Student companies completing the accelerator program this school year are eligible to apply for a $10,000 prize.

Starting Gate logoWhat is Starting Gate?

Starting Gate is a student business accelerator that gives students rich and valuable resources to develop their startup companies. Located in the Haymarket Building in downtown Kalamazoo and operated by the Haworth College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in partnership with the Western Michigan University Office of Community Outreach, the accelerator is open to all WMU students through a competitive application process in which students must demonstrate a promising idea for a product or service, which can be launched within a short period of time. Starting Gate provides a fast-track to business launch.

Apply Now—2015-16 academic year applications due September 21, 2015 

headshot of David Szpunar

"Beyond networking, Starting Gate exposed me to the spectrum of trials and tribulations that I may face while developing my company. They even made recommendations on how to avoid and or overcome these obstacles."

David Szpunar, CEO Revolutionary Designs

Resources and benefits

Open 24 hours per day, the mentor-based accelerator offers an array of resources and just the right amount of structure for these highly motivated and creative students.

Student entrepreneurs:

  • Participate in regular update nights to help define the scope of their companies, adjusting business models and plans and gaining feedback.
  • Interact with several key mentors, including faculty members, successful entrepreneurs from the local community, investors and experts in areas of interest such as commercial law, venture capital and others.
  • Have access to the full complement of resources available through WMU, such as the Small Business Development Center, WMU Business Connection, Haworth College of Business experts and WMU faculty expertise from across campus.
  • Develop a robust network of contacts and connections within the local business community to aid in the success of their ventures.