JHU Undergraduate Summer Entrepreneurship Award

Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award Application


The Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award supports one Johns Hopkins undergraduate-led startup each year with grant funding of $10,000. The award functions like a paid internship, enabling students to use their summer break from coursework to build a successful company.

The selected startup also receives mentorship from distinguished Johns Hopkins alumni and support from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, which may include access to office space, mentors and additional business services.

Attend an info session: February 12, 2019; February 13, 2019

Questions? Contact Kevin Carter (kevin.carter@jhu.edu).


About the award

The Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award was initiated through the gracious support of an anonymous donor. This donor aims to provide undergraduates with opportunities to grow their startups over the summer, something unavailable while he attended Johns Hopkins.

In addition to funding, the donor provides one-on-one mentorship to the winning company.

Application Process

For consideration for the Summer Award, teams must complete an application in which they outline their business idea, progress in customer discovery, the uniqueness of their solution and more.

Applicants are rated on three criteria: traction and accomplishment, team members’ skills and abilities, and what they could achieve with the award.

Award Benefits:

  • $10,000 to cover living expenses and to help grow the venture
  • Mentorship
  • Access to dedicated workspace


Criteria & Selection:

To be considered, applications must be submitted by undergraduate students (including graduating seniors) by Monday, February 19th at 12:00 PM. While this application is open to all undergraduate-led ventures, the selection committee will judge submissions and choose finalists and the winner based on the following criteria:

  • Team: Does the team of students leading the venture have the right mix of skills and ability needed for success?
  • Traction: Has the team demonstrated traction and validated their business model?
  • Timeline: How feasible is it for the team to accomplish their stated objectives over the summer?
  • Goals: Will receiving the award significantly help the team reach its goals?

2019 Award Timeline

Monday, January 28th
Application Opens

Tuesday, February 12th, 6 – 7 PM
FastForward U Homewood (320 W. 29th St., Suite 200) (Q&A Session for Prospective Applicants)

Wednesday, February 13th, 5 – 6 PM
Q&A Session for Prospective Applicants)

Monday, February 18th 11:59 PM
Application Deadline

Monday, February 25th
Pitch Day for Finalists
FastForward U Homewood

March 4th (week of)
Winner announced

Late April/Early May
Meet with FastForward U staff to develop milestones & budget
Access to workspace granted

June – August
Mentor meetings

September 1st
Deadline for winner submission of progress report

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How far along does my venture have to be in order to apply?
A: Applications may be submitted for ventures at any stage, however we are looking for ventures that are far enough along to explain their short/long-term goals and how this award will help advance their objectives.

Q: Is this just for tech startups or can any type of venture apply?
A: The Summer Award is tech agnostic, however your venture must be/plan to be for-profit with strong commercial potential.

Q: If I win, how can I spend the $10,000?
A: Part of this money is designed to help you spend a summer in Baltimore working on your venture. So it should cover your rent, food, and other living expenses. But you’re also expected to strategically use part of this funding to move along your venture. Make sure to specify what you’d use the award for in detail.

Q: If I win, do I have to spend the summer in Baltimore?
A: While it’s not required, it’s heavily encouraged. We will provide dedicated office space and other resources which are better used in-person. If you don’t plan on spending the summer in Baltimore, please explain why living in a different city will help you make more progress on your venture.

Q: I’m a current Hopkins undergrad but I co-founded a venture with friends/partners who are not in school, attend a different university, or are graduate students – can I still apply?
A: Yes, the application must be submitted by an undergraduate who is the founder or a member of the founding team.

Q: Does Hopkins take any equity/IP rights to my venture through the Summer Award?
A: No

Q: How many winners will be selected?
A: One

Q: I’ve already received competitive funding from FastForward U/JHTV through the Social Innovation Lab or O’Connor Fund; am I still eligible to apply for the Summer Award?
A: Yes

Q: I just graduated as an undergrad last year; are recent alumni eligible?
A: The Summer Award is only open for ventures that have a current Hopkins undergraduate as a member of the founding team. So if your team consists solely of graduating seniors, you are still eligible to apply now.

Q: After the February 18th application deadline, when will the next opportunity to apply for the Summer Award?
A: Spring 2020

Q: I’m thinking of applying; is there someone I can get in touch with to see if this is a good fit for my venture?
A: Please attend an Info Session (Tuesday, February 12th or Wednesday, February 13th) in order to hear more about the Summer Award and ask any remaining questions you may have. If you cannot make the info session, please email Kevin Carter, FastForward U’s Student Venture Coordinator (kevin.carter@jhu.edu).

Past teams



MoTrack Therapy

Though MoTrack Therapy is developing a solution that modernizes the long stagnant physical therapy industry through machine learning, gamification and computer vision, the close of the 2017 spring semester threatened to send the five Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering majors who co-founded the company hundreds of miles apart.

Fortunately, MoTrack received the Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award. The award, first offered in 2016 through the generosity of anonymous donors, supports one undergraduate startup each year with $10,000 along with space and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders in order to work on their startup over the summer months.

“Johns Hopkins has a lot of talent—especially in the life sciences and health arena—and programs like the Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award help fill the gap between excellent research in the lab and products that actually make it to market. It gives undergraduates the opportunity to think big and stay committed to their own ideas full-time over the summer.” Rahul Yerrabelli




When Param Shah and Alex Mathews applied for the Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award, Fusiform was a company that the pair ran while balancing school and their roles as co-founders. Winning the award allowed Shah, then a sophomore computer science major, and Mathews, then a senior biomedical engineering major, to focus full-time on Fusiform for three months.

That summer, they honed Fusiform’s technology, developed short- and long-term goals, had weekly check-ins with JHTV mentors and provided monthly updates to the donor. During the program, Fusiform closed contracts with its first customers, began raising their seed round and brought on their first full-time hires.

“Receiving the mentorship of world-class entrepreneurs and advisors at an early stage brought significant confidence to us as founders and to our team. Additionally, funding from the Summer Award gave us the ability to tangibly grow our company.” Param Shah


Want to learn more? Contact Kevin Carter(kevin.carter@jhu.edu).

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