Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program

Program rationale

The Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program was created in 2022 to fast-track select senior PhD students and postdocs towards startup incubation and formation. The program invests in emerging inventors to translate ideas into ventures that will improve technologies in healthcare. The program focuses on customized training pathways for those who want to make real products out of innovative academic ideas.

Program outline

The program provides two years of focused mentoring and guidance on utilizing the vast resources of the University of Wisconsin entrepreneurial training ecosystem, combined with the personal mentoring from the local business leaders that fast-tracks incubation and creation of a successful startup.

1st year entrepreneurial training – Focused on entrepreneurial training using the existing UW programs that involve active mentorship from a seasoned entrepreneurial medical physics faculty and alumni, and dedicated financial stipend support for the participant.

2nd year venture incubation – Focused on networking into the Madison entrepreneurial ecosystem while still stipend funded.  These next steps focus on active mentorship from local and regional start-up business leaders, active fund raising via SBIR grants, angel or seed round interviews, engagement with accelerator programs  (i.e., WARF, Madworks), and consideration for a dedicated seed funding from other local resources.

Post-program years – The purpose of this program is to provide the network and resources for long term success. Ventures incubated during the funded part of the program will be sustained and grown systematically using the foundations formed in the first two years.

Applications due February 2

Eligibility – Senior PhD students (within 1 year of graduating) or postdocs with clear interest in an entrepreneurial pathway. Competitive applicants will have demonstrated experience patenting their ideas and will already have be actively engaged in the entrepreneurial training opportunities at UW and outside at the time of application.

Application – A written application outlining interest, patents, innovative ideas, business experiences and networks (no more than 2 pages) with biosketch/resume, and a documented letter of support from their faculty advisor.

Selection – Selected candidates will be invited to an interview to pitch their idea to the Entrepreneurial Fellowship program Advisory Board. The selected applicants will enter the individually-crafted Entrepreneurial Fellowship program. Other applicants may also be allowed to enroll into the program, benefiting from all the resources, infrastructure and established entrepreneurial networks, however, without funding.

Program Director – Robert Jeraj, Professor of Medical Physics – rjeraj@wisc.edu.