOTE: This program is only open to Chicago Booth students.  

Moulder Student Entrepreneur Award

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
The Moulder Student Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by Lonnie Moulder, MBA '97, provides a monetary award to a graduating student who has launched or significantly grown a new venture while at Chicago Booth and benefited from Polsky Center programs and the entrepreneurship curriculum to advance the venture. Recipients are chosen through a nomination process by entrepreneurship faculty and staff. NOTE: This program is only open to Chicago Booth students.

Rattan L. Khosa, ’79, “Against All Odds” Student Entrepreneurship Award

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
This award is open to any Full-Time, Evening, or Weekend MBA Program student who has overcome significant obstacles and demonstrated a spirit of entrepreneurship to launch or significantly grow a new venture.  This student will have benefited greatly from Polsky Center programs and the entrepreneurship curriculum to advance the venture. The venture should have an established revenue stream and sustainable business model and be poised for growth post-graduation. While there is no minimum GPA required, the student must have achieved the entrepreneurship concentration and shown leadership at Booth and in the greater business community. Recipients are chosen through a review process by entrepreneurship faculty and staff in the Spring Quarter.

Vijay and Sita Vashee Promising Entrepreneur Award

Offered to: Chicago Booth Students
The Vashee Promising Entrepreneur Award, generated from the Sita and Vijay Vashee, '77, and Promising Entrepreneur Endowment Fund, provides a monetary award to a graduating student who has demonstrated leadership in entrepreneurship. Recipients are chosen through a nomination process by entrepreneurship faculty and staff. NOTE: This program is only open to Chicago Booth students.

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