Carnegie Mellon University

Group 2020 Innovation Scholars

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.


  • 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 2020
  • Membership and/or reimbursement to attend local events
  • Special invitations to events
  • Individual mentoring
  • Spark Grants for specific projects (if available)
  • 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
  • Entrepreneurial exploration and experience before applying is strongly encouraged
  • Able to meet weekly
  • Two year program,  (Junior/Senior year)
  • 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 (for CMU Undergraduate students)

Innovation Scholars Group

Spring 2018
Led by Dave Mawhinney, Executive Director at the CMU Swartz Center, Starting Your Startup is an event that creates teams of first and second year undergraduates for the purpose of learning essential methods for exploring and evaluating business ideas for viability. First and second year undergraduates from ALL CMU colleges are invited to participate. No experience needed!
The day will start with an overview, “why entrepreneurship”, then participants will form teams and create slide presentations based on the following topics that will be presented: Communicating Your Idea, Learning about Your Customer, Market Size, Competition, Revenue Models and Sales. The learning modules will be presented by current Innovation Scholars (undergraduate) and Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows (graduate). Come network and learn how to be an entrepreneur!

See the 2017 event schedule!

Communicating Your Idea [pdf]
Learning About Your Customer [pdf]
On Competition [pdf]
Revenue Models [pdf]
Sales Strategy [pdf]
Market Size [pdf]

Introductory Entrepreneurship Courses*

Innovation Scholars Class

*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, reserve the following times for program events

Innovation Scholars Group

Weekly Meetings - Fridays starting in September from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Inagural Dinner
Inaugural Dinner - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Trek
Silicon Valley Trek - Spring 2018

Innovation Scholars Class
Starting Your Startup - Spring 2018