INNOVATION FUND

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Do you have an idea for a new business, product/service, social enterprise, or non-profit organization? Apply to the IIE Innovation Fund for grant funding up to $5,000.

The IIE Innovation Fund was created to support Villanovans who are interested in taking the leap into an entrepreneurial venture but do not have the startup capital to get started. We are not an investment fund in the traditional sense as we are not seeking financial returns; however, we do hope to invest in Villanova’s future innovators and entrepreneurs by providing feedback and funding to help you get hands-on experience running your own venture!

See previous winners here

The IIE Investment Fellows are looking for Villanova ventures that have the potential to make big impact so we encourage you to THINK BIG! We are also looking for innovators that EXECUTE.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~ Thomas Edison
Application Deadline Review Meeting Decisions Sent
9/25/22 10/21/22 10/24/22
10/23/22 11/18/22 11/21/22
11/20/22 12/13/22 12/14/22
2/19/23 3/17/23 3/20/23
3/19/23 4/14/23 4/17/23
4/16/23 5/5/23 5/8/23

 

  • The IIE Innovation Fund is available to ALL Villanova students, staff, faculty or alumni.
  • All applications must be submitted by a founding member of the venture team. The applicant must have a Villanova affiliation.
  • All types of ventures are eligible to apply (non-profit, for-profit, social enterprises, small businesses).
  • Please make sure to apply under the correct application.
  • Declined applicants are welcome to reapply at any time.
  • Preference is given to interdisciplinary teams.

Applications are reviewed by IIE Investment Fellows made up of students from all of Villanova’s Colleges.

All applicants are required to meet (virtually) with one Investment Fellow during the review period. Once your application enters the Review Period, a Fellow will reach out to set up a time.

Overview

Do you have an idea for a small business, franchise business, an e-commerce shop or a non-profit organization? You must have a feasible plan to get started and a target market.

Application

  • 1 to 2 minute pitch video 
  • Answers to  the following application questions:
    • Give us a brief description of your business or non-profit idea.
    • If you have a sample product, please show us in your pitch video.
    • Tell us about your progress so far. Have you already sold your product or service? Have you already begun to service your beneficiaries?
    • How much money do you need and what do you plan to do with the funding you receive?
    • How much of your time do you plan to devote to this idea?
    • If you are starting a student franchise company, tell us about the parent company and what you’ve researched about their business practices.

Award

  • Up to $5000.  You must explain exactly how you intend to spend the funds and how it will benefit your business.

Overview

Do you have an idea that you would like to validate?  Apply to the Idea Phase to receive a small amount of money to put towards validating your business idea.  You must have a plan for how you will validate.

Application

  • 1 to 2 minute pitch video 
  • Answers to the following application questions:
    • What is the name of your venture?
    • Briefly introduce your idea
    • What type of venture are you trying to build?
    • What is the problem your venture is attempting to solve?
    • What is your solution to the problem?
    • Why is your solution the right solution?
    • How will you (or have you) prove(n) that your product/service is feasible?
    • How is your product/service innovative?
    • Who is your target market?
    • How will you (or have you) prove(n) that there are enough people who will want to purchase your product/service?
    • What does your target market currently use to solve the problem?
    • What are the barriers for your customers to change and start using your product?
    • What are the assumptions you have about your venture idea and how do you plan to test their validity?
    • How will you (or have you) prove(n) that the business model is feasible?
    • Why you (and your team) and why now?
    • Tell us about your progress so far.
    • How much funding do you need and how do you plan to use it?
    • How much of your time do you plan to devlote to your venture?
    • What is your timeline for validation, development, and launch?

Award

  • $250 grant
  • Feedback from investment fellows

 

Overview

Now that your idea has been validated, you might need funding and guidance to actually execute the idea. This funding is for validated ideas with a plan for building the product or service.  A validated business idea is one in which you can prove that your target customers actually need your product, are willing to pay for your product, and that your product actually addresses the problem you are trying to solve.  If you idea is not yet validated, we recommend you apply to the Idea Phase instead.

Application

  • 1 to 2 minute pitch video
  • Answer the following questions:
    • If you have already received IIE Funding, how did you use your award money?
    • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
    • What were the results of your feasibility tests? (Asking your friends about your product idea is not a feasibility test.)
    • What did you learn from your feasibility tests?
    • What pivots or iterations have you made to your product/service or business plans?
    • What is your development plan for your product/service?
    • What is your timeline for development?
    • How much funding do you need to build your venture and how do you plan to use your innovation fund award?

Award

  • $1000 inital funding
  • Intake Interview with Mentor Lead
  • Three months of mentorship.  You will be assigned to 2 Mentors (ideally 1 process mentor & 1 industry mentor) 
  • $1000 follow-on funding upon successful completion of mentorship program

Overview

Once your product or service is built and tested and ready for market, you can apply for the Startup Phase funding to help with your go-to-market plan.

Application

  • In-person pitch
    • Pitches take place at the monthly review meeting
    • Pitches can be up to 5 minutes long
    • Pitches are followed by up to 10 minutes of Q&A
  • Pitch Deck
    • Marketing Plan
    • Go to Market Plan
    • Business Model
    • Financial Plans
  • Prototypes/Pilot Program Results
  • If you have already received IIE Funding, how did you use your award money?
  • What is your launch timeline?
    • How much funding do you need to launch your venture and how do you plan to use your innovation fund award?

Award

  • Up to $5000
  • Up to $5000 of Amazon Web Services Credit.  Let us know if you need these and we'll connect you to AWS.

 

All awardees are required to submit a thank you letter to our donors and a follow
up report detailing how funds were used and what progress was made no more
than 3 months after receiving an award.