Carnegie Mellon University Skip to content

Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship

Innovation Scholars Program

The Innovation Scholars program fosters innovation and entrepreneurship and seeks to increase the number of successful startup companies initiated by or involving Carnegie Mellon University’s undergraduate students.

Scholars complete a two-year program integrating

  • academic coursework
  • work experience in a startup company
  • networking
  • mentorship — given as well as received

This selective program attracts the next generation of innovative thinkers and doers.


The undergraduate Innovation Scholars Program was created through the endowment from the McCune Foundation in 2013. The purpose of the grant is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship among undergraduate students.

  1. Increase the number of successful startups initiated by or involving CMU undergraduate students.
  2. Broaden our undergraduates’ awareness of, education in and involvement with the Carnegie Mellon Innovation Ecosystem.
  3. Engage alumni and entrepreneurial experts through programs and mentorship for enhancement of the student experience and innovation ecosystem.


  • 12-week summer internship at a startup
  • If you accept an unpaid internship, Innovation Scholars will pay you up to $6,000 for the 12 weeks of summer work
  • Internship can be at your own startup
  • $1,200 grant to explore startup companies during the "Silicon Valley Trek" in January 2017
  • Membership and/or reimbursement to attend local events
  • Special invitations to events
  • Individual mentoring
  • Spark Grants for specific projects
  • Cohort and community building with current and alumni Innovation Scholars


  • Current second year students in the second semester in ANY school or college at Carnegie Mellon University
  • 12 week summer internship at a startup
  • Entrepreneurial exploration and experience before applying
  • Able to meet weekly
  • Two year program, third and fourth years
  • Successful completion of one intro entrepreneurship course
  • Participate in workshops and other events, document participation
  • Mentor those who follow you as Innovation Scholars

Starting Your Startup Workshop

Communicating Your Idea [pdf]
Customer Research [pdf]
Understanding and Assessing Your Competition [pdf]
Revenue Models [pdf]
Sales and Marketing [pdf]

Introductory Entrepreneurship Courses*

*Other entrepreneurship courses may fulfill requirement

70-415  Introduction to Entrepreneurship
70-414  Introduction to Entrepreneurship for Engineers
70-421  Introduction to Entrepreneurship for Computer Scientists cross listed as 15-390 Computer Science
70-420  Introduction to Entrepreneurship for Scientists

Scholars, please reserve the following times for program events

Weekly Meetings - Fridays starting September 2, 2016 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Inaugural Dinner - one evening during the first week of classes (TBD)
Silicon Valley Trek - January 8 - January 14, 2017