Hello! We’re glad you are interested in applying for the Spark or Fuel accelerator program. Before submitting an application, we highly encourage you to read our frequently asked questions. If you’re interested in applying to the Social Innovation Lab, please visit the SIL page for more information.
What is the level of commitment for an accelerator program?
Spark: Students should plan to spend an estimated average 10 hours per week on Spark related activities. This includes the following: attending one-hour Mastermind Sessions, biweekly office hours, reading course curriculum and completing assigned worksheets.
Fuel: Participants should expect to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week for Fuel. This includes one two-hour evening session, and a lunch-time session for 90 minutes. Teams will also be expected to meet with their assigned strategic advisors at least every other week while workshopping their pitch and other venture materials.
I’m new to this and only have an idea. Am I qualified to apply?
Yes! We accept students as early as just an idea on a napkin to a functioning early product or service.
My idea is advanced and/or I’ve already raised significant money. Can you still help me?
Yes! We’re here to build community and connect you to our campus and alumni network. We encourage you to consider Fuel or the Social Innovation Lab for your endeavor.
Are the accelerators in-person or virtual?
Spark: While all sessions are virtual, there will be in-person opportunities. All Spark participants living in Baltimore are expected to attend the in-person Fuel Showcase
Fuel: The fall Fuel cohort is in-person. Venture leads must be in Baltimore to participate. To accommodate students who are not living in Baltimore, the spring semester cohort will run virtually, with an in-person showcase in May 2024.
How will I be supported throughout this program?
- FastForward U’s Student-Program Manager and Strategic Advisors will be hands-on throughout the course.
- Towards the midpoint of Spark, participating students will be introduced to one of FFU industry mentors to support needs specific to your venture’s growth.
- Fuel teams meet with a minimum of three outside industry mentors over the course of the program.
Do I need a team to participate in the program?
No, we accept solo entrepreneurs. While the program is in-session, we provide several opportunities for participants to connect with potential collaborators – like the Mix & Match Night.
What does the application process entail?
- First, for both the Spark and Fuel accelerators, you need to complete an application.
- Teams applying for Spark will be notified of acceptance decisions based solely on the strength/relevance of the application.
- Teams applying for Fuel will be invited to interview with the FastForward U team, if the application is a good fit for the accelerator.
- Ventures that are not invited to interview will receive information on other opportunities that are more suitable for in our effort to support all student teams. Teams who interview will receive next steps after their interviews.
If I am not accepted to Fuel, can I apply/participate in Spark?
Yes, throughout the last few application cycles, several teams have been accepted to the Spark program and have found the program to be a very productive step in their entrepreneurial journey.
How competitive are the accelerators?
- Fuel accepts up to 10 teams per semester. It is competitive; historically, less than 25% of applicants are selected.
- Spark accepts approximately 30 teams a semester and is competitive, but not as selective as Fuel.
If I am not accepted to participate this fall, can I re-apply in the future?
Yes, in fact, this is encouraged! We want to support all student teams, and we work with many teams each year to help them prepare for future selection cycles.
I am a student at Johns Hopkins, but my co-founder is not. Am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, if one co-founder, with a significant equity stake, is a current student, your venture is eligible to participate in FastForward U programming.
I already graduated, can I still apply for Spark or Fuel?
Spark and Fuel are for current students. However, if your team is composed of both alumni and current students, you are eligible. We do offer several funding and ad-hoc programs that are open to alumni, and this is an area where we are continuing to expand offerings, so stay tuned!
I have two ventures that I am working on. Can I apply with both?
We recommend that you apply for the venture that you plan to devote more time and energy to. Additionally, you can only receive the stipend for one venture. You are welcome to use and apply the knowledge gained from the accelerator to additional ventures.
Where do I go if I have additional questions?
Contact FastForward U at [email protected] and we will be happy to help you.